Saturday, October 29, 2016

Sometimes You Just Can't Quilt

As the title implies, I won't be sharing a quilt today. No finish, no WIP, no Sunday Stash. Not a single picture. In the words of Molli Sparkles, I'm serving up a cup of Truth Tea, more for myself than anybody. And y'all, it is a bitter cup to swallow down. I wrote this post more than a week ago, but today I am ready to share. If you are here for quilts only, come back later next week when I share some progress and a finish!

I've noticed a theme in my life. When life slaps me down and craps on me, I hide under quilts. I had so many things to share with you guys, had everything planned. But on Wednesday, I got news.

She's dying.

If you've been with me on this blog for a while, you will remember the quilt, Missed Punchline. I made it for my grandmother who had been steadily declining in her battle with Alzheimer's. That quilt was an emotional journey from start to finish, but in the end, it helped me work through so much...stuff that I had bottled up for years.

She's dying.

I had been working with my Dad when we got the news. We cleaned up and went to the nursing home. It was the first time I saw my grandpa cry. It had been so long since my last visit. Too long. Her condition had nosedived and I barely recognized her. I couldn't say a word, not to her. She didn't know I was there...honestly, I don't think she knew any of us were there. But I sat at the foot of her bed. I did multiplication tables in my head as I looked at her, clinging to something that never changed.

She's dying.

And my eyes fell on it. Missed Punchline was there, pushed to the end of the bed because she was hot. It was crinkled from being washed almost weekly, a few lines of quilting popped and unraveling. It was always there, draped in the chair set up for visitors normally.

She's dying.

I left that night knowing it wouldn't be long. I went home and curled up under a quilt, not sure what to feel. The next day, I had just curled up again, ready to head out for errands but I had time to spare for a bit of cozy reading. My phone rang.

She's dead.

I told my husband. I drove him to work and came home, all errands and plans forgotten. I drug myself upstairs, crawled into bed with some quilts, and I cried. I hid from the sunlight streaming through the window. I hid from the world. I followed the familiar lines of quilting, the improv lines of patchwork. I wrapped up as tight as I could, cocooned in love that only comes from a quilt. Every minute not spent on necessities has been underneath a quilt for me.

We said goodbye today. It was hard, but at the same time, it's like I can breathe a little easier. When I came home, feet sore and head pounding from meeting so many people, I changed into pajamas and retreated under a quilt. Tomorrow is for quilting. Today is for hiding beneath quilts.

I wrote that the day of my grandmother's funeral. I still felt raw, unsure how to step forward after something so shaking. Everything ached, my heart the most. I've slowly shifted my life, like breaking in a new pair of shoes: things still ache at the end of the day, but I'm gradually working back towards...normal? The word sounds wrong honestly, but it's the only one I can find. Normal for me was to sew. Every day, at least a few minutes is spent at the machine or planning or cutting fabric. But it felt wrong. Just the thought made my stomach go sour for reasons I can't figure out. After about a week, my machine beckoned me back, the hum and bang of the First Born more comforting than I thought it would be. So I'm back in business, getting back to neglected projects and finding comfort in fabric and thread.

Thanks for bearing with me through that! I try to keep this blog as quilty as possible, but all of us know that life happens. And sometimes you just have to let it all out to breathe a little easier. I plan on sharing some progress mid-week and have a spanking new finish to share on Saturday!

Friday, October 14, 2016

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner!

Howdy y'all! Long time, no see! It feels good to sit down and actually write a blog post after a hectic 2 weeks. I've been getting sewing done here and there, and I'll have some progress to share soon. I'll even have a finish for next Friday!

After about nine months of no luck, I had the luckiest week ever and won not one, not two, but THREE giveaways! Two of them were through the Orphan Block drive that ran recently. I'm so excited to receive these WIP's and work towards finishing them up!
First up are Polaroid blocks! You know I love a good novelty print, so these are right up my alley! There are so many little treasures in this pile I received from Jayne over at Twiggy and Opal. When I needed a bit of a break from another project, I pulled these out and took a few measurements, then whipped up a stack to add to them!

Next are these paper pieced blocks from Red Letter Quilts. Aren't these the coolest! They remind me of my great-grandmother's kitchen with their retro colors and vibe. Heidi is the sweetest and even sent along all the patterns and some extra fabric as well to help finish these up! I'm hoping to whip them into something for my own kitchen, which is embarrassingly bare.

And last but not least, I won The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters from Adrienne over at Chezzetcook Modern Quilts.

I had heard about this improv reference book a little bit, mainly from Rachel over at Stitched in Color. At first, I wondered how much I would actually like this book because some improv quilts are just... meh to me. I recognize the hard work and skill it takes to make them, but they aren't something I would want to make (I'm sure we've all felt that way about at least 1 quilt in our life!). But a quick flipping through the pages told me I'm DEFINITELY going to enjoy this book. There are so many different skills and ideas, this one is going to be a source of inspiration for a long time. I'll review it more when I actually get to make a project using it later on!

SO, how has your luck been with giveaways this year? I'm glad my dry spell finally ended! Happy sewing this weekend, y'all! :)