Posts Tagged ‘quilting’

A key to living a more enjoyable life.

Here we are again, another winter storm on the way.   With the frigid weather I have stayed in most days working on my quilt projects. IMG_4114 When I was sick with a chest cold a few weeks back my husband doted over me for a week, for fear I would end up in the worst possible place-the hospital.  I spent my time reading books and magazines and kept busy the best I could-in spite of not feeling well.  An article in one of the magazines got me thinking about a life changing event I would like to share with you.  Please bear with me if some of this is redundant for some of you.

Each issue of Quilter’s Newsletter magazine, has an article where 4 people respond at length to a certain question.  The question for Feb/March 2014 was, If I could spend a day with a quilter.  I expected people to write about well-known quilters and was  surprised to see that each person wrote about someone who had passed away, someone who impacted their life with quilting.  My thoughts immediately flew to the person who first introduced me to quilting over 30 years ago.  Tears came to my eyes as I thought of my friend, Linda.

IMG_1691

My first quilt. Early 80’s.

I met Linda in my early twenties.  She was just a few years older than me, an  elementary school teacher, who loved “tag-sailing”, and collecting antique things.  Her house was like a museum.  The most memorable thing about Linda was her laugh.  She was one of the happiest people I ever met.  Her eyes even laughed.

Not long after I met her, Linda gave me a personalized quilt block for my anniversary.  I was very intrigued, having never seen anything like it before.  As a result, she offered to show me how to make a simple 9 patch quilt block, like the one in the sampler. (top row, middle block) After her  lesson, I went on to take a quilting class.  Mind you, this was before all the time-saving tools we have today. The class was challenging, but I stayed with it.  In the end, I had this sampler that I still treasure.

Strangely enough, after having made a few quilted items, I gave up quilting for several years to make and sell a variety of hand-made items.  I eventually returned to quilting after remarrying and having my daughter.  I took more classes, and made new friends.  Even though I was busy raising our daughter, and doing child care, I made time to quilt in our cramped little bedroom.

Sewing the binding on my daughters quilt in my tiny sewing area

Sewing the binding on my daughters quilt in my tiny sewing area

After we moved to PA., Linda and I kept in contact mostly at Christmas. This went on for over a decade until one Christmas I received a phone call from her companion telling me Linda had passed away from pancreatic cancer.  I was shocked, and very sad for her 3 children, and for all those who loved this vivacious, happy woman.

Linda’s illness came on her suddenly, her suffering was great, but short.  For many of us, living the rest of our lives with the effects and unpredictability of lupus can be discouraging, even overwhelming.  My purpose for blogging is to encourage us, to plow ahead, into perhaps uncharted territory, and rise above this disease that would seek to rob vitality from our life.  Quilting has helped me in this area.

For me quilting:

  • has helped foster friendships I wouldn’t have otherwise

    Stitch n' Peace Quilt Group Gettysburg Pa.

    Stitch n’ Peace Quilt Group Gettysburg Pa.

  • improves my brain and self-esteem
  • helps me develop persistence, patience, and purpose
  • helps me dominate illness in my life
  • gives me much pleasure, relieves stress, and boredom
  • fills my home with many treasures I get to enjoy

Quilting has allowed me to:

  • show people how much they are loved as they receive a one of a kind gift

    One of the baby quilts for Japan

    One of the baby quilts for Japan

  • send  messages of love and hope to Japan after the tsunami
  • bless babies in Romania at Casa Shalom, and here in Pa. at Tender Care Pregnancy Centers
  • earn money for our family by making doll quilt sets for many little girls

I would love to have the chance to:

  • show Linda my little photo album documenting my journey of quilting.
  • To show her how my abilities have slowly improved over time.
  • To thank her for the wonderful friends I have made.  To tell her how they have helped me grow as a person and  in my ability as a quilter.
  • tell her how crucial quilting has been in helping me rise above the effects of lupus
  • I would like to be able to properly thank her.

