Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Never Easy patchwork quilt

Never Easy patchwork quilt

One afternoon during the quilt design challenge, I was catching up with a little girl whom I follow on Facebook.  Her mom and I became friends through the Hope for HIE forum for parents of children with brain damage like Eleni's.  This little girl presented so much like Eleni and was born near the same time; but, I am happy to report, she is alive and smiling and making little bits of progress, even though it is always a struggle.  So often, a literal life-and-death struggle - again, so much like Eleni.

Well, that day during our challenge her mom described on Facebook what it was like caring for her child.  She likely mentioned juggling therapies, lugging around multiple medical machines, preforming daily life-sustaining nursing activities and evaluating whether her baby needed hospitalization, all while mothering her other children.  What struck me was her final words, that it "wasn't always easy" caring for a child like her precious girl.

My heart burst out, "It's never easy!"  Because it wasn't.  It really wasn't ever easy.  It was at times happy, hopeful, sweet or in other ways special, but it was never, never easy.

Never Easy patchwork quilt

I sat down with paper and pencil and this design fairly poured out of me, all those half rectangle triangles forming sharp, contrary, capital N's for Never, Never Easy.

While making this quilt I reflected upon the many for whom life is never easy - some single parents, neglected children, those facing extreme prejudice, war, poverty.  In our culture we applaud shows of bravado.  We like to hear those in terrible situations focusing on the upside, courageously facing the future with a smile.  And I'm not saying they shouldn't.  I'm not saying it doesn't help.  What I am saying is that we have to allow them (when they're ready) and ourselves (when it's true) to admit that some things are never easy.  It's OK to be real about the harsh realities.  Yes, it does make people uncomfortable, to say the least, but our honesty also opens the door to real help, real community, a fuller kind of love.

I know, because I've seen it here, with you.

Never Easy patchwork quilt

I don't mean to criticize my friend at all.  She doesn't have to say "never easy", but I do.  I need to say it, for me and for Eleni and for others who find it to be true.  I need to say it to be a part of giving permission or creating space, so to speak, for others to say it too.

Never Easy patchwork quilt

So that is what this quilt means to me.  Making it, on the other hand, was sometimes easy (wink).  I think the design concept was a perfect marriage with Anna Maria Horner's Loominous II collection.  The saturated colors mixed with somber tones communicate all that I intended.  I really enjoyed improv piecing the backing and quilting it all over with randomly spaced straight lines.  Since both the front and back are made up of woven Loominous fabrics, it has a soft, luxurious drape and so many interesting textures.

You can find Loominous fabrics at Gotham Quilts and some similar wovens (Checks Please and Window Dressing) here at HoneyBeGood.

I've listed this quilt now in my Etsy shop!  Thanks for stopping by.

Never Easy patchwork quilt



35 comments:

  1. Стильно, модерново.

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  2. Wow what an amazing quilt! It is joyous hopeful and comfortingly happy. Hugs!

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  3. Thank you...for holding the space for yourself and for others. There are so many, too, who make it look easy, when there are big "it's not easy"'s, floating around...folks who deal silently with chronic pain, depression, abuse. Thank you for being real.

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    1. Yes, so true! And the woman who bought the quilt is actually one of those people. I feel honored to get to share myself with people that understand and need to hear a message that I need to share. It still amazes me to be here, doing this. Thank you, Ella, for your encouragement.

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  4. How nice to hear what was going on in your head as you made this quilt. I am glad it was cathartic and let you express yourself without apology. Our mental health depends upon it! Your quilt is lovely and I could picture you saying NEVER, NEVER over and over again while you made those rectangle cuts! Thank you for sharing that. I am sure it helped you and others!

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  5. I echo Ella... Thank you for holding honest space. and what a beautiful quilt to show for it :)

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  6. What a stunning quilt, Rachel. It turned out beautifully and I must say, I never would have thought of pairing up this pattern with Loominous, what a genius combo, just perfect!!!

