This is a detail from my new quilt New Normal. I think it’s my favorite part of the quilt.
Well, I was in a bit of a brighter mood when I came into the studio this morning than I was when I left it last night.
First thing I did when started working was reduced that big dark area on the right of my quilt to a small strip. Then I added a hunk of that wonderful colorful patchwork plaid. I sewed the two pieces of scrap patches together (I made it with the few pieces of left overs from the other two patches and added some of the small scraps that I made while making the rest of the quilt.) then put a touch of pink (Minnie and Mickey Mouse kissing) on the bottom to balance the pinks.
It looked just right to me on the floor, but when I hung it on the wall, it didn’t seem to work as well. So…. I flipped it upside down…
…and I liked that better, but then thought, why not try it on its side.
And…Oh, that was enough for me. There was no question in my mind that this was the way New Normal is supposed to go. ( I did try it the fourth and last way, and it wasn’t even worth taking a picture of) No wonder I was having so much trouble figuring out that last piece, I was working on the quilt on its side!
So that’s it, New Normal is done, except for the batting, backing and tacking which really hardly makes it done, but the design part is done. I’ll finish the rest of it during the week (if I don’t get distracted by something else that is).
Not sure about the last piece on the right yet. Those patches of color aren’t permanent yet. I’ll be moving them around to see where they work best. And it looks much darker in this photo than it actually it. It’s a navy with white plaid lines, but I may change that too when I look at it tomorrow.
I’m calling this quilt “New Normal” which comes from something Harriet wrote to me in an email. She wrote: “And then, when the emergency is over, we find ourselves needing to re-enter normalcy. However, it’s a new normal–things will never be quite the same again. And that brings a whole new set of opportunities/challenges.”
Ya know that feeling, when you’re in a car and have to go to the bathroom. And you’re waiting to get home or to the next rest stop. And you’re ok until you get out of the car, somehow knowing the bathroom is so close makes it almost unbearable and suddenly you know you can’t wait a moment longer.
That’s how I felt walking into the Hubbard Hall Studio Building for a two hour Sunday morning Yoga class. Then I heard myself saying “Oh that’s ok” when Gina kindly told me the yoga class was technically filled up but maybe they could let me in. (That’s ok I didn’t really need to go to the bathroom that bad). But as I walked away feeling like I was going to cry, I knew it wasn’t ok. I really needed to go to that yoga class. I have been saying “yes” so much lately when people have ask if they can help, why would I all of a sudden be saying no. I felt like running back to the class, pounding on the door, falling onto my knees and begging to be let into the class. ( I have to go really bad).
But I didn’t, I stoically walked back to my car remembering all the other things I felt guilty for doing since Jon went into the hospital, had surgery and has been home recovering. Like buying a bottle of wine so I could have a glass with dinner and getting a massage (neither of which I usually feel guilty about) or the night I had dinner at the sports bar in my hotel after leaving Jon in the ICU for the night. (that was a big one, I had been reading John Cheever Stories to Jon all day where people were hiding empty liquor bottles in toilet tanks and spouses were cheating on each other without batting an eye. I felt like I was an alcoholic cheating on Jon because all I wanted to do was have something hot to eat, a glass of wine and a book to read, while he was laying in the ICU still hooked up to machines and eating hospital food.) I just didn’t want to be anymore of a bother, hadn’t I already asked enough of people, it has to stop sometime, all the kind acts, all the taking.
So I drove home then met Jon on the way back from his morning walk. And for the next two hours (the time I would have spent in the yoga class) I walked, did yoga in my studio and meditated with Jon in the house. And it was good, I took a little bit of my “no” back. But it made me wonder why, when I’ve been saying yes to so many people, letting them help me in so many ways, I decided to say no to Gina. It would have been easy enough for Gina to ask the yoga instructor if there was room for one more, it was even her idea. Partially I did feel guilty going to the class, but I think the “no” came from not wanting anyone to know how vulnerable and needy I was feeling, including myself.
Because I’m just realizing how scary this whole thing has been. From the time we found out Jon needed Bypass surgery, until now, I put up a shield around me. Not letting myself feel too intensely. Protecting me so I could be strong when I needed to be. Putting my feeling aside until it was safe enough to feel them again. And now that Jon is healing and needs me less and less it’s becoming safe. I’m getting my life back, but with it comes all the unacknowledged emotions of the past four weeks. Because we’ve been too busy just surviving up to this point. So I’m easing back into my life. And I think that’s why this yoga class felt so important to me. I saw it as a threshold to the coming week. A big step in the transition back to my life. And by saying “no” to Gina I was saying I wasn’t ready to drop the shield and feel all those emotions I had pushed aside.
