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Looking For Peace With Every Stitch

This Quilting Life

My quilting life has almost come to a standstill over the last couple of months. There’s no floor space to work on my piecing and my sewing machine is buried under mountains of stuff to be sorted. But over the last few weeks I’ve managed to carve out a little space for hand quilting, something to calm me between all the packing and panicking. I sit at a small white bureau, laptop in front of me playing a film or some random tv program, thread and scissors to the side. I try and stitch away my worries and low mood.

Moving home and quilting : cardboard boxes piled high against the wall, bookcases and desks stacked out of use and a small bureau used as a place to quilt. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusStudio.com

I’m getting a bit sick of this view now! But I’ve almost finished painting all the furniture you see white (with the exception of the grandad chair which is staying as it is!)

on-the-edge-detail-sept-16

I haven’t got a lot done, but I’ve promised myself to try and quilt at least one square a day on this quilt On The Edge (inspired by Sherri Lynn Wood’s score Floating Squares), even if it’s just a 1.5″ square. It’s quite a small quilt, intended as a wall hanging, so even a tiny amount of hand quilting makes a visible difference. The squares I’m quilting don’t follow the squares and rectangles of the patchwork, but are overlaid on top. They criss-cross each other, linking one square to the next, creating another layer of floating squares. I reckon I’ve quilted just over half the area of the top so far.

You get a better idea of how the quilting design works by looking at the back:

The back of a hand quilted quilt, showing the stitch design of overplayed squares on a plain blue background. © Stephanie Boon, 2016. www.DawnChorusStudio.com

Floating squares on the back – and some wobbly lines.

My stitches are all over the place. A consistent size one day, a different size the next. I’m forgiving myself: I’m mentally and physically exhausted. This has become therapy. I think all us hand quilters find the process therapeutic, but I’m switching off and not striving for anything other than peace. It works, even for a few minutes a day.

Handmade quilt hanging over the back of a chair at a writing bureau. © Stephanie Boon, 2016 www.DawnChorusSTudio.com

A calm space to quilt amongst the chaos

I’m on tenterhooks waiting for news of a possible place to call home. References have to be got, money has to be found for fees, deposit and rent. And we’re meant to be out of this house by Sunday 9th October. That’s this weekend. It’s not going to happen and all the uncertainty is unbearable. I’m grateful that every small stitch I make is a move forward, helping to build a new picture. It’s a picture I look forward to hanging on a wall. Pride of place. A reminder that quilting can carry us through even the roughest of times.

I’d love to hear how quilting has helped you through a difficult time, share your story in the comments below.

I’m linking up with Lorna for Let’s Bee Social today – and look forward to being social!

Keep on stitching

 

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

Addendum!

I’m really pleased to say we’ve finally secured a new home…at the 11th hour! We found out yesterday, the 5th, and are meant to be out of our current home on the 9th – a close call indeed. I’m not sure exactly when we’ll be moving (we can’t pick up the keys to the new home until the 10th), but I’d really like to thank everyone for all the best wishes you’ve sent and for reading about my concerns, doubts and anxieties over the last couple of months. Friends indeed – and it could just be all your finger crossing that helped! Thank you once again, I really don’t think I could have got through this period without the support of you all. Love Stephie x

12 replies
  1. Sarah
    Sarah says:

    I think of you often, Stephanie, and am praying for a swift and good solution to the housing situation. I started quilting 4 years ago also after a major move and a time of crisis in our family. We had moved back to the USA from Russia where we’d lived 10 years due to my severe health problems. The move was sudden and unexpected; I came with nothing but a carry-on, and my husband and children followed several weeks later. We left our lives behind — our friends packed everything and put it into storage. I began quilting with some scraps I found in the basement of where we were living at the time. I quilted a wallhanging using blocks to tell the story of our life transitioning. During that time of my life, making something beautiful with fabric was one of the few things that made me feel “normal” like myself. I felt like I was making hope and beauty for our family. It was something good and positive to focus on. I still hand quilt in the evenings, and can feel the tenseness leaving my body as I begin.

    Thank you for your openness in sharing your life story with us — I appreciate you!

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Wow Sarah, what an incredible story. I can’t imagine having to deal with crossing thousands of miles at short notice, it must have been a very difficult time. Beginning again with nothing, not even family, shows what amazing strength you must have. Sometimes I think we find strength when we least expect it, when we think we’ll never cope with anything so extreme. But somehow we do, even, if you’re like me, you don’t recognise it at the time. For me everything seems to come at once, facing homelessness in the face, helping my son settle back into college after a difficult false start. Last year he was in hospital, the year before I’d had to deal with a tribunal that took 9 months to win (meantime living on very little). After my son was ill, I thought things would settle and nothing could be so stressful again! I think the universe owes us a break now and I’m really hoping this new home might just be it!

      Thank you so much for sharing your story and how quilting helped you through. It amazes me how much we have in common across so many miles. x

      Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Thank you so much Dina, we’ve finally had some good news and I hope that once we move I can finally get some much needed sleep! Thank you for being here x

      Reply
  2. Maureen
    Maureen says:

    Love how you’re quilting this Stephie, and even though you’re surrounded by packed boxes your little spot with the white writing desk
    looks inviting and peaceful. Hope next time you post you will have good news.

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      It’s great to share some good news at last Maureen, we should be moving on the 14th/15th…phew! Hopefully in a few more weeks that little writing desk will be somewhere permanent! xx

      Reply
  3. Kate
    Kate says:

    Glad you were able to find a new place to call home, that is nerve wracking. Hope your stitches are just a bit lighter this week even as you work through all the little details of getting from one place to the other.

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Thank you Kate 🙂 You forget that finding somewhere to move to isn’t the end of the process! I can’t say I feel too relieved just yet, as you say, it’s all the little details to deal with next – and I’m so tired I’m sure I’m going to make a mess of it and forget what I need to do! Another month or so and I might sleep more soundly at night! Despite all this, I think my stitches are feeling a bit lighter!

      Reply
  4. JanineMarie
    JanineMarie says:

    I’m so glad to read in your addendum that your housing issues are being resolved. Your little quilt is so pretty, and a sanity saver, I’m sure. Quilting has always been my therapy. Right now I’m laid up with a broken shoulder, and in the last few weeks I could feel myself sliding into a low place as I couldn’t do my two favorite activities, bicycling and quilting. But I am slowly learning to find ways to sew and quilt if only for short periods a day. It’s done wonders for my outlook and keeps me motivated to do whatever it takes to heal. I hope your move goes well and that you find that place of peace.

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Oh that sounds really, really painful. It’s so difficult when a physical issue stops us doing what we love, especially when it’s something that’s integral to our being. I know how you feel, I love running but I’ve had an achilles injury for a couple of years that has curtailed it. I got through eventually by realising that lamenting what I couldn’t do wasn’t helping and that I needed to find another way to get that ‘high’: I got out my bike! It sounds like you’re in a much better place now, working out what you can do and not focussing on what you can’t. And it won’t be forever! I’m so glad to hear that your change in outlook is helping, and as I always say, even a few stitches make a big difference. Take care of that shoulder and look forward to healing fully!

      Reply

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