One of the most special things to me with doing what I do is meeting you.
No matter how we ended up here, we are all in this together.
We come from different areas of this amazing world, born under different circumstances, bringing each bit of knowledge and life experience with us to the table. I learn so much by hearing your stories. I love the connection, the feeling of Quiltership (Kind of like fellowship, but we are more than fellows) that makes us realize we are part of something bigger than just fabric and thread and stitching.
I had a lovely interchange with Suzanne, shown here with her brother Phil and the quilt she made for him. The story is below in Suzanne’s own words.
Hello from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada!
I have to share this story with you. December 18, 2015 was a sad day - one of my managers died at the age of 42! He left behind a wife (also a coworker) and three teenagers. Early in January, his wife Shelly approached me and asked if I could turn Shaun's dress shirts and ties into a quilt for her. I knew she could not cut his clothes apart, so I got started preparing the 'fabric'.
Did I mention that I even tracked down your 'take shirts apart' video?!
Luckily, Shaun was a very large man, so there was a lot of fabric to use.
Shelly looked through some of my previous quilts and chose a Log Cabin Star that I made when my sister retired. Yikes! The shirts were mostly dark, the ties were dark, and I was worried about the outcome with just a few light options. He had ONE bright shirt - lime green if you can believe it! But, short sleeves! Another manager was wearing the same colored shirt one day, (turns out they both shopped at Mr. Big and Tall~!!) and I asked him if he was willing to share the shirt off his back if I needed it. He was, and I did!
The green is wonderful in here!
The original plan was to have the quilt made for Valentines Day. How silly of me, with working full time and everything else going on. I spent all of March with my mom, 24/7 in her Long Term Care room.
Mom also passed away April 2nd.
Three months later, my baby brother Phil (51) passed away unexpectedly! That threw me for such a loop that I needed time off work. I couldn't sleep, sometimes being awake for 60+ hours at a time! I made a lot of quilts though, so that helped me recover.
Long story, but .... Mom's birthday was November 30th and I found that I couldn't get through a day of work without breaking down. My brother's birthday was coming (Dec 28th) and I knew I needed to be at home, so I went back on 'Sick leave".This is why we do what we do. This is why we quilt.
I decided that if I was having such a hard time, Shelly must be even worse - Shaun was the love of her life, and she was about to spend another Christmas without him. I put my big girl pants on and went to work - I had the ties stabilized and cut in strips, but the shirts were still in need of ironing and cutting apart. I had to utilize a few cream colored t-shirts (stabilized) to give myself a bit more room in the light department.
Once I got going on the Log Cabin Blocks, I blocked everything out and just sewed.
I tried to use as many of the nicer ties, and get a good mixture happening. The lime green shirt was my center block, and then the first outer border. Working on this quilt was my therapy as well. Lots of ironing! Strips were cut 1 1/2", so the blocks had some nice movement. When I finally got the layout on my design wall, I almost cried. Put the borders on, pressed it really well, and back up on the wall... Then I did cry.
It was quilted by a friend (rush job!!) with hearts and swirls. When Shelly finally saw it, she burst into tears!! Sorry for the long story, but I wanted to share why I am late joining your Mystery quilt-along. AND point out that your penchant for scrappy helped me a lot with this quilt. Other than the stabilizer and the backing, there are no store bought fabrics in this quilt. I am pretty happy with it.
When I look at your quilts, far off and close up, it really is true that everything can work together. A testament to Shaun's wardrobe is how well this quilt works with his colors.
The quilt I made my sister was such a different color palette that I really built up a wall in my mind that the Log Cabin wouldn't work - glad to be proven wrong. Lots of prayer went into the process!!
I tried to keep track of time invested, pretty sure it is about 150 hours, with taking apart, cutting and construction. Definitely in love with it though. This was the inspiration for Shelly's choice, maybe because Shaun was a Star Wars nut? I had his funeral card put onto fabric and it was the label for the quilt.
Sometimes when life is frayed at the edges, we can stitch things back together by simply going through the act of pressing, cutting, stitching, pressing some more, adding piece to piece.
As we put the pieces of the blocks and finally the quilt together, our minds are also putting the pieces of our lives back in order so that we can see how we are going to keep going. One foot in front of the other, one good cry here, and another good cry there, knowing that we are never alone, that we have each other.
Thank you for sharing your story, Suzanne, and for being part of my quilt circle!
This was the view landing into Phoenix yesterday!
It’s great when coming from the east coast to the west because you can get here still relatively early in the day. But the bad part about a 6am flight is the getting up at 3:30am to leave for the airport by 4:00am so you can check your luggage at 4:30am and board your flight at 5:30am and get on your way.
I had planned to sleep. But did I??? NO! And why?
Because on long flights I get a chance to watch movies that are just for ME. Movies that the men-folk in my family would not want to watch because there is no spying, no intrigue, no blowing up of everything in sight.
I laughed and laughed, trying to keep it quietly to myself but sometimes failing as I settled in to stitch hexies while watching Bridget Jones’ Baby. Oh my goodness!
And on the tail end of that, I watched Meryl Streep and Hugh Grant in Florence Foster Jenkins. Tears were rolling. This story was presented SO well. Loved it, loved it, loved it – and yet I know it is something the family would not sit through, so I was delighted.
I think the thing that resonated with me was the scene where Florence’s piano accompanist, after having played with Florence singing in Carnegie Hall states. “I played Carnegie Hall! I actually played Carnegie Hall!” and the sweet memory of standing on that stage in Carnegie Hall with my dad, singing Brahm’s Requiem with a joint chorale around 1988 came flooding back to me.
Oh how I wish there would have been digital cameras and smart phones back then. It’s one of my favorite memories of my dad. Singing together this amazing requiem while the Manhattan Philharmonic played in the pit just in front of the stage. I connected with the pianist in Florence Foster Jenkins, I’ve felt that same unbelievable “Wow. I’m really here doing this.”
My wheels this trip!
Last time I came I was upgraded to a Mustang. This time, upgraded to a Chrysler 200. I’ll be zipping around from workshops in Chandler to workshops in Prescott, with plenty of family time in between.
Today is a rest up day. There may be another movie as Dad loves to take advantage of senior matinee prices. I’m game. Spending time together is so precious.
Tomorrow is my day with the Nimble Thimbles in Chandler!
Quiltville Quote of the Day.
Photo shared by Kevin H.
It's a new year. Turn the page. Watch where your energy is being used. Be discerning of who and what you give it to.
Have a great Wednesday, everyone!