Tuesday 21 February 2017

A Hug To Wrap Up In

In terms of cozy comfort there are few things in life that can offer the same sense of warmth and love as curling up with a handmade quilt...well, perhaps snuggling a wee puppy would come close, but we just can't go around passing out puppies when the going gets tough.

Months ago one of my Secret Society of Barn Builders friends, Glen who blogs over at Quilts and Dogs, found herself victim to Louisiana flooding and lost practically everything she owned. My heart was broken for her. I couldn't imagine watching dirty floodwaters destroy my home, but she did. She watched it, she lived it, mourned it. And then she triumphed over it; brave, strong and determined. 

Being so far away meant there was little I could offer in terms of help or support so I rallied our SSOBB friends and together we set out to send her our love. Quilters don't necessarily need more quilts but this one definitely needed a hug. Blocks came from far and wide to make the quilt that would wrap her in our support. I stitched them together in the middle of a power outage with a little lamp and my old Kenmore plugged into a tiny generator...it gave me pause to think of my small inconvenience compared to the problems our friend was facing...you know, count your blessings, right?  The Robot made short work of the quilting and soon it was ready to go.

Glen had plans made to visit Nova Scotia in September but the flood ruined that too. On learning that she had canceled her East Coast excursion it seemed to me that a piece of Nova Scotia tartan needed to be included in the binding, and i just happened to have a piece if it in my stash. When I set out to take pictures of her quilt to share with the SSOBB gang I thought that they should showcase a bit of Nova Scotia's oceanside charm as well...and Sister PurpleBoots has just the spot for such a photo shoot!

During the time I was trying to get the SSOBB's hug finished and sent out to Glen my own world had turned upside down. I ended the 27 year relationship with Mr. PurpleBoots at about the same time and had difficulty focusing on quilty things and The Robot offered little in terms of therapy. Jack helped some, but some things just have to be processed at face value...raw, real and messy. 

It was during this time that I received a box in the mail from New Hampshire. My friend and quilty mentor, Lynne from The Patchery Menagerie, had lovingly sent me my very own hug. It came at just the right time...warm, cozy and colourful. Her quilt brought tears of joy and has since absorbed the weight of many more tears, some not quite so joyful, because she made me promise to use it...thick or thin. And I have!

As quilters we know some people refuse to use the quilts we share because they think they are "too nice" and "don't want to mess them up". While this may well be a thoughtful mindset and it certainly shows the recipients care I think quilts are best used, abused and lived with. Quilts should accompany you on your journey at arms length, always at the ready when you need them. A quilt in the closet can offer little comfort on a day when you need a hug.

Tuesday 14 February 2017

Weight of Love

Valentines day. Love is in the air...

What better day to dig into the Jack tin and set to work on the "Weight of Love" quilt that I started in November when the MMQG brought quilter extraordinaire Libs Elliot to town for a workshop.

I pulled some yardage from my stash with these incredible fishies swimming in a bright orange sea and then dug into the shelf of fat quarters for a bunch of supporting fabrics. True to my "just giv'er" style I didn't plan, count or otherwise predetermine anything about the fabric placement. I am always happiest just winging it!

I fussy cut all the fishes and cut up a whack of triangles and half hexies to prepare myself for the workshop, packed up Voodoo Duck and all my gear and headed off to the classroom.

Libs says that Y-seams aren't supposed to be cry seams. I've never really had trouble with them so my progress was uninhibited by the little buggers. Things went together quite smoothly until I got bored with the monotony  of repetitive sewing. Y'all know how much that bothers me. I think I got 6 or 7 rows completed that day.

I've pulled it out a couple times since but haven't really felt compelled to jump back in the fish bowl and do anything with it.

Until today...we've entered back into the hell that is Snova Scotia in February; yesterday's storm has dumped in excess of 50cm of snow and my back is too sore to shovel. So, I'm off to swim with the fishes instead.

Sunday 12 February 2017

In The Middle

Well, hello again! Things got a little crazy around here since my last post. Go grab yourself a cuppa and I'll do my best to get you up to speed. Oh, better throw a shot of something tasty in it since this is going to be a long post.

How to begin...hmmm...

Do I start right in with news of the end of my 27 year relationship with Mr. PurpleBoots? Or should I tell you all about the bright and shiny human being that crossed my path one September day that finally prompted the ending? I could give you all the back story that brought me to the point of taking the leap of faith, how scary it is to actually jump when you're safely perched on the edge of something familiar but that isn't really working? Perhaps you'll wonder how all this impacted Not-So-Little PurpleBoots? And what about the springy things? I could go on and on about how painful it is to see the ache of seperation on the face of your child and hard it is to go from being a full time mother to nothing, as the boy and the dogs stayed with their Dad. I could roll my eyes and recount tales of all the juicy gossip that I've stirred up here in small town Nova Scotia. I could try to establish for you the ratio that defines the numbers of people who understand and support the pursuit of happiness toward those who feel it best to settle and simply stay.  I'd be happy to tell you all about the wee house I've moved into, it's very happy making and there is a new sewing space. Of course, I could always ramble on about all the noteworthy little moments that fill a new relationship with excitement, happiness and hope and there are an equal number of awkward little moments that come with a new relationship that haven't been experienced at all or at the very least not in a long, long time. 

There is so much news, and change, that it's hard to know where to begin. Speaking of beginnings, maybe there is no best place to start and perhaps this vague glimpse into my last few months is enough to tell you. Maybe it's simply enough to say I am in the middle of a beginning, and an ending...and the middle can be both a blessing and a curse.

Enough about the messy stuff...I did mention there is a new sewing space, right? It took a while to get things sorted out here at the new place...holy-stash-moving-hell! If only The Stashpocalypse had done more to reduce my hoard; bags and bags and bags of fabric have made their way here and I haven't even tackled The Closet of Doom up at Mr. PurpleBoots' place yet. The Robot still lives there too, though a plan is being masterminded to eventually get him moved down here to The Harbour as well. I've been granted the luxury of time in an amicable split to work out solutions without rushing to empty the old homestead. Mr. PurpleBoots is a wonderful human being and I am grateful beyond words that we are maintaining our longstanding friendship through the turmoil of seperation...so many couples lose everything.

Even once the space was repainted, cleaned up and my stuff got somewhat organized in there it felt a bit foreign to me. I needed some mindless sewing to help me find my groove. I dug through the scrap bag and came across the sample pieces I had made along with the guild in Pictou County when I led their improv workshop back in November. I pulled out all the bits and bobs, winced a little as I recalled the end of my finger being once again lobbed off by my rotary cutter during the class that day, and set to work. My wee house has a tiny dining room that has become home to the giant and whimsical painting of my dear old springy thing, Tetley, and some fun, bright placemats were in order. 

I've never before bothered to make myself placemats, but I had so much fun with these I think I may one day make some more; seems small projects are great ways to kick start ones creativity. So after the placemats were complete there was still the oblong element made with the word Hope in free pieced letters left to play with...an ideal sentiment to have as a coffee table mat for someone my current place of being. I put a coveted piece of Art Gallery fabric on the back of it and bound it with the left over Kona binding from the placemats.

It feels good to be sewing again. The hum of the machine quiets the noise in my head; the act of building patchwork and finishing an object engages the spot in my brain that reminds me that everything has a process. There is a beginning and an ending to everything...and therefore, there'll always be a middle too.