I’m at the pointy end of making a quilt for a friend for her birthday. I’m way behind schedule, the fun part is over and I’m in the hard slog of sewing never ending strings of diamonds together into one unit that will cover a queen-sized bed. It’s always at this stage that I ask myself why am I doing this.
Nowadays, it’s not as if fabric is scarce. In past times, every little scrap was saved and sewn together to make clothing and household items. But that’s not the case now. Now there are bolts and bolts of glorious fabrics available and I take those whole perfect fabrics and cut them up into little pieces and put then into a geometric pattern and sew them up to make a new piece of fabric.
Why do I pour over patterns with names like 7 Sisters, 8 Pointed Star and my humble favourite The 9 Patch. Geometry gives me a headache, maths confuses me, and worse, I find cutting and sewing in a straight line a challenge. And yet I take on these humungous tasks that require precision and perfect angles.
It’s not just me. People all round the world are taking up quilt-making in unprecedented numbers. Do they love the richness of the patterns like me? Is there something in the geometry and the numbers that intuitively catches their heart?
Take my favourite 9 Patch as an example. It begins with 9 perfect squares. Each square has 4 perfect sides and 4 perfect angles. Many believe that the number 4 and the square itself represent stability and structure, and some go as far to say that the 4 represents The Earth. Now these 9 squares are placed in 3 lines of 3 to make a larger perfect square. 3 is a very powerful number in numerology. It’s the number that brings change. And 9 is often considered the number representing completion.
So I spend hours sewing my not so perfect squares into 1 unit, 1 being new beginnings. Do the numbers and the patterns I choose carry a symbolic meaning that’s trying to communicate with me on a level I haven’t learnt to understand? These are the things I think about as the my quilt grows.
Maybe, without being consciously aware of it, we’re all working in Sacred Geometry. Shapes we find soothing, patterns that call our hearts. We take that pattern off the flat two-dimensional instruction page and turn it into a multi-dimensional experience. We cut and sew. We put in our emotions good and bad. This is a marathon we undertake. After spending hours and hours working with our pattern to create our quilt we place it on our bed and sleep with it at night.
All that geometry and maths becoming a part of our living experience.