Wow! 2015. You are looking good.
I need to fill you in on the last little bit of 2014. First we have to go back in time about 12 years. I’m going to tell you a little bit about myself in the process.
When my oldest son was born, I was unable to get him to nurse. It happened to be right at the time of my 10 year high school reunion. I visited with a friend and mentioned I was having a very stressful and difficult time getting him to nurse. I was frustrated and about to throw in the towel in utter defeat. My friend mentioned an online group of women that pumped their milk. She suggested I check that out and see if they could help me. So I did. And I pumped exclusively for 8 1/2 months for him. It turns out, it wasn’t his fault. It was mine. My body just wasn’t a good fit for nursing. It was a good fit for pumping. Although, I hated pumping.
Ok, so imagine you are a new mom struggling. You find an online group that offers hope and help. And you stay connected to these women over the next 12 years. That is what I’m talking about. At one point, most of us moms were no longer pumping and our kids were getting older. We formed an offshoot group and continued to share our lives and what we were going through at that point in our lives. We mostly knew each other just online since we were all over the US and even in some other countries. There have been several meet ups with people in similar areas. These women are my go-tos for everything motherhood. Something about an old online group that can connect you in a way that an in real life group cannot. It is easier to talk about everything real online, for some reason.
As a group we have had parents pass away. We have had divorces and we have had lots and lots of babies born over the span of 12 years. What we had not experienced yet, was one of us dying. Ugh! That is until this summer.
Our friend had a quick and fatal cancer take over. In what seemed like a month’s time, she was gone. Thinking back, it may have been two months from diagnosis to passing away. Whatever the exact timeline, it was fast.
Of course, when I first found out about her having cancer and being sick, I thought how crappy that was. I figured I could make a lap quilt to help her through her treatments, and it would be something she could keep for, you know, ever. But I had no idea that it would be so quick and she would be gone. And I kind of didn’t know how to deal with the sadness I was feeling. There was a week that I realized it was going to be it soon. The end. One of our mutual friends had actually been best friends with this lady since they were 13. And their daughters were now 13 and close friends too. So our mutual friend had posted about holding our friend’s hand for possibly the last time. Ugh. I still can’t think clearly about it now.
What does a quilter think of at any time? Making something. I’ll make something and everything will be better. I can’t make her coming back to us. I can, however, make something for her two girls as a reminder of her mom and how this group of ladies loved her. So I rallied the troops and together we had a plan. The mama’s that could, would send me some fabric that somehow represented something about them or their relationship with our friend. I would put all these fabrics together for the girls.
I got all kinds of patterned fabric for this. Which is great. But sort of not. As I am understanding my style, I struggle with scrappy. It is growing on me. But I have something in me that wants quilts to match and have a nice symmetric flow. All these fabrics together do not go and do not have any kind of flow. I figured I would make them into a neighborhood of houses. As a group, we are a community. And I wanted the girls to know they are also part of our neighborhood or community.
Each time I would get the fabric out to sew, I would get sad and had to put it away. It took me almost 6 months to finish these two quilts. With Christmas fast approaching, I was determined to finish them up and send them off in time for Christmas. It was silly that it took me so long. Coupled with the extreme sadness, I felt self imposed pressure to make them perfect. But this was colliding with my idea of what makes an aesthetically pleasing quilt. I didn’t want to let down the ladies in my group with a set of boring quilts. It is also strange because I never met our friend in real life. I didn’t want to seem like I thought we were best friends in the whole world, when in reality we were just online friends. And that just made me feel weird. In the end, I just pressed forward. It wasn’t about making the most beautiful quilts. It was about making as a way to heal my pain of loss. It was about honoring the girls’ mother, and our friendship with her.
I don’t know if it is still a thing or not, but in our online group, when you wanted to express a hug, you would put the person’s name in parenthesis. So I put the names of the girls in parenthesis to show that they were getting a big hug from our group. I self drafted the letters and pieced them as opposed to applique. I’m pleased with how they came out. (And it also made me respect paper piecing designers even more. That is a lotta quilt maths/figuring out.)
Anyway, that is the story about these quilts. They were the quilts that took me the longest to make. There were more tears involved in this than anything I’ve ever done before. And there was more trepidation in making them than anything I’ve probably made before.