So as you know from the previous post, I have not been doing much sewing until fairly recently. I do have some finishes to show you tho !
This first one, was technically finished over the winter, I just never got a chance to deliver it to its recipient. That was corrected last weekend when I got to see her !
Here she is sleeping under her new quilt, and I am so glad she finally has it now !
At her baby shower, we all decorated the center squares and I turned them into this beautiful welcome quilt for her. The tilted squares were a nightmare, but I am so very pleased at the results. I used pink Bubble Minky as a backing, the first time working with that, it was not as terrible as I had thought, but I also kept the quilting straight SITD with my walking foot, so I think that helped !
The second finish was the fourth of the Memorial T-Shirt quilts I made for my Aunt, in memory of her Ex Husband and their son Zac.
You can see the three previous ones here : Full Circle
I used a soft plaid flannel for the backing on this one, which just adds to its cuddle factor.
I wish I had more photos to show you of these two and their creation, but alas, things being what they are, I am just glad that I have photos of the final product. For it means that they are no longer sitting around waiting to be finished !
Stay tuned, as I have another finish coming soon !
I may not be back to my full groove yet, but its coming along.
As many of you may have noticed, it has been some time since my last post. October of last year to be more precise. You see, life does not always follow the path that we expect it to. Just when the path we are on seems to be safe, and we can see no bumps or rough terrain ahead, suddenly we find ourselves stepping off the edge of a cliff we never saw coming.
At first I was not going to delve into the reasons for my hiatus, but it occurred to me that perhaps there is another, like me, out there, who might benefit from hearing it.
I had been in a relationship, for nearly 10 years, as of last October. We lived together, we raised my son together, tho he was not his biological father, he took on that role none the less. The first few years of that relationship were fairly good. It was after all, a new relationship. 2 years into the relationship He suffered an illness, that lead to other health complications. Things were rough, but we managed. Tho he was in a great deal of pain, he had refused to take narcotic pain medication, as he was fearful of becoming addicted to them. After almost a year of pain, he relented, and began taking prescription pain medication, as prescribed to him by his Doctors. Over time, the levels of these medications grew, and the side effects of them, became much more pronounced. He became quick to paranoia and anger. He began having more serious health complications, and while the pain medication levels rose, they did not seem to do anything to actually relieve his pain. It did not stop him from taking them however. His illness eventually made it nearly impossible for him to do many things, and I became his 24/7 care giver.
As you can imagine, the stress level of this situation, on him, as well as the rest of us in the house, was quite high. He became very verbally abusive. I was quick to let it slide, because he was after all the one that was ill, and under heavy medications. There were many times that I knew I should leave, as things progressed, and the verbal and emotional abuse increased, and the controlling nature became quite oppressive, but I stayed. What kind of person would I have been to leave him now, when he was in such pain, and unable to care for himself. What kind of person would walk away from the man that claimed to love her, and leave him alone in his time of need? And so I stayed.
I stayed for other reasons as well. I had a teenage son to raise, and the very thought of raising him alone, was daunting. I knew that I could never afford to give him the life that we were living then. We were both on Disability at that point, but it was still a two income household. The thought of trying to live on just one of those incomes was beyond comprehensible. There was simply no way that I could afford to be a single mother. It was just words. He could call me as many names as he wanted, and say as many mean and hurtful things as he wanted, because i could always walk away and go to another room, usually my sewing studio, to get away from it when it got to be too bad. He had never raised a hand to me, not once in 10 years, and he made sure to instill that in my son as well. A man simply does NOT hit a woman, for any reason, ever. I felt safe, physically at least.
In October of last year, the camels back had finally taken one straw too many, and I found the courage to tell him, that I not longer wished to be in the relationship any longer. He did not take to this news very well, nor had I expected him to. He made promises to change, to be better, to stop being so controlling, and harsh, tho he never saw his words as being abusive, they were after all, just words. We had both signed the lease separately for our apartment, and so we talked about it, and decided that we would attempt to remain as room mates, until the end of our lease, which was not until July of this year, but we figured that after 10 years of being together, we could manage to be friends for a few more months, and save ourselves the cost of breaking the lease.
The holidays, were stressful, to say the very least. The verbal abuse, not only did not get better, it increased exponentially.
