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The Lost Quilter

Craving Simplicity

There’s no denying life’s been hard of late. I just want to rest. Rest everything, from my mind to what I see, to what I do and what I feel. I want everything to be white.

Quilty365 - circle patchwork, circle 81 © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Quilty 365, March 2016

It’s funny, a few months ago I was engaged in psychotherapy and I recalled a dream I’d had. I don’t usually remember them at all. But this one comes back to me now. I described going into a shed, a brick outhouse like the one attached to this house. I opened the door and was so angry because someone had filled it from floor to ceiling with stuff. I couldn’t get in and I couldn’t find anything. There was no order just a kind of chaos of broken furniture pieces haphazardly piled on top of each other. But everything was white. I took it all out so that the space was empty and the walls and floor were clear and white again. Light. I put a few things back, my things, slowly and deliberately. It was a small space. Very small, but with a window. I may have locked the door and stayed on the inside.

White Space

I couldn’t make head nor tail of the dream at the time. The therapist asked me what white spaces came to mind. Hospitals. Empty galleries. Prison cells. Institutions. Curious, he thought. He perhaps expected me to describe a calm, minimalist space. Peaceful. Now though, I wonder if the spaces I described are somewhere to retreat to. Empty. No distractions. Not places to think and contemplate in, but places to let go of everything. To be empty. To be cared for. To start again.

I’m starting again. Precariously. Moving home to somewhere I’ve not yet seen, somewhere considerably smaller with no garden: I’ve always had a garden. Two up, two down. Each of the last 4 homes I’ve had have been progressively smaller and this next one feels like a shoebox. I feel squeezed. Squeezed out. Where will my sewing machine go?

Fitting A Quart Into A Pint Pot

The homes have become smaller, but the amount of stuff has stayed the same. I’m deeply worried none of it will fit in. It’s furniture I’m sentimentally attached to. A bookcase Kim’s dad made for my birthday one year. A full height armoire we designed and made for a home we had. A writing bureau, a dresser, dining tables, more bookcases and bedside cabinets…another chair he gave me. All things we designed and made together when we ran a handmade furniture company, and lived in a reasonably large Georgian home. 14 years of our lives. If I got rid of it I couldn’t possibly afford anything else of the same quality.

So I get rid of the inconsequential. The wine glasses I never use, the umpteen mugs I seem to have accumulated, old picture frames, pieces of fabric. Things that don’t take up the space. And now I’m painting everything white. White furniture to meld into white walls.

It seems ridiculous to have such attachments. But being attached to something you’ve invested time and love in is something I’m sure any quilter will understand. They’re not things, they’re tangible stories. The story of my life. A life I feel I’m losing any grip on at all. A life eroded.

Plain Sewing patchwork quilt in progress. A circle a day wuith the Quilty365 sew-along. © Stephanie Bon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Plain Sewing in progress (currently 16″ x 22.5″ / 40cm x 57cm)

Plain Sewing‘, keeps rising in my thoughts. I want to work on it, but it’s packed away in a cardboard box somewhere. It feels lost.

I feel lost.

Signature: Stephie © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnchorusStudio.com

Linking up with Lorna for Let’s Bee Social at Sew Fresh Quilts.

25 replies
  1. Roz Elliott
    Roz Elliott says:

    Oh Steph…. At the end of the day they are just “things” even if you let them go you will always remember them – maybe take photos and make a scrap book – a story of your life in pictures and words.
    I really hope things get better for you soon and you find some joy and peace in your life –
    Focus on the good and positive things that you are blessed with
    sending hugs across the miles…. Roz X

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Ah, thank you Roz 🙂 Things will be as they will be, I think it’s the uncertainty that’s unsettling me at the moment (I still haven’t seen inside the house). I keep reminding myself how lucky I am to be in such a glorious part of the world (even if this bit of it isn’t so great!). Being poor and uncertain in a soulless city would be a million times worse xx

      Reply
  2. Bossymamma
    Bossymamma says:

    I’m sending hugs but I do so wish I could send you the wherewithal to feel at peace. Please take care of yourself. I hope that life calms down very soon and wish you strength to get through.

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Thanks Dina, I really appreciate your thoughts. As ever, everything seems to happen at once (there’ve been some major teenage worries here too!) and sometimes it’s easy to feel like you’re buried under a lead weight x

      Reply
  3. Karen Goad
    Karen Goad says:

    so sorry you need to move again and into a smaller space then what you have had. Downsizing can be very hard to do – you don’t want to cram too much into a place so that you are tripping over things – but yet understand that maybe you are thinking you can find a larger space in the future? if not it might be time to let some of it go and start new. Hope things get better for you

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Thank you karen. I wonder if writing this piece is part of the process of letting go. It’s funny, I have no worries about letting go of art work or quilts but this feels so different, so sad.

      Reply
  4. Pat in WNY
    Pat in WNY says:

    My heart hurts for you, so many of us have had the need to downsize, to make things fit into a new smaller space. I hope you can actually see and measure your new space before the move, so that you can make the best decisions for yourself and Kim. Perhaps there is a close relative or friend who would be willing to take a precious piece for awhile until Kim is of an age and has a place of his own and you can give it to him? Often, there is joy in the giving, especially to a dear friend who has always admired a certain piece but could not have afforded to buy something hand made and truly special. I wish you peace during this difficult time.

