Yes! I have now got the keys for my wonderful new home. It took a while, but I have the removal firm booked for Monday. They will be doing all the packing and relocation but not the unpacking. Then on Tuesday, my very BESTEST bestest friend, Alan, will be coming to dismantle and move and reassemble my Handiquilter for me in my new studio. I have an electrician coming round on Wednesday to see what my lighting requirements are and hopefully that will get sorted in early June. In the meantime, I will concentrate on getting my studio up and running as soon as possible. It may take a while as some work needs to be done, channelling through the walls, then making good and then redecorating, but certainly my quilting machine should be back in use in time to finish off two quilts that I would like to enter into the Festival of Quilts this year.
|The view from my new studio...unfortunately lovely Gothic mirrors have gone|
|Steps to my back garden from the studio, planning on making a living wall garden on that brick wall|
|I can see lots of pots with plants on those steps in a few days|
|New studio space before previous owner moved out|
|And there is a lovely storage room just off the studio...hmmm....fabric?|
"The happy quilt" renamed "The journey"
In the meantime, I have finished quilting this quilt but decided to rename it as it was finished under such sad and the most unhappy time of my life. "The journey" seems to suit it better too. All the blocks are hand sewn reverse appliqué blocks. Until I started this quilt, I have never done this technique, and in a moment of madness I decided that I may as well perfect the technique, so decided to do all 196 blocks in the book "Dutch treat" by Judy Garden. Most of the blocks were sewn on car journeys, train journeys and coach journeys, on trips away with my husband, with my family and also on quilting holidays. I stitched all the blocks together before I separated from my husband and I was so grateful that at least all the piecing was done during happy times. "Quilting is my therapy". Now how many times have you heard a quilter say that? Do you ever take them seriously? Do you think they are just joking? I started quilting 16 years ago, after I had lost my baby, Damian. It wasn't really quilting, more piecing, but it got me out of the house and meeting up with others who needed time out from whatever was going on in their lives. I needed it then. It was my therapy. In difficult times it was my escape and my happy place. It gave me a purpose and made me feel valued. With recent events in my life, when I felt I had lost all hope, and purpose, and I had no motivation, I could pick up this quilt and stitch just one block at a time. Sometimes I was happy with the quilting, other times I hated what I was doing and didn't like the block or the design of the quilting, but I forced myself to finish the block. I felt like I had lost my touch, I resented that my quilting had become so important in my life, wondered if in fact it had replaced what should have been most important in my life, my family. And I resented that and didn't want it. My family was all that mattered to me and if I had to give up quilting in order to have my family back, the way it was before, I would gladly have done so. Then one day, I realised, this is not true. My quilting never has replaced my family, never have been more important. I had turned to my quilting because of the problems in my life that I could not deal with and could not face. I hid behind the quilting, it had become my place of calm and where I could switch off and just be. It was my therapy.
So, after all this time, I realised that not only had I journeyed from not knowing anything about reverse appliqué to becoming quite skilled at it (not always easy and some blocks had to be redone in order to look decent) , through so many journeys and holiday trips, but this quilt has also seen me through some of the happiest times in my life, then through some of the most desolate and dark times to slowly coming through to a place where I can see light at the end of the tunnel. My journey is not over, I still have a very long way to go, but this quilt tells the story of part of my journey.
I still have to do the binding on this quilt, it will be the first project to be finished in my new home. I have entered it into the Festival of Quilts. It is not a competition quilt, it never was intended to be a competition quilt, but it is nevertheless a quilt I am very proud of and happy to display for others to see. I started off a complete novice at this technique and finished I feel as accomplished as I will ever be at doing reverse appliqué. It was worth the effort, worth unpicking and redoing all those blocks that did not quite turn out nice enough. Will I ever do another reverse appliqué quilt like this one? Probably not, who is to say? Besides, there are so many other techniques still to learn and master. Maybe one day.
|Work in progress on borders|
|The back of "The journey", still work in progress|
Although I have not been able to sew at all over last few weeks, I have made some progress on my hexie quilt. And once I am nicely sorted out in my new home, I will be starting to sew in the evenings again and will make some more progress, although I am starting to realise that hand sewing might just have to be what I do more of in the colder months. When we have daylight till late at night, I need to get going in my garden.
|Only the yellow star point to add before filling in with big diamond shapes|
Green Radiance quilt
I still do not have a name for this quilt! All done now apart from adding the hanging sleeve and label. I even managed to find some little seed beads that were just the right shade for adding to the binding. Very pleased with how it has turned out.
My new garden
My new garden is a total blank canvas. Lots of shrubs planted along the boundary fence, with unimaginative grass areas. The garden is not huge, but big enough that I can do something really special in here. I am already working on a layout and design, and will hopefully be getting the hard landscaping done in the very near future. Will keep updating as I make progress.