In mid January, an event occurred that made me finally realize that we were not going to be able to achieve our goal of remaining in the same house together. Even after that event, I never once feared for my physical safety. Family members asked, if I thought it was safe to stay, and never once did I feel that I was in danger of him crossing that line.
Finally one night I attempted to begin to pack a bag, for my son and myself, with plans to leave that night, and go to stay with family, at least temporarily, until suitable arrangements could be made. He found me packing, and things crossed the line, into physical violence. If you have never fallen down a flight of stairs, let me be the first to tell you, that going down one flight, is painful. Going down two, is nearly unbearable. Tho the adrenaline does kick in rather quickly, and if you manage not to break anything, you do not truly feel the pain until hours, or days later.
My son was also involved in that nights affairs, as he attempted so valiantly to step in and protect his mother. I watched a 15 year old boy, turn into a 15 year old young man , in three minutes. It was awe inspiring, and terrifying at the same time. It is something I never wish for any mother to have to witness, but I am forever proud, that I did.
We left home that night, and went to family. The authorities were brought in, and he was arrested. Tho he was released on his own recognizance, there is a restraining order firmly in place for both my son and myself. I thought the worst was over. I was wrong.
Two days later, I received a call from the local ICU, informing me that he had attempted to take his own life. The hospital being unaware of the previous events, had only my name and number in his file as next of kin to contact. I was informed that his chances of survival were slim, and that if he did manage to survive, the brain damage was sure to be substantial. Once they were aware of the restraining order, I was told they could give me no further information, as restraining orders go in both directions. To say that I felt tremendously guilty, is an understatement of epic proportions. I know, in my head, that the actions he took were of his own choosing, but my heart did not quite grasp that.
As most of you are aware, I am Bi-Polar. This is not something that I ever hide, for I do not feel that I should be ashamed of a medical condition. I had a very serious stretch of depression, following all of these events. To be expected of anyone to be sure, and for me it was a very dark, and very lonely place.
Thanks to an extremely supportive family, and some of the most amazing friends a person could ask for, I made it out of that place. I slowly began to make a new life for my son and I. Together, we learned how to go on living. It was not without change. My quilting, being a major one. In my mind, my quilting was where I went to escape from him previously. It was where I closed myself away from his hurtful words and could find peace. Now, going into that room brought back memories that were far too fresh to process. And so I closed the door, and walked away.
Over the next few months, my family often asked if I had been working on anything, and I told them I had not, that I just simply could not bring myself to do it. They told me that I should, and that I should go back to doing something that I so obviously loved doing before, and they were right, I did love it. But at the time, it still held too many bad memories, for me to be able to focus on the good ones.
In April, I was talking to a friend, who over the past few months has been a source of both support and strength for me, about my quilting. They asked me why I let him take that away from me. It was not HIS to take, it was mine. They told me to stop letting him control me, and I realized, however odd it may sound, but that is exactly what I was allowing him to do, even now. I was allowing the memories, to control me. I decided that it was time to open the door to the sewing room once again, and step inside.
It was not an instant return to normal, it took a few weeks of spending a few minutes here, and an hour there, but I slowly began getting small things accomplished. I gave my machines a well needed cleaning and maintenance. I reorganized. I made some dog crate covers for my grandmother, and some place-mats. I was started to feel that pull once again.
I will add a new post later, with photos of what I have managed to accomplish recently, but the point of this post was not to show off new finishes. The point of this post was to share my experience, in hopes that someone, perhaps in the same, or similar scenario, can find their strength through reading it.
Please remember, that emotional and verbal abuse are just that. They are abuse. Controlling behavior, is abuse. And just because they have never been physically violent, does not mean that they won’t, or can’t become that as well.
Here is a funny story, that just very recently got the ending it had been lacking !
Back when Jonathan first decided he wanted to make a quilt for the fair, I told him to ” look around Pinterest and see if he could find anything he liked. He came back into my room and said ” I found a couple things that looked cool”. I thought okay, great ! When asked what board he pinned them to he looked at me with that ” huh ? ” look. Needless to say he found alot of things he liked, but figured he could just tell me about them and I would find them again myself from his oh so random and vague descriptions ! * insert silent scream of a mother *. So after 3 days of him sketching out what he thought he saw that he thought he liked, I took it to EQ and tried to duplicate his ” vision “. Recently, Joanne from canuckquilter.com left a message on the bloggers quilt festival post for the quilt that Jonathan has entered, asking if it was inspired by her pattern “ Wandering Geese”.