But the day turned out to be a threshold in its own way. Not the quick passage of an intense two hours of yoga, but a slower more realized understanding of what I’m going through. Because when I said no to the yoga class this morning Jon and I decided to make the whole day a considered and spiritual one. And in walking and meditating and talking and writing I now understand the transition back to my life isn’t just about work and whose cooking dinner, it’s about allowing myself to feel again. I see now that I made my own yoga class. One that lasted the whole day and did just what I needed it to do for me.
I’ve been getting back into the studio for good chunks out of the day. With Jon’s daughter Emma here for the weekend, today I was able to spend even more time working. Although Jon is doing better every day and I can see things slowly getting more and more normal.
I added another piece onto my new quilt today. I’m using the technique of adding on as I go, not planning the whole quilt out. I learned how to do this in Gee’s Bend. I think this is going to be the “center’ of the quilt and I’ll add large pieces onto it from here, to frame it in a way. That’s my plan anyway, but we’ll see what happens.
Well, that’s enough for now, I’m tired and it’s the weekend. Enjoy.
(There’s still some art for sale in my First Bedlam Farm Open House Online Gallery. Click here to check it out.)
Welcome to the First Bedlam Farm Open House Gallery. As you scroll through you’ll see what’s still available from the Open House in June. Everything is for sale so if you’re interested in anything you see just email me here or at firstname.lastname@example.org. I take checks or can email you a paypal invoice. Enjoy looking around and thanks for coming.
I have a bunch of Freedom Potholders for sale. They are inspired by my recent trip to Gees Bend Alabama and the time I spent with quilter MaryAnn Pettway. At Gee’s Bend I learned a new way of making quilts and potholders and you can see it here in my Freedom Potholders.
My Freedom Potholders are $15 each + $5 shipping for 1-2 or $10 shipping for 3 or more.
I have two Vintage Hankie Scarves for sale. They are $45 + $7 shipping each. One is in the original style and the other is the Waterfall style.
I have four of Jon’s signed photos for sale. They are all 11×14 images with an archival mat to fit into a 16×20″ frame. The photo’s were printed specially by photographer George Forss on digital paper. They are $150 each + $10 shipping.
I have four Vintage Hankie Potholders for sale. They are made from torn and worn Vintage Hankies and are $20 + $5 shipping each.
And two potholders made from an old pillow sham given to me by a friend. They are $15 each + $5 shipping for one or both.
I also have my wall hanging “Blinded by Belief” for sale. This piece is about how we hold onto our beliefs even if they no longer serve us. How we can often not see the truth in front of us because of what we’ve been taught by our families, our peers and society or just by what we have come to believe ourselves and can’t seem to let go even if they are damaging or no longer relevant to us or others. Blinded By Belief $150 + $10 shipping.
Well, that’s the end of the Gallery tour. Don’t forget, if you see something you like you can email me at email@example.com. Thanks for coming and hope you’ve enjoyed your visit.
The Open House seems like such a long time ago. But yesterday I finally got my studio mostly back in order, enough so I can get back to work anyway. But I never got to have my online sale of what’s still available from the Open House. So later today, I’ll have my first Bedlam Farm Open House Online Gallery. There are potholders, scarves, a few of Jon’s Photos (which I’ll be selling matted and unframed for easy shipping) and the other things I’m forgetting.
So if you didn’t get to come to the Open House and might want something from it, come back later today and tour my gallery.
Well, I’m not going to tell you who the winner is of this lovely lion is, you’ll have to click here and go to Karen’s website Sewing by the Seat of my Pants to find out. And if you didn’t win but see something you like on Karen’s ETSY shop, if you use the code Thank You, you’ll get 10% off anything you purchase. (it’s not just lions either).
Next Month it’s my turn to give something away in the Common Thread Give-a-way (hopefully we’ll have no more delays like we did this month) Then the schedule goes like this: (Although I wouldn’t be surprised if we had another guest artist or two inbetween)
Remember when Sinead O’Connor shaved her head and it was controversial? Or when Mia Farrow cut her hair (really short for the time) during the filming of Rosemary’s Baby and they used it in the film which, to me, made the movie even more disturbing. There are many religions where women aren’t allowed to cut their hair or show their hair. My own mother feels that a certain point in a woman’s life (I’m not sure exactly when it is) she should no longer have long hair.
There’s something powerful about women’s hair. So many issues of control seem to surround it. Covering it up, cutting it, putting it up, letting it down.
Today when I was meditating I saw a woman cutting her own hair, holding up the shears in frustration and as solution. There was an element of magic to it,transformation in the sacrifice. And an element of control in her decision to do as she pleased with her own body.
This didn’t come out exactly the way I wanted it to. Her expression is a bit more bleak than I planned, and I’m thinking it might work better without the reflection in the mirror, just a blank mirror. I may try it again tomorrow and see what happens.