At one time I used to make quilts. I haven't made one for a while, although I have to confess that I do have a quilt top lurking in my spare room, neatly folded on top of a roll of batting. One day I will get around to uniting the two to make another (hopefully) much loved quilt.
I have always liked Amish quilts and admire their complex patterns which seem so simple on first glance. Their use of clear colours and the balance between light and shade fascinates me. One of the things that has stuck with me is the idea of 'sunshine and shadows'. The Amish believe that you can only experience great joy in life if you have known great sorrow - life is made up of sunshine (joy) and shadows (sorrow). This has great resonance with me at the moment as I am definitely going through a 'shadow' phase in my life.
I have made eight quilts in total and have given half of them away. One full-sized bed quilt to my Mother, one baby quilt to a friend and two memory quilts, also to friends. I have four that I use everyday. The first quilt that I ever made, a log cabin quilt, is used as a Summer bed covering when the duvet is too heavy and warm. Another Mariner's Compass quilt is draped over the back of the sofa in our living room. I can see it out of the corner of my eye as I write this. The other two, a nine patch and an Ohio Star, are folded up on a rocking chair in our spare bedroom having done their duty as winter lap quilts and an extra layer on the bed when needed (my OH can testify to the fact that I suffer from chronically cold feet in the Winter!). They might have points that don't quite meet and the odd wobbly quilting stitch but they are very important to me. They remind me how far I have come in my sewing life. I have learnt so much making them. I still vividly remember cutting out the strips for the log cabin quilt without the aid of a rotary cutter. What was I thinking! I went out and bought one pretty quickly after that I can tell you.
I had a similar experience recently when a friend asked me to repair a necklace. It is actually one of mine. She bought it from me several years ago and she wears it a lot. Unfortunately one of the fire polished beads on the edging has become detached. It was really interesting for me to see it again after so long. I made it as part of my City & Guilds Level 2. I was looking at it earlier today and I started thinking about how I would have done things differently if I was making it now. For one thing I would use a different thread, probably Fireline, to avoid accidents such as the one that I am having to repair at the moment. But despite its flaws she loves it and that is the most important thing.
Sadly one of my friends lost her battle with cancer last week. Although we knew that her condition was terminal the speed at which she faded away was a shock. She was one of the first friends that I made when I moved to Bournemouth nearly eight years ago. I still find it hard to believe that I will never see her again. In the last conversation that I had whith her she said 'We have had so many laughs together haven't we? Remember that when I am gone, don't be sad'. I am going to try to do just that, although it won't be easy. She will be remembered with much affection by all who knew her.