The comfort of Quilting

** warning things are about to get a little personal in a very un-Australian way

As I pondered the quilting I had been doing this week I realised that it had been exactly a year since my quilting was rudely interrupted by some Emergency surgery.  This time last year I had posted my Icky Thump block on Monday….

Paper pieced blockand was working on my Tula Pink blocks when I realised something was not quite right.  You see I had recently found out  I was pregnant which was an incredible shock, as I had assumed that being over 40 was a great form of birth control.  Boy was I wrong.

Anyway a call to my doctor and a quick conversation about what my body was doing ended with her saying “go to the Emergency Room now, I will meet you there”.   Slightly freaked out,  I managed to grab my hexagon travel kit, my keys, my purse and my husband (in that order) and headed out the door.

Well it transpired that my pregnancy was ectopic and after some emergency surgery I found myself sore, confused and chock full of hormones… and this is where the quilting comes in.

Over the last year quilting has been my life line.  When I could not move after the surgery I made hexagons like crazy…. I do not do well with doing nothing and hexagons were something that kept me busy, kept me from going crazy.

hexagon flowers modern brightThen as I slowly recovered I found I could do small stints at the sewing machine.  I designed a quilt block and slowly set about making it piece by piece.

cross block wipMy damaged body meant that I could take the time to carefully select the scraps and fabric for this quilt.  To spend so much time designing and making this quilt top was a gift and a luxury.  I have not finished this quilt yet… the completed  top has been sitting in the cupboard  but I have not been emotionally ready to deal with the baggage attached to it.   Soon I will be strong enough.

As time went on and my body healed, quilting commitments kept my mind from wondering and my feelings from overwhelming me.  I signed up for fussy cut swaps…

fussy cut swapand quilted container swaps…

Finsihed quilted bucketI tested paper piecing patterns, joined Quilting Bees and threw myself into the Let’s Get Acquainted Blog Hop.  I kept quilting….kept posting…kept busy.

quilt block mosaicIt has been 12 months of ups and downs.  As an British/Australian hybrid I struggle to share personal stuff.  Sharing does not come naturally to me  – as my best friend Margaret told me recently “it takes you a while to let people in…. usually 2 to 3 years” – but somehow on this anniversary it seemed important to let you know what quilting, has meant to me over the last 12 months.  I survived one stitch at a time, pushed forward by the lovely comments left about my work and the support of the wonderful online quilting community.

And to my online friends, who had no idea this was going on, but who supported my quilting and my creativity during this time a very big thank you.  To Ashley, Marie, Amy, Michelle, Nicole, Sarah, Susan, Kate, Mel, Julie, Laura, Stephanie, Renee, Cari, Amanda… extra special thanks for your constant comments and support over the last 12 months.

Okay soppy emotional stuff is now over…. it will be back to normal programming by Friday… promise.

91 thoughts on “The comfort of Quilting

  1. I am a 40-something British-born Aussie hybrid too, so I hear you. I would have grabbed the hexies first too; it is always good to keep yourself busy in times of stress.
    I am so very glad to hear that you are on the mend.

  2. Thank you for sharing and therefore affirming what quilting has provided for many of us. Your work is phenomenal, a gift to all who see it. Blessings, my quilting friend.

  3. Thank you for being uncharacteristic! (I often pretend to be super open–I think it’s a Southern woman thing–and I’m actually pretty private, to the point where I would elope two weeks before my wedding because I didn’t want people watching “the real thing.”) The way you use color and the quilts/blocks you post are therapeutic for your audience too. I am always pleased to see you pop up in any feed of mine because I know it will be colorful 🙂 so glad to “know” you, Cath.

  4. Although I had no idea of what you describe, I am certainly glad to hear you are beginning to rally. I could not tell from your posts during the past year that you going through such a problem.

  5. Quilting helped me through five years of infertility. It was something I could do that I could control when all else was not in my hands. After two kids, now quilting keeps me sane. I still plan my hand projects based on vacation plans…’what can I take along to work on?”. I just finished a 60 degree diamond quilt – 175 (12 diamond) hexagons, over 2100 diamonds. I worked on it while I was recuperating from a knee replacement! I love your work – thanks for sharing it with the quilting world!

  6. just wanted you to know i thoroughly enjoy your blog. i am a devoted follower, tho i usually dont bother to leave a comment. your quilting is inspiring. as i am going through my own “issues”, i am thankful for you and several other “quilty friends” that i have found on the blogesphere…who needs a psychiatrist when there is soo much pretty fabric out there?!

