A Quilter’s funeral

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I went to my best friend’s funeral today and my eyes are sore from crying. I helped in setting up the viewing and I am really proud that we got it right for Jen.  This is a bowl full of her hexagon collection.  The note describes how Jen loved her hexagons and to ask her friends and family to take one or more so that they would have a memory of her. She once gave me a bucket full of hexies and called it a “bucket full of smiles.”  The bowl is sitting on her first hexagon quilt, called “Odyssey;” 100s of 1/2inch hexies sewing to make a galaxy; Jen’s own pattern.  The quilting was perfect.

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Here is the whole table with her basket.  She brought that basket everywhere and she had so many projects ready to work on; hexies, spinning wool, knitting etc.

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This is her urn and more of her; her motivation quilt that I made her which included messages from her friends and family.  Her husband made the urn out of a maple tree that he and Jen found in the yard.  It is of course in the shape of a hexagon with a big smile engraved on one side and flowers on another. So beautiful and heartfelt.

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My Jen, Jen, Jen: the friend who was present and there for me in all my endeavours. I will miss her and I know that she will always be close to me, pushing me to live authentically.

Ode to my best friend

Ode to Jennifer Giberson.  To one person, she was his life partner (Dany). To another she was his mother (Sam Uel).  To yet another, she was her mother-in-law (Émilie B-c). To others she was a sister and to parents, a daughter.   To others, she was a daughter in-law, a sister-in-law, an aunt and  a godmother.  To many others she was a colleague and yet to many more she was a friend, a most generous friend with time and genuine interest to give.   To me, she was my best friend and  she lost her battle with cancer.  She fought and boy did she fight hard.  Each day since June 6th when she was given a final diagnosis of no more treatment, she opened her eyes each morning and relished the new day.  Even if that new day included pain, it also included all the little things life is; 

– the birds on the patio, where she loved to sit as long as she could, to the point of falling asleep

–  the numerous amount of visitors who came by to keep her company and reminisce with her,

–  the portable hexagon project that kept advancing little by little because stitching was her therapy

– the rare spinning on the spindle when her arm could take it

– just looking at the wool in her basket, oh those colourful skeins, so vibrant, just like Jen.

– enjoying the site of her bulletin board, full of cards, pictures, and momentos

– the act of getting dressed EVERY DAY set as a priority

– Burger King  and Pizza Maximum

– her portable oooooooooooooms quilt, which she read and re read 

– the always smiling face for whoever, walked in the room, doctors, nurses and of course those many visitors

– the chattering or as we always called it, yakking

– wearing a red dress 

– taking a ride in the antique car

– little picnics with visitors

– the many stickers and texts 

– surprise visits from son

– red jello and strawberry milkshakes

The list goes on and on and really, how she lived these last two months is not as different to how she lived her life before she got sick.  Life was around her and in the present.  One of the many things that I take away from Jen is that life is is to be experienced and to be grateful  for.  Jennifer’s absolute optimism was her greatest strength.   Being positive because positivity was  like gas for her. It got her so far.   Being kind is also high on the Jen list; so many things that I take from her.   She gave us a lesson in dying ; an important lesson.

I miss her already. RIP my dear friend.  Jen, my angel,  is on my shoulder now, ready to push and prod me when I need it.  Thank you.

For those who don’t know how much Jen liked fiber, here is her blog: https://jensplayground.wordpress.com
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Jen was my greatest quilting buddy and my most “fibery” friend.

I am linking to The Needle and Thread Network

Little fishies became a bigger project

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Isn’t it always the way.  I can never follow a pattern.  I have to adjust it. This was a row by row pattern and I am just making a simple table runner with it.  I only had the center pieces so I added a border to make it summery.  I am also stitching some “fish” sayings.

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I am having fun doing the embroidery.  I am using a Sulky water soluble stabilizer.  It will wash away when I finish.

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And I received two long-awaited books:

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I am curious about this technique so…

And I have already started last year’s craze, “The Splendid Sampler” but now have the book:

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I hope you enjoy and are inspired.  I am linking up with The Needle and Thread Network of course, a place for Canadians to share.

A little middle of the night sewing

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I was rearranging some drawers yesterday and I came across this little row by row project. I couldn’t sleep last night and I finished putting it together.  I will make a little table runner with it I think.

Every time I sit in my living room chair I pick up my hand stitching and I am making progress on my grandmother’s garden hexagon quilt.  I decided to start attaching a few into rows to see even more progress:

P1020228.JPGI so love stitching this and I am getting better in the corners.

Here is the back:

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I started to take out the paper because I read somewhere that it is better to take them out as you go because at the end it is a chore.