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  7. We had a Prime Minister here who quoted "Life wasn't meant to be easy" . I prefer the full quote from George Bernard Shaw - "life is not meant to be easy my child - but take courage - it can be delightful". In these trying times a little delightful goes a long way and your quilt is just that😍

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  8. Your words are so powerful Rachel. You are really brave and open with your experiences and your pain. Thank you.
    This quilt is stunning. And it doesn't look too easy to me. ;-)

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  9. I hardly ever comment on blogs, but I have to say thank you so much for this post. Your words are so true and so needed. I am an adult survivor of extensive, chronic childhood abuse. I have worked hard for many years to deal with the cards I was dealt, hoping to get to a place that most people take for granted. I live in isolation, wishing I could be like others who can move through the world and their life with at least some ease. It is truly never easy. Thank you so much for being brave enough to see and speak the truth. My heart is deeply grateful.

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    1. Bless you, Sweetums.
      You are now forever in my prayers.

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    2. I am deeply grateful to have found my way (somehow, I'm still amazed to be here!) to the chance express these things in quilts and to share them with friends who understand/care/appreciate. Thank you for letting us become part of your story. It's entirely an honor.

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  10. I forgot to add that your quilt is beautiful. The design is perfect, and I love how the fabrics show that there can be beauty and softness even amidst constant struggle. This might be my favorite quilt of yours - the meaning, the fabrics, the colors and design come together so well.

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  11. I love the fabrics. Great choices for this super cool design.
    Life is prickly.
    Sometimes it tickles, sometimes it hurts.
    we have to keep going ahead and be strong, like concrete :-D !!
    Life is good if we keep our focus on God.

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  12. When I see HRT's from now on, I'll remember it's never easy! Thanks for sharing and beautiful quilt!

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  13. I love your quilt, Rachel, and I love what it represents. Life is hard for lots of people, and lots of people suffer and struggle feeling isolated and alone. It is helpful and encouraging when someone like you can be transparent enough to say,"You are not the only one!" Thanks.

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  14. What an absolutely gorgeous quilt. Wish I had the $$. I would buy it in a heartbeat!! <3

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  15. Thank you for your honest and brave posts. I don't comment here often enough, but please know how much your readers appreciate and admire you and your work. I just read something about how when we are honest about our problems, we allow ourselves and others to practice humanity and compassion. Your post today reminded me of that.

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    1. Thank you! What a lovely thing to be connected with.

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  16. Love love love the quilt and the back of it too. It's gorgeous malorgeous xxx

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  17. It is an amazing quilt and your words are always going straight to my heart.

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  18. What an amazing post. Thank you for sharing it. Would you consider sharing the pattern or selling it?

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    1. Thanks, Michelle. I decided not to make it into a pattern. If you look into how to sew half rectangle triangles, you could definitely copy this look, which I invite you to do! The length of the rectangles is 7", 10.5" and 14". Hope that helps!

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  19. Love your quilt and the statemnet behind it!

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  20. It turned out wonderful! I love it and I think the back may be my favorite :)
    Thank you Rachel for always being open and truthful. So often we do not want to be openly honest, not with others and not even with ourselves.

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  21. This is a stunning quilt Rachel. And thanks again for your honesty and your bravery in being authentically you in this world. Your light shines bright!

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  22. Thank you for being real. While my struggles have never been what yours or many people's are, they are real and putting a smile on isn't always easy. I do feel selfish saying That though. Beautiful quilt and thank you for sharing!

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    1. I hope you don't feel selfish saying that. When Eleni was young, my closest friend was struggling with sleep training a perfectly healthy infant. We had to navigate talking about our individual challenges, hers being sleep deprivation, mine being so much more serious/permanent. What we landed at was the idea that when each of us is stretched to what feels like our max, then it feels like our max. Period. I certainly don't want to see more people stretched to where I was stretched! That's definitely not the goal =) Even though it's different for each of us, we can still walk with each other, comfort and be real.

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  23. Thanks again for your beautiful quilt and your honest reflections.

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