Friday, June 17, 2011

The Walrus and the Carpenter

Recently I have been thinking about the poem by the great Lewis Carroll about the Walrus and the Carpenter. I knew this poem well as a child--haven't thought of it recently. Do you remember it?

The Walrus and the Carpenter
Were walking close at hand;
They wept like anything to see
Such quantities of sand:
"If this were only cleared away,"
They said, "it would be grand!"

"If seven maids with seven mops
Swept it for half a year.
Do you suppose," the Walrus said,
"That they could get it clear?"
"I doubt it," said the Carpenter,
And shed a bitter tear.

This time it was quoted by the unstoppable Miss Lanny on the Robin of the American Daylily Society. Now I have yet to meet this wonderful lady--and lady she definitely is--but I always look forward to her well thought out posts about life and hybridizing daylilies with her son and his wife--yes, they eloped at a daylily convention--these folks are very passionate and committed. Don't you just love listening to people who know something so well?  In this case they breed wonderful winter hardy clear colored daylilies--you can check out here. Isn't the Internet fabulous?

Well Miss Lanny and her family  realized they needed to add 130 new daylily beds--remember I said they are passionate about daylilies--and after the marriage they had another hybridizer who needed room for her daylilies.  So they ordered 122 tons of crushed stone, four truckloads of compost, lots of good top soil. I forget everythin--it doesn't matter anyway--you get the picture--endless mounds  that had to be moved into the new beds--often by wheelbarrow loads into the new beds. Tractors couldn't do many of the tasks.  How do you start? One wheelbarrow load at a time.

I was thinking of this when I began sewing the new quilt together. Now I love to make large pieces. The large canvas that can almost encompass the viewer. As I wrote about HERE--size can matter.

But the process of sewing the blocks seems to go on forever. The blocks must be pinned, sewn and the seam covered with a binding which I whip stitch in place as neatly and firmly as possible.  Long. Slow tedious work. Speed only causes mistakes. Due deliberation is needed although the work is not mentally challenging. I can't just sit down and finish it--there is only so much hand work I can do in a day. Will it ever end? I try to play mental games with myself--how many inches of sewing do I have left. I listen to the radio.  Procrastination does not help. I set goals each day and try not to think about it. I wrote about the process HERE if you want to know more. 

But get it done I must. It is time to move on. So I sit there and sew one row at a time. One wheelbarrow load at a time and try not to think about how much more I have to do. Until finally the quilt starts to take shape. Not done yet but progress. Here it is--almost done--a snapshot--hanging over the design board. Two more rows to add at the left. For unlike the Walrus and the Carpenter I do believe that quilts can get done.

And yes Miss Lanny and her family did get all the rocks and sand and compost and mulch moved.  And you--how do you get work done? Is it one row at a time? One wheelbarrow load? Or do you work in spurts? As the poem concludes:

 "The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."

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