Just thought that I would post my portable tray.  I use it all the time and really saves the always-have-to-pick-up-after-myself.P1020230.JPG

Happy stitching!

6-Word Memoir Series

Yes, this is my long term project which ties my professional 9-5 job with my creative life.

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I teach at a college in Quebec.  I teach English as a second language and I teach many levels and many types of courses. My classes are similar to university classes, 15 weeks of 3-hour courses so I see a lot of students in a year.  Each semester, I have about 120-150 students.  For me, teaching is not all about the subject matter but also the human side.  My students range in age of 17-21 but I also have quite a few older students too, those who have come back to school.   I love this level of education because our youth have so much to give to our future.  They love to debate and have strong opinions as well of humourous and serious ways of looking at the world.  That is why I ask my students to write their own memoirs; their 6-word memoirs.  I find it is a good way to use what they have learned in English as well as expressing themselves creatively.

I ask my students to create their own and try not to make a cliche but to play with the cliche if necessary (doesn’t happen all the time). They then have to hand in a powerpoint slide which includes the memoir and and an image(s) that reflects the idea.  The last requirement is to write the memoir onto a block of fabric.  I tend to go with the 5-inch block (I am thinking of going triangles this year).  I then play with the memoirs.  My hope is to make a series and exhibit them in our school mini art gallery.  It has taken me a long time to get here.  I still have a way to go because I am not sure of the outcome but I have started.

The big quilt at the top of the post is the one I bring into class, to explain the project to the students.  I also tell them about my dark side as a quilter and they love that idea.  When I explain the project, they tend to say that it is impossible to write only 6 words, but then I start seeing their fingers tapping on the desks; counting out their words.  Some modify their tattoos and favourite expressions.  I give 1% for this assignment and for many it is the assignment that means the most.

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This year the film controversy of Thirteen Reasons Why made it into my classroom.  My students changed the title and positive messages came out.  I like how the days’ events enter into the fold.

This spring I took a few workshops about finishing quilts in a creative way:

finish 1.JPGHere is some piping and sashing technique.  Please excuse the blasphemy above.  That is a part of a 6-word memoir.  I may do a quiltlet of blasphemous because I do get the odd one.  Students will be students.

finish 2.JPGAnother finish, double piping.

The finishing workshops really got me into gear for a series of pieces.  I had to bring sandwiched blocks to the workshop so I decided that it was now or never to start my 6-word memoir project.   I made my sandwiched pieces with my memoir blocks.  I stayed up almost all night, it was so much fun, quilting for me and simply playing! These are the pieces after my day-long workshop:

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My design wall.

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So, I have some finishes to do.  This project has so many possibilities! It is positive and it really adds to my love of my job.  I hope that you enjoy the messages from my students.  People who I meet have given me their 6-word memoirs and if you care to send me a block with yours, I would welcome it ;).  After incubating and collecting the memoirs, I have a beginning and I hope that there is no end because our lives are always giving messages.  I have even started logging my own daily 6-word messages.  The sky is the limit for this project! The themes I can delve into, not to mention quilt techniques, from piecing to applique to machine quilting and embroidery.  Follow along!

I am linking up with The Needle and Thread Network

 

Conundrum

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I want to quilt this 100-5-inch block square quilt.  This is ready to go and I want to start but not sure how. I don’t want to take away from the focal point of the words/messages.  Does anyone have any ideas on how to quilt the squares. I am working on a domestic and I do have the westalee rulers so was thinking of that.

Do I start in the middle?

Do I really need to anchor it? I quilted another quilt and when I anchored it I had trouble with puckering.

So may questions but I really want to get this done!

This quilt is a compilation of 6-word memoirs that my students write.  I am making a series of smaller quilts and it is an ongoing project.

 

Handquilting

I started with this:

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My christmas quilt.  Jen and I put this on my frame back in January and I really haven’t had time to work on it. So I pulled it out.  I also got out all my tools:

So I started to quilt on the frame and I like to quilt coming towards me and since I am just a budding handquilter, I was having difficulty going sideways.  I am stitching in the ditch around the stem:

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I can’t wait to use my christmas stencils as fillers!  So, back to the dilemma.  I took the quilt off the frame.  Sorry Jen.  It is in the hoop and it is really relaxing to stitch:

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I think that it will be better this way. I will be able to take it with me when I visit Jen.  On her good days she can give me tips.  She is the queen of handquilting.  I just love watching her hands quilt. She is the one who taught me. We handquilted a quilt together a few years ago. It was so fun:

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Memories! Good memories! Quilty Jen memories.  So, now I am back to handquilting.

It has been ages, but I am going to link up with The Needle and Thread Network

Sewing, Reading, Quilting, Embroidery(ing :) ), Running, Writing, Weaving…and the list goes on and on and on…