I showed him the picture of Wandering Geese and he goes” Oh yeah, that was the one I was trying to tell you about ” . So thank you Joanne, for the inspiration! Now I can finally give inspiration credit where it is most definitely due.
So for the past few months I have been sporadically playing around with a new pattern idea. This one was a bit tricky since it involves no repeating blocks. I also wanted it to scale well, so you could change up the size depending on what size you made the blocks. I finally got to the ” prototype” stage. As with most of my prototypes, this one is made from old sheets LOL, it makes ” practicing” alot more affordable, since I can screw up more without worrying about wasting the good stuff !
Its current name is ” A-Maze-Thing”, not sure if that will stick or not.
( don’t mind all those points that don’t match LOL, that is operator error, not pattern error LOL )
This version finishes without borders at 48 x 60.
The alternate version would finish out at 72 x 90.
So what do you think? Should this be the next Slightly Off Quilter pattern ?
This entry for the Bloggers Quilt Festival is being made by my son Jonathan, for the quilt that he made this year for the county fair, and did very well with there.
Most of you that visit here have sen this one ALOT over this past summer, as I was so very tickled green with jealousy at how much nicer his points are than my own !
For those of you who have not been here before, I will give you a bit of background on this quilt !
Finished size : 72″ x 84″
The creator of this quilt is my 15 year old son Jonathan.
His love of all things muscle car is something that could only have come from my father, but here is the thing. My father passed away 8 years BEFORE my son was born. It is my firm belief that my father comes and whispers to him in his sleep about all things automotive !
The only work that I ( Mom ) did on this quilt, was to learn how to use my digitizing software so that I could create the files for the machine embroidery.
The points on this quilt are an ongoing rivalry in our household. He is very quilt to remind me, that his points are better than mine !
Since my son will be using my second entry to enter HIS quilt, I decided to enter this beauty into the ” Home Machine Quilted ” section !
” Gargantuan “
Finished Size : 90″ x 105 “
This is by FAR the largest quilt I have ever done. This was also the first quilt that I ever attempted feathers on !
It was made by quilting each individual block and then joining them together with faux sashing.Since each block was constructed and quilted separately, it allowed me to make this reversible. The solid squares on one side, are pieced on the opposite.
It’s that time again ! Bloggers Quilt Festival – fall 2014 has begun and I am sooo excited to be participating once again !
In case you have not heard about it, check it out here !
Well, I have finally gotten around to getting my quilt pattern set up for sale in my Etsy Store !
While I was at it, I decided to put some of my latest finishes up for sale as well !
** Fingers Crossed **
Beading Right Along
Ring Around The Rosey
I am all ready for the arrival of my newest nephew next month ! My brother and his girlfriend are expecting a little boy in November and his quilt is ready and waiting for him ! The baby shower is this weekend, but mom to be has already seen it , so I am safe to show it off !
I finally got to use the fabric I picked up at the quilt show last year !
I love how these colors go together !
I quilted it using Maxi-Lock Swirl thread ( OMG I used serger thread to quilt with ! The horror ! )
I also made up a cute bib using the leftover pieces from the quilt ! He is sure to be one coordinated baby !
We all know that saying, about Karma being a bitch, but I am here to tell you she can also be a wonderful angel. It’s all about what you send out, that determines what comes back at you.
A few weeks ago, our local seamstress was having a moving sale. She is retiring and moving south, so she was selling off almost all of her sewing items ! In her listing, she had mentioned that she had over 180 cones of thread, so you KNOW I was there bright and early at 9 AM when the listing said she was opening the door !
When I told her I had come for her thread, she told me that a woman had called her the night before about it, and had come and picked it up earlier in the morning. I was heartbroken ! I had been dreaming of that thread all night !
So I went about looking through the other things she had, and had picked up a small handful of things. While I was browsing, she and I got to talking, since no one else had arrived, and I told her I was a quilter. I was telling her about the quilts I was working on to send to the nursing home where my mother works. She said something about how sweet I was to donate my time and materials to those in the home, and asked if I already had a serger. I told her that at the moment, a serger was a bit outside my budget.
This my friends, is when Karma walked into the room.
