Wednesday, November 25, 2009

It caught my fancy ....

I was browsing through quilting-related websites, and this quilt caught my eye.  Hmmmm.  Strips.   And even more strips.

There was a reference to a blog and a webaddress.  Self-described as "Inspiration for the Extreme Scrap Quilter".  The name for the website should have been a clue.  SelvageQuilts.  Selvage.  The lengthwise edges of fabric which Wikipedia tells us are
... a result of how the fabric is created. In woven fabric, selvages are the edges that run parallel to the warp (the longitudinal threads that run the entire length of the fabric), and are created by the weft thread looping back at the end of each row...

Selvage is where the manufacturer puts identifying information -- their company name, the designer's name, the design or pattern name.  It is often white, distinct from the patterned or colored fabric, with black or colored lettering.  To most quilters (also dressmakers and tailors) selvage is waste, to be cut off and thrown away.

Scrap quilters save trimmings from previous projects -- or from small purchases at thrift stores or rummage sales -- and incorporate them into new projects which might follow a color scheme but do not depend on specially purchased new fabrics for their design.  Like Joseph's Coat of Many Colors, design elements in a scrap quilter's project often follow a theme -- common block design with each block made from different fabrics,  a specific color or range of tones (reds-and-blues, or lots of different blues), a specific block shape (lots of little 2" squares, for example).  

Along come the Extreme Scrap Quilters, those who use fabric scraps even the scrap quilters throw away.  Like the selvage pieces.  Rather than cutting as close as possible to the selvage without cutting into it, they deliberately leave some of the design fabric in the cut.  They piece those selvage scraps together into wonderful, stripey designs.  The whole concept is brilliant, both simple and lovely. 

As I was writing, I got to thinking.  What else do we routinely treat as garbage, that if properly put to use could become a treasure?  I think about people.  People who were verging on hopeless as children, who grow up into caring adults who touch lives where ever they go.  People branded as "stupid" who just need to find one thing about which they became passionate.  People who find new ways to practice their passion when the "normal" ways become impossible.   People who don't look like we do, or speak our language, or eat the same foods we do.  People whose values may be a little different than ours. The ferrals of the world. 

As Americans celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday tomorrow, I challenge you to look around your world.  Identify one person, animal, object, building or ??? which, if just used in a different way, could become a treasure.  What might that new use be?  Give thanks that you can recognize that hidden treasure, and do something to help it come to light.   Keep praying....

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