We never know how we will impact someones life, and then in a domino affect,  other lives. Working with my hands has been a true lifesaver for me.  Do you have a passion? Or, maybe you are ready to try something new?  Whatever the case, use it to enable yourself to rise above the effects of lupus and make life more enjoyable.dominos

In all fairness, I cannot end this post without recognizing the other people who  were a huge influence in this area.  In high school,  I had a strong inclination toward art, which my father and step-mother were very quick to foster, in the brief time I lived with them.  They really believed in me, which I think gave me confidence to  create in my 20’s.   To this day my step-mother is quick to encourage and support my endeavors, offering wisdom along the way.  And I can’t forget my mother, who has become my biggest quilt cheerleader over the last 10 years. Thank you Dad, Ginny and mom.

In the meantime, borrowing a phrase from Wendy Sheppard, an amazing quilter I follow on-line at Ivory Spring, curious minds want to know, what do you do to dominate your diagnosis?

Until next time,
Many Blessings, Can’t wait to hear from you….Leslie Rose K
For more inspiration  follow me here on PINTEREST.
 
Let the favor  of the Lord our God be upon us,
    and establish the work of our hands upon us;
    yes, establish the work of our hands! Psalm 90:17 ESV
 
 

The Quilt Show

Baby Quilt for Japan

A good quilt show is a magical place.   As a quilter myself, I marvel at the wonders I often see at these shows.   There are mesmerizing miniature  quilts where a 12″ x 12″ area could contain hundreds of tiny pieces sewn together.  There are spectacular large quilts of every kind, whole-cloth, applique, and pieced, along with every size and style in  between.

There  are quilters who finish their quilts  with a substantial amount of machine quilting stitches and  the minimalist who tends to quilt  sparingly, but perfectly by hand.  There are three-dimensional quilts and quilts done in  separate sections.  Some people even use different  fibers such as wool  and  silk.

You could find a quilt with bright and bold color combination’s along side a quilt with soft pastels.  There could be a quilt with large wildlife prints next to one with  calico fabric.  Each quilt is as different as its creator.  Each quilt has a story behind it. One quilter may have had a desire to  get out of a rut of stagnation and another to send a message about a current hot-button issue.

I have to admit that when I go to these fantastic quilt shows, I marvel at the time, energy, creativity and ability these  artists have.  In my opinion, I do not have  enough of any of these things, but wish I did.  It is easy to feel like an insignificant quilter in the shadow of so many stunning quilts.  I could spend a lifetime trying to make a showstopper quilt, but I would get nothing else done. No quilts to keep my loved ones warm and cozy.  No  quilts to bring life to a plain wall or room.  No table runners to invite people to a home cooked meal. No quilts for friends and family to enjoy.

I made a patchwork quilt  for my daughter’s bed when she was three.   There is a photo that always makes me smile of her sitting on the quilt, while I am at the sewing machine attempting to sew on its binding.  That quilt is quite worn from 15 years of use, the colors have faded and it is looking a little threadbare in places.  For people who struggle with the challenges of  autoimmune diseases like SLE (lupus), it is easy to feel like a worn out patchwork quilt most days.  It is natural  to occasionally get in a funk and feel like you have little value in this fast-paced, high achievement world.

While the award-winning quilt is wonderful, you would not wrap your sick child in it, because it is often for visual enjoyment only.  On the other hand,  patchwork quilts are some of the most used and best-loved quilts around.   When my daughter was a teenager, she told me  that she  keeps the end with the  label up toward the top so she can read the handwritten message  each night before going to sleep. To this day, my daughter treasures that patchwork quilt. She tells me it would be one of the things she would take  if there was a fire. Wow!

So while you and I may feel like  simple patchwork quilts most days, I bet  our families would say we are priceless treasures that they would not part with for anything.  They would most likely rank us right up there with the showstopper quilts.

When it is all said and done, the quilt show does inspire me, even though  I  have to remind myself not to compare myself with these gifted quilters.  Each one of our lives is as unique as we are and we all have special talents and gifts to share.  The trick is to finding those gifts and sharing them as we are able.

Whether you are a quilter or not, if you have never been to a national quilt show like Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza XVIII,  you should consider going to one, you will find it an eye-opening experience you will not forget.  More  next time as I share about the Vintage Revisited exhibit.

At this time I will be posting about every two weeks. I hope you are enjoying your spring. I thank you for your readership and your support. Many of you have encouraged me all along the way.  You have blessed me and helped me press on.

Blessings,

Leslie Rose K

If you would like to contact me apart from leaving a comment please email me at the following address

leslie@dominateyourdiagnosis.com

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where treasures of past and present connect

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