She offered to sell me her Serger, for the same price as I had brought with me to purchase the thread ! Not only did she sell me the serger, but she gave me almost an hours worth of lessons on how to thread it, use it, adjust its tension and a host of other helpful information. She also loaded up a box with loads of extra feet, blades and other tools, as well as the handful of items I had selected earlier, and some other odds and ends. I honestly thought I was going to cry right then and there. Never in my wildest thread dreams from the night before did I think I was going to come home with a serger, when I left for thread !
This is my new beauty.
I am still playing with her to get the feel of her stitches, and I have signed up for the serger class of Craftsy which has been very helpful !
So far I have managed to perfect my flat-lock stitch, which by the way, is AWESOME for joining scraps of batting to make larger pieces without the extra bulk !
As you might be aware, my mother works for a nursing home in New Hampshire. Since I started quilting, I have made it a point to try and send up lap quilts for her residents who could use a little extra something. With everything that has been going on here this past summer, with moving , I have not sent anything up in a while. That is about to change ! I am planning on sending 4 up before Thanksgiving, I have two done !
Since I was overhauling the tutorials section, I decided to use the blocks from making the tutorials to make up some donation quilts !
Magicians 9 Patch Block
Instead of batting I used fleece throw blankets and no backing.
I found that this keeps the blankets lightweight but very warm , and also helps keep the quilt from falling off of laps. This is a big plus for those that may have trouble leaning over to pick it back up again on their own !
Vegas Wedding Block
Since these two are a bit girly, with the floral prints, I want to try and make two more more guy friendly to send up as well!
Calling all quilters ! This may sound like an odd request, but I am in need of post cards !
As a homeschool parent, I try and make learning as interesting and interactive as I can for our 15 year old son. As a teenager, sometimes this takes more effort than when he was younger ! Since we are doing World Geography and cultures this year for Social Studies / History I thought that it might make things interesting if he could get post cards from the places we are studying, both inside the US and abroad !
Since I know what an awesome bunch of people us quilters are, I figured I would send the call to you all !
If you are interested, please use the contact form here on the blog and I will e-mail you back with our mailing address.
It has been 2 weeks since my last post. It is not because I have had nothing to show or talk about either. The sad truth of the matter is that I was waiting for something that will never happen.
We all read those blogs where every single picture looks like it was taken with a professional camera crew. Perfect lighting, perfect setting, perfect, well, everything !
My sewing room does not offer that. Especially that perfect lighting part ! My sewing room is on the 3rd floor , in what used to be the attic of a house built in the mid 1800’s. I have ONE window, it faces south and gets full light all day long. The trouble with that, is that I get full light, ALL DAY LONG. Being on the third floor, means that my room seems to stay pretty warm, and since I am over the kitchen, it gets REALLY warm as soon as the oven is turned on. God help me when I need to use the iron AND cook at the same time ! You could use my room as a sauna !
This is the aforementioned window. ( Yes, that is a quilt rack / shelf being used for a bottle holder, just go with it ! )
I do have overhead lighting and I have a lamp for extra lighting at my machine, but that is far from the ” perfect lighting ” for photography.
This was driving me crazy for the past 2 weeks. Taking pictures outside in the beautiful fall leaves of New York may SOUND like a beautiful background… but let me tell you something you may not already know… It RAINS in the fall in New York. ALOT. It may not rain for long, but we are bound to get at least SOME moisture falling from the sky at some point every day. Oh and on those rare days when it ISN’T going to rain and sun makes an appearance ? Yeah, Those days are just so cold and windy that I don’t even like to leave the house, let alone stand outside and take pictures ! So this means taking pictures outside in the ” natural lighting ” is out.
With all of that said, I came to the conclusion that you all are just going to have to deal with ” not perfect ” pictures. It also means I am going to have to come to terms with the fact that I am going to be offering them up to you to look at ! This may sound strange to some of you, but the pictures that I post here on the blog, are probably the ONLY time that anyone ( my family included ) actually gets to see the inside of my house LOL. Given my Social Anxiety issues, we do not have people over to visit. We do not have dinner guests, or any type of guests for that matter. I consider my house to be my ” safety bubble ” , that place where I do not have to worry about other people being inside it. Hubs and Jonathan are allowed inside the “safety bubble”, but anyone else is considered an intrusion. So you can see what a big step this is for me to accept the fact that I have to put ” less than perfect ” pictures here on the blog, for the whole world to see !
So keep tuned for some updates over the next few days of things I have been working on, with pictures that show warts and all !