compass quilt pointing to new directions

I know it has nothing to do with volunteering in Africa, but if I hadn’t, I never would have had the courage or gumption to try.

Try what?

OK, so if you know anything about quilting, you know that points have to be a perfect match and that without this, quilt blocks just don’t look right or fit right.  So for years, I feared trying to quilt a mariner’s compass because it is made of a series of very sharp points AND is circular to boot!  It was straight lines and right angles for me all the way.

Not anymore.

Behold the power of stepping out of your comfort zone and venturing forth into accomplishing a stretch goal!!!

the compass quilt

When we first arrived in Maroua, and before the whole scraps collecting madness began, Greg and I roamed the market for just the right colour combination to what I thought would be a simple star quilt.  It would remind of us of sleeping under the stars on our backpacking trips, or something just as massively mushy and superbly sentimental.

With a bit of practice on my other quilting projects though, I realized that I had much more dexterity by hand-piecing than I ever did with my beloved and much-missed sewing machine.  So why wouldn’t I try the before impossible goal of assembling a mariner’s compass???

Go ahead coach Caroline, push yourself a little why don’t ya?  With nothing to lose and everything to gain in this volunteer life, I did.

And while I pretended not to be philosophical with the “Far North” quilt, I must say that the concept of a compass – one that points you to your desired destination and helps you stay on the right path – has proven to be an inspiration in other ways as well.

For one thing, I have re-stitched my story (same pieces, different layout!) and began writing the resilient expat blog!

No matter where the compass points and how you chose to travel, one must always pack the most necessary of items in their suitcase:  resiliency.  For some it seems to be a given, but for those of us who are life-long learners by habit and by choice (also known as trial and error!), the building of resiliency is just like making a quilt.  Each piece must fit perfectly with the rest – if not you take it apart, examine the mistake and try again.  You don’t have to match all the colours for them to work well together – sometimes the best effects are in the contrasts.

And best of all, it is always just one stitch at a time.

So if my coaching moto – success means always reaching beyond where you are – has any correlation to this mariner’s compass, it is this:

how wonderful to all at once stitch one’s story, fix a heading and reach for the stars!

a happy me

~ by Caroline Spira on February 7, 2011.

6 Responses to “compass quilt pointing to new directions”

  1. Caroline
    What a wonderful quilt – congratulations! I am hand stitching a small labyrinth quilt here in Ethiopia and enjoying putting the beads on it now – will post a photo when I finish!
    Love your blogs!

    • beads? What a terrific idea! Haven’t seen anything like that here I could use, nor do I know how. I guess I will have to go visit you for a little “sharing skills, changing lives”!?!?

  2. You are a riot Caroline. And the quilt is amazing. I forgot to keep you updated but I have a phone interview with Nana Osei from VSO tomorrow. Options, this year is all about identifying and carefully choosing my options. Thanks for helping me see this one.

  3. Caroline,
    Your quilt AND story is inspiring! Those of us back in the world of Town Council and Real Estate (that would be me) will do well to remember the story and motto.
    You look SO HAPPY.
    God bless you.

    • Thanks Jill! You have warmed my heart. Looking forward to sharing a nice glass of wine with you soon.

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