Friday, December 9, 2011

The Life Quilt...and seeing life in quilting

A few months ago, as some of you will remember, I was working on a quilt when my walking foot exploded shooting dark oil in splotches across the top; luckily I was able to get the oil all out (phew!) but wasn't able to complete the quilting until I got my new foot.

This is the photo that I showed at the time with the quilt all basted; I was finally able to get my new foot at Creativ Festival in October (it is surprisingly difficult to find the proper Janome foot in Toronto and I tried to order one from a shop in Guelph but that was such a farce that I gave up) and finished the quilt last month. Just in case anyone wants to know the prints are from Kate Spain's Fandango collection and the solid is Moda Bella in Snow (I believe it's snow anyway).

This little quilt is going my friend JJ's mum who is sick. A few months back JJ decided to put together a project and asked her friends to contribute - she asked that we use/put the word "life" into situations and take a photograph so that she could put the images in places where her mum would see them everyday and she also created a gallery. I decided that since I see life in quilting that I would make a tangible object for her mum to have (I also sent her a picture to put into the gallery) and this little guy will be leaving my house sometime very soon to join JJ and her mum.

Seeing "life" in a quilt or in quilting is an interesting concept, but one that I also think is a very true part of my own everyday. I really can't fathom who I would be without quilting and sewing and creating and designing. It kept me sane when I was getting through grad school, helped to keep me in food when I was looking for a job, and has introduced me to so many people - some of whom are my very best friends now.  It's been difficult recently with a full-time job and the lack of sunlight hours to find time to do everything that I would like and that includes creating - the lack of sunlight hours has really put a cramp in being able to photograph my completed projects too (I have two quilts and a couple of other smaller projects that I need pictures of). Sometimes all I want to do is sit on the couch and just sit, but what I really need to do is kick myself in the pants and get back to the sewing machine. The last few days I have really been trying to do just that and completed both a gift for a friend and a couple of Christmas commissions. I have one more really big project that I need to make myself work on, but then I can pick things just for me for a little bit (or at least I hope so).

While being a librarian is a big part of my life, I think that it would be more true to say that creating is my life. Even when I'm doing other things I am thinking about designs and seeing patterns in architecture and the objects around me everyday. I feel extreme satisfaction when I can help people with research and answer their questions, but I feel an even bigger sense of well-being and accomplishment when I see people using my designs or when they tell me that they love something I've made. I am a nervous person by nature and was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder a few years ago - I sometimes become awkward in social situations (which is not helped by the fact that I am partially deaf) and have a hard time talking to people I don't know. This is easier with the quilty people though because there is automatically something that connects us to each other and something that can be innately understood - I feel much more myself and accepted with people who craft even if it is still sometimes hard and difficult to join in with the group. Like every other area in life quilting and sewing also has an "in-crowd" or a popular group, and they are darn intimidating let me tell you!

So that, just in case you wanted to know, is a little part of me.


  1. This quilt is so beautiful and so special! It's absolutely lovely! :)

  2. Hi Kaye,

    Over the past few weeks I've come to a realization that isn't too far from what you've shared about yourself in this post. Actually, maybe it reminds me too much of myself. :)

    I am 22 years old and I've spent my entire life living on a fruit and vegetable farm here in the state of Michigan. Farming is a big part of my life, but I think creating--be it sewing or knitting--is what really makes my day-to-day life brighter. Yes, there have been many times when I found myself frustrated over a project I was doing, but once I made it past the obstacle I enjoyed the project even more.

    And when I am not crafting, I am still thinking about it. When I am picking green beans or planting tomato plants, I am thinking about what I am working on or I'm mentally toying with a design plan.

    It is difficult for me as well to associate and communicate with people. Sometimes nervousness is an understatement. But I do feel more at ease when speaking to a person that shares my love for crafting. Because when you are talking about something you love, it is so easy to become wrapped up in the topic and forget to be nervous!

    So thank you very much for sharing this part of you with us. It has helped boost my spirits!


  3. What a beautiful quilt and a beautiful post. Your honesty is so brave and I really admire you for it. I hope that you post a tutorial for this quilt it really is special.

  4. I love your quilt and I love the honesty of your post. I'm a shy person by nature, but as you said, I feel an affinity to crafters. When I joined a quilt guild a few years ago, I too saw that there were already some fast friendships that were hard to break into. What I found helpful was to introduce myself to new members and begin to form my own group. Best of luck in quilting and in life, Kathie L in Allentown

  5. This was a lovely post, Kaye. I think you and I share many of the same traits as well. You do beautiful work and I love this quilt. What a special gift.

  6. Hi Kaye, really like this design, looks great.