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      That’s such a wonderful way forward Pat, and I would love to be able to do that but my family all live 300+ miles away! The only person I could give to here is Kim’s dad…and needless to say he has a houseful of ‘our’ furniture already!! I will think about friends though, maybe there’s someone I haven’t thought of. Thank you for sharing such positive and kind thoughts, I’m so touched x

      Reply
  5. Sandra
    Sandra says:

    It’s funny how we all become so close thru’ this blogging thing that we do. You have so many friends that you will probably never meet, but are sending you warm thoughts and strength. I like to think that when we have times of struggle we will end up somewhere that will all make sense in the end. It will be interesting for you to look back at any stitching you do now and see how your life has translated into fabric…..but I think you already can see it, can’t you? xo

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      You’re very perceptive Sandra! And I’m so incredibly lucky to be able to share my thoughts with wonderful online friends like you and not feel like I’m talking ‘out of turn’. You’ve made me remember that I’ve often said in the past that I believe my best work (I was talking about ‘conventional’ art work at the time) comes out of a crisis. The crisis could be a depression, relationship break-up, etc… and I’m definitely feeling the need to create at the moment. It’ll be the first thing I do once the practicalities are sorted. Ideas are surfacing – and this time, it’s in textile. That’s exiting isn’t it? A way forward 🙂 x

      Reply
  6. Jacqueline Skarritt
    Jacqueline Skarritt says:

    My heart aches for you Stephie. Change is so difficult and having to eliminate possessions that are such an intregal part of your story is heartbreaking. Letting go emotionally is one of the hardest things I face often whether it be situations so or tangible objects….. I only know you through your writing and quilting but sense you are a kind, creative and caring person who will push through this time in your life. Sending so many hugs…. XXOO

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Thank you so much for your thoughts and wishes Jacqueline (do you prefer this, or Jaquie?). I love the things we share on IG, the inspiration we give each other, but it’s incredibly humbling when it spills over to ‘real life events’. The world is so much smaller than it feels at times. I hope things will come right in the end, I’m sure they will. Having ‘too much’ is a privileged position to be in. XX

      Reply
  7. Colleen
    Colleen says:

    Everyone has said my words and more. So may I say do your best today with what you know and what you have and what you can do …. It is what you can do and feel good for that

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Thank you so much Colleen. One day at a time – and remembering to listen to my son who’s being so much more positive (and wise) about things than I feel I can be at the moment. There will be positive things to come out of this, and you and other friends here help me to see that. It’s easy to feel lost in the details and forget the bigger picture. Thank you x

      Reply
  8. Kaja
    Kaja says:

    Life is so tough for you at the moment, and in the end all you can do is manage as best you can. At least you have somewhere to move to now, even if it’s not what you would choose. Get through the move as best you can – sometimes clearing out the stuff we don’t really need can be freeing, so go with that and I’ll cross my fingers that all your special pieces will somehow fit. Lots of good advice in the comments above so I’ll just add try to remember that lots of us care about you and are thinking of you as you go through this.

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      There really are some amazing thoughts and good wishes here. It’s so incredibly touching and it really helps when others can show you the bigger picture that you’re missing. It helps when people can see the difficulties too – I have such a vile voice in my head that’s constantly telling me to grow up, get over it, it’s just furniture, who are you to complain, you’ve got this or that and there are millions of people around the world that have absolutely nothing. But it’s not really about things, it’s about autonomy – being forced into things by systems and having no choice. Thank you kaja for reminding me to be more kind to myself xx

      Reply
  9. audrey
    audrey says:

    This just makes me sad for you, but I’ve sort of been there before. No time to be doing the things you want to do and life feeling all topsy turvy and uncertain. Love your circles piece! It’ll be waiting for you when you’re ready.:)

    Reply
  10. Maureen
    Maureen says:

    Stephie, I am sitting here reading your words and feeling unable to put down my words to you to say how sad I am to read about all you are having to cope with presently. I think all the lovely folk who have left the posts above have really said it all. You have amazing strength. In the midst of all the turmoil in your life you are keeping on, you will come out on the other side of all this. Still the sadness will remain for a time. I can appreciate your feelings of attachments to homes and furniture, we had a number of enforced moves after we came to New Zealand, one of them my husband lived in the new city for a few months on his own and knowing the sort of home I should like he bought a place – unseen my myself or the kids. We moved down to our new place in Christchurch and he couldn’t have chosen a lovelier place , I fell in love right away with the house and the garden – everything just my kind of lovely!! I walked down the street in tears, he asked were the tears because I didn’t like it, but no, I felt this was the home I wanted to stay in for the rest of my life. One year later we had to leave it behind due to job circumstances. I still shed tears about my lost home even after 35 years.So I do know, I think, how you feel. Keep writing down how you are feeling, sharing with us, I am sending love and hugs and praying that you will find some peace in the midst of all.

    Reply
  11. Ann
    Ann says:

    Oh, this is a heartsickening time for you, Stephie. We have moved several times, always leaving things behind. There are many items that are easy to shed but others are much too difficult.
    I hope you have time to see and measure your new space before you must discard. It helps tremendously.
    Wishing you peace in the near future. And best wishes always.

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Thank you so much Ann. Unfortunately the house didn’t work out (it was only one bedroom), so we’re back to square one. It’s deeply worrying, but I just have to keep on looking and hope our current landlord might extend the notice period until we find somewhere. After 8 years I hope he might show some compassion, but who knows. Time to find out I think. x

      Reply
  12. Lynne Nicholson
    Lynne Nicholson says:

    Hugs Steph. I moved to a one bed flat from a three bed house and am still trying to sort through my life “stuff” to minimize the “bulk”. I have been here 3 years and still find I need to pare out more!!

    Reply
  13. Greta
    Greta says:

    I am just catching up on your last several months of posts, and from the thumbnails I want to say your quilts are beautiful. Your writing is beautiful. And I am glad to have you on my blogroll as inspiration.

    Reply

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