This summer I got to spend two weeks in England–one in London in the South Bank flat of my friend Laurence’s mother and a second week in Oxford. The trip was fabulous for many reasons; my friends Beth, Amy, and Laura were with me, all the museums in London are free and could keep a soul occupied for months, and my school paid for my airfare and lodging (cause, you know, I teach British Lit and a trip to the UK is educational, natch). While there I bought a mug at the Museum of London (one of the best museums ever) that has this image of a teapot and the slogan When in Doubt Brew Up. Obviously it was made in imitation of the ubiquitous Keep Calm and Carry On posters.
For me, When in Doubt Brew Up, is a more useful message than Keep Calm and Carry On. The act of brewing a cup of tea (or coffee, let’s be honest) is an invitation to pause. It is a ritualized act that take less than ten minutes, but requires attention to the task at hand. The slogan on my mug reminds me that when I am doubting the color choices I’ve made in a patchwork project or doubting the interactions I’m having with my friends and family that pausing and waiting is always a good choice.
This pillow I made was inspired by the mug and I made it for my Urban Home Goods partner. She asked for a cushion cover in a limited color pallete but didn’t give me any specific color guidance beyond that. I’ve admired several redwork quilts recently and even swapped some bitty redwork blocks in the Bitty Block Committee swap, so my mind went there as I was planning this pillow. I haven’t seen much red work in the “Modern” quilt community on Flickr and I wasn’t totally confident that this design would go over well. I also wasn’t completely confident in the red prints that I put together. I had to keep fighting my inclination to match the reds and the whites exactly and several times I had to pause, brew up and look at the patchwork from a few steps back. I’m happy with the end result, although I wish I had used more of the solid red and when I make my red work lap quilt, I’ll definitely be incorporating more solids.
The most surprising thing about this pillow, or more accurately, this photo of this pillow, is that it ended up on Flickr Explore (that’s what the above screen capture is) and has been viewed over 1,000 times.