Do you ever look at a quilt and wonder what the story is behind it? The quilt that I am writing about, holds a lot of emotions for me. And like most quilts do, it tells a story. I’d like to share this story with you today.
Last year, I was encouraged by a group of my former students (who I will proudly refer to as my quilting friends) to work on a new quilt throughout the year, and enter it in the 2017 Brooklin Spring Fair, in the OAAS machine quilt category of the homecraft competition. It seemed like an attainable goal for me - and at that moment, I already had a quilt in mind! What seemed like a perfect idea shortly turned into the most difficult task I'd ever come to accomplish.
Let's jump back in time for a moment...
Many of you may have heard my "quilting story" presented at various quilting guilds. For those of you unfamiliar, my quilting story is heavily influenced by Carole Gould. Who was, in my opinion, the strongest woman I know. She was the absolute best quilter, best teacher, best business woman, best advice-giver, ever. She was inspiring to say the least and taught me almost everything I know about quilting. I worked in her store for many years and came to refer to her as my Grandmother, even though, in my heart, she was so much more than that.
In July 2016, just a short month after the 2016 Brooklin fair, Heaven gained a new angel, clad in blue, no doubt.
She was taken from this world unexpectedly and at a very chaotic time in my life. (I was in the middle of a move) Unfortunately I was unable to see her, in the days before she passed. This made me feel angry and scared. I tried not to be scared, because I knew she wasn't.
The day that I received the news was horrible. Amid the mess of my surroundings, of boxes that needed to be unpacked, my heart was an absolute disaster. I couldn't unpack, I couldn't organize, I couldn't do anything but sob. Horrible gut wrenching, heart-breaking, blue, sobs.
The days following her funeral were a series of me attempting to get my life in order, I unpacked boxes slowly, each time I found boxes of fabric or notions, I put them in my sewing room. I did not unpack them, I did not organize them. I went through a phase where I did not want to sew. I didn't think I could ever sew again.
I am so grateful to say that I possess the first sewing machine she ever purchased on her own. (For anyone wondering, yes it works beautifully) It made me upset to look at it, it made me wonder if I could ever look at it or use it again without breaking down.
Over the Christmas holidays. I knew I needed to try to work on the quilt that I intended to enter in the 2017 fair. I knew I had gone several months of "hiding" from the quilting world, and I needed to overcome my anger. I had to fall in love with sewing again.
The evening that I chose the fabrics for this quilt, I was so discouraged. I wanted to ask her what she thought of my choices. How was I supposed to make this quilt, if I could barely choose the fabrics without breaking down?
I thought making this quilt would be nearly impossible.
As the quilt began to take shape, I felt a mix of emotions. I was pleased with the development of my quilt and was happy that I was working towards a goal. But I was still so angry that she was gone from me.
It was when I was putting on my borders, that it really hit me. I was crying while trying to pin the borders on, because I was SO close to having the top completed...yet the devastation of not being able to share my progress with her was heart breaking. My boyfriend asked what I was thinking. I told him my heart was broken because she wouldn’t be able to see it. He reassured me, "She can see it, she can see everything."
His words provided me with some comfort, and with that, I had a new motivation to complete it. I needed to get it done before the fair, I couldn’t let her down.
I finished hand sewing my binding just two days before the fair. Talk about cutting it close!
To give my story a happy ending – I did end up receiving 1st prize for my category.
However, this is not the only thing that I am happy about.
I am proud of myself for receiving the ribbon (and the fact that my quilt will move on in the fall to the district level!) but I am also proud of myself for finishing a quilt that I thought would be too heart breaking to complete. I am happy that it features her favourite colour, blue. But most of all, I am happy that I could fall in love with quilting again. I know that this will be a slow “recovery” and that my heart is still on the mend. But I know now, that no matter what I am working on, she can see it and she will be proud of me.
This is the "bluest" quilt that I have ever made. It really has taught me so much.
What am I working on next? Well, I am happy to announce that I am trying to finish unpacking my sewing room, a year later. Better late than never right?!
Happy quilting, everyone!