  7. I just wanted to let you know that your blog gives me a lot of quilty inspiration. Thanks for sharing your story. I, too, have gone through an ectopic pregnancy but wasn’t quilting yet. However I am headed into cancer surgery/treatment and have started to think about little things to keep my hands busy. Thank you for the ideas.

  8. I admire your quilts mostly because they are happy and bright. They always cheer me up and make me smile so I’m not surprised that they helped you to recover. Thank you for bringing sunshine to my blog reading 🙂

  9. Quilting and the quilting community have kept me sane through many a transition in our lives. I’m “sew glad” you found the same support on your journey. Thank you for sharing for being willing to share your story. I absolutely love the block you designed during your crisis. Looking forward to seeing it complete, in time. Thanks again!

  10. Cath….you have brought tears to my eyes! I am so sorry that you were unwell and for your loss. It takes alot of courage to tell your story and I am honoured that I had a small contribution in helping you on your journey. I’m so glad I found you! Marie xxx

  11. Hi, I am a very occasional commenter but I just wanted to say thank you for sharing. I had a traumatic 2nd trimester pregnancy loss and was unwell for a long time afterwards, both physically and mentally, and crafting really helped me climb back out of it. When I was just out of the hospital I made my husband get me a hank of laceweight yarn so I could wind it by hand – not knit or crochet, just wind it into a ball – there was something so soothing about it. When I was too sick to get off the couch I planned quilting projects and poured over fabric online. And when I finally was able to move about I spent hours reorganizing my sewing/craft area. All of it was, in its own way, therapy for me.

  12. Thank you for this! I’m facing some things right now, and I am finding it difficult to even blog. I might need to turn back to quilting for its therapeutic aspects. Thank you for reminding me that we actually know how to be kind to ourselves. Best wishes to you.

  13. Thank you for sharing! I appreciate the beauty of your quilts even more knowing how important the quilting was for you in your time of need.

  14. Cath – your story really touched my heart. I’m saddened by your loss and marvel at your ability to move forward. Sharing personal experiences can provide a great release while letting others with similar experiences understand that they are not alone. I’m happy that quilting was the tool you used to help with the healing process. You’re talents and gifts are an inspiration to us all. While you will never completely recover from your loss, you can find joy in the fact that you have brightened the lives of so many people just to being there. Take care and keep sharing.

  15. I’m so glad you are so far on your road to recovery! Quilting was a lifeline for me, and I learned to paper piece hexagons during a 5 month health scare journey. In fact I named a huge blue hexagon floor pillow “It’s Benign”. I made a quilt with all the baggage you describe – I can’t believe my oxycontin addled brain made this thing! and I hate to look at it, yet others like it, and today I am giving it away as a graduation gift. I’m glad it’s done (I finished it an hour ago!) and can give it to a home that will look at it and see joy, not the remnants of a dark journey. It gets better.

    • Thank you Leigh Ann. I must admit I think I would find it grad to give away the quilt top I did during this period…as much as it was a struggle the quilt reminds me of what I did to get thru it. But I am so glad someone will get pleasure from your quilt. There is a lot if joy in giving a quilt away.

  16. Read this just a minute ago. So sorry to read this, but thankful you shared. For me quilting or sewing is therapy pure, nice to here other people take the same medicin as I do. Best wishes to you!

  17. Wow! Ya know, I don’t talk much about me on my blog either. But it’s always nice to read about other people and really get to know them. I’m so sorry to hear about the stress of your last year. I hope that this anniversary will be a wonderful turning point for you! But your quilting is amazing, and I have to say that the silver lining of this story is that because of your quilting I’m so excited to have been able to get to know you and I’m blown away by your talent! You’re amazing to have gone through this and be able to look back, reflect and share. And you’re creativity is amazing too! I can’t wait to meet you in person some day!

  18. I’m a bit slow replying but thanks so much for sharing. I love receiving your blog in my inbox (although to be honest I just can’t wrap my head around the idea of paper piecing, but I have found a pattern which I will be attempting shortly). Embroidery, rather than quilting, got me through two years of infertility and at a horrible point in our lives nearly two years ago, we gratefully discovered I was pregnant. Now, with an energetic one year old, quilting along with dressmaking and embroidery, help me keep my sanity! Please, keep blogging!

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