Tuesday, November 8, 2016
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.
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.
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.
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.