While the Q24 quilted 2 large customer quilts, I completed the blue and white chicken quilt, adding a lot of random blue and white squares as sashing and borders. It was pleasantly mindless but took a surprisingly long time. I dyed a cotton sheet blue for the backing and selected an all over hexagon quilt pattern that looks like chicken wire. It is now on one of my house sofas next to the Cornish-ware dresser but I have no doubt that it will stay pristine for long if cats and Scottie dogs sit on it. That does not bother me – it can be washed!
I visited Nella on a still, bright Saturday and we took a drive out to Broughty Ferry where she was allowed a short walk. The water was flat calm, it was not that cold and people were actually swimming in the sea. I drove home over the Cairn O’Mount road and stopped to take photos as the weather was so unusually perfect.
I have had a few messages this week from friends asking how Nella is doing. Frustratingly, she is not making much progress. The hospital food she is presented with is grim and some members of staff seem to have been impatient with her. Some jobsworths at the hospital have decided that a Christmas tree is not hygienic so the festive season will be rather drab there. She is hoping to be granted some time at home during the holidays so we all just have to hope that can happen.
Here we are again – another week has gone by! I got a few customer quilts done, mostly small ones and one very large one. Just when it seems I have caught up, a few more come in which keep me occupied.
I have been putting my hen blocks together, sort of inspired by an 1980s checkered plate from Habitat. I could not figure out the maths required to get a certain number of squares to go onto two different sized blocks. Illogically and randomly I came up with squares cut out at 2.25”. After quite some time it dawned on me to trim some hen blocks and extend others so they all all ended up at roughly 12.5” square. Somehow, 7 of the 2.25” squares fitted along the 12.5” block edge. I don’t know about the accuracy of the maths for this, I just made it all fit;) Despite the plan to only use up blue and white fabrics from my stash, I had to buy more blue and white fabrics because I did not have enough. The local fabric shop told me they are having a difficult time getting hold of fabric and they have no black or white in stock. I bought some white-on-white, which I hate, and used the “wrong” side.
I upgraded my phone to get a better camera and faffed around transferring things over. It does take good pictures, particularly in low light but it is still hard to photograph a black dog. Mind you, you would probably be able to see her eyes if she got a haircut!
There is no improvement in Nella’s anorexia as she is still very much struggling to eat many of the foods on her meal plan. At this point I have no idea how much longer she will remain in hospital or even what will happen for Christmas if she is unable to eat anything at home. The biggest problem is that her illness has such a strong hold over her that she does not want to recover from it and so she has no motivation. I think a good start would be to get into the habit of regularly eating less scary foods and then build on that success but I am not a medical “expert” so my ideas are generally dismissed.
I have decided to have a go at making a reversible Wixsten Haori jacket but can’t make up my mind whether to quilt the outer layer and line it or whether to quilt all of the layers and leave it unlined with exposed seams. I am also debating whether to buy thin, cheap fabric from India or whether to spend more in the UK and then be scared to mess it up!
It has taken a long time for me to realise that I can give myself permission to take time out on occasion. I doubt that I will ever give up my obsession with lists or even just jottings but since Nella has been in hospital, I realise that I don’t always have to be productive. Obviously, when she is eventually discharged our days will be rigidly timetabled according to scheduled meals and snacks. In the meantime, before that happens, I should appreciate that I am not obliged to fulfil a certain amount of tasks each day. I was brought up to be busy, which is no bad thing but as an adult, I have seldom allowed myself to read a book during the day or watch TV before 9pm. Recently, I have had my nose in a book for an entire evening or mindlessly watched YouTube.
I must have passed on my Productivity Guilt gene to Nella because she laments not filling her time with meaningful activities and has to be reminded that she is in hospital and is not actually expected to do anything purposeful. It is also interesting to note that she is giving herself permission to eat some of her meals because she is in hospital – she feels that she would not yet allow herself that same freedom at home.
I have not exactly been slacking as I have completed 5 quilts for a customer in Wales and cracked on with a small batch of charity quilts. A friend gave me a small, double-sided Christmas quilt with Scottie fabric to finish for Nella so I quilted and bound it for her to remind her of Nessie. Nella has decided that she might as well declare that the festive season has started so she is watching schmaltzy Christmas films and enjoying her 2020 Christmas PJs.
I have almost pieced 9 blue and white hen blocks so I need to work out how to join them up. What I had not taken into account is that the two blocks are different sizes so anything other than simple sashing will involve maths.
I have had a few ideas rattling around in my head for another quilt that might involve shisha-style circles but I am not ready to start on that yet. I might have a crack at the Purdy Bird pattern first or even a kimono type of jacket. I am conscious that I have done very little freehand quilting for some time so I could definitely do with some practice. I just have to remind myself that this does not all have to happen this week and if I feel like downing tools to read a book then I can give myself permission to do just that;)
I suppose I could say that this has been a week of fits and starts where I feel that I have either been very busy or very indolent but I was actually more productive than I first thought. I have produced two alternative advent calendars which I have to keep secret from my girls and I ordered Fergus a Lego Starwars calendar from Ebay, the only place that does not already appear to have sold out.
I rustled up the hedgehog cushion in time to take to Nella midweek, quilted a customer’s dragonfly quilt to look like ripples on a pond, sewed together 3 chicken blocks, each with 33 pieces, and started on my second box of customer quilts from Wales.
A kantha dressing gown arrived from India that I planned to wear as an indoors coat but I have also worn it out in public because it makes me look “arty-farty”.
I have “rewarded” myself for completing my daily tasks, including my obsessive Duolingo habit, by binge reading the latest Cormorant Strike novel, torn between making it last and by finding out Whoreallydunnit.
Nessie could not care less about the results of the USA presidential election. The dramatic, close count seemed to take forever, from Tuesday right through into Saturday and I wondered how India, the largest democracy in the world managed to gather votes from a possible 900 million voters over six weeks in 2019, count them electronically and have the results ready within two hours. Now that is over, hopefully the dust will soon settle, the world will grind on and quilters will keep on quilting.
I always feel that in order to feel fulfilled I physically have to have made something. I find it difficult to justify to myself time spent researching or reading which I have done a LOT this week. Much of it was about anorexia, of course but I also frivolously browsed specs for the new iPhone 12, considering whether to upgrade my phone for a better camera and a more convenient, smaller size.
I bound and posted some customer quilts, one of which was a twin to my snowflake quilt. It looked great in the autumn sun.
I used the “Winter Wonderland” pattern on a Christmas tree skirt panel for a shop owner and rustled up a couple of Halloween themed face masks.
After spending so much time sitting in front of a screen I decided that I had to sew something, anything! I made a big Elizabeth Hartman hedgehog block using stash scraps but I think may have lost my edited instructions as I had to do some fudging. I will make him into a cushion for Nella’s hospital room.
Since I cannot seem to gear myself up to a new challenge, I decided to work on a couple of unfinished background projects for now. Ages ago I cut out pieces for a blue and white chicken quilt and I started an African fabrics DWR just to practice the technique. In addition to some customer quilts, I will probably make some festive face masks. This should keep me “busy enough” for now.