"Whatever your hands find to do, verily do it with all your might" Ecclesiastes 9-10

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

MY QUILTING BEE

Today was a very special day, as it was my last quilting bee meeting. I think this deserves a nice post. So, sit by me, have a cupa, and read the story :

Twelve years ago, my mother died in very dramatic circumstances. Despite the fact that we were never too close, I was in shock, mourned what had never been, what would never be now, and fell into depression... A very wise doctor (bless him) advised me to start some handy craft : "there are no pills for happiness, give your mind some rest and try to make something beautiful out of your hands"...
I was doubtful : my parents always told me that I had "two left hands" I can still hear them saying :" you'll never see Nadine without a book in her hands, but don't ask her to cook some bread !".... So I felt very unsecure about using my hands. Besides... use them to what ???

I still don't know what (or who ?) made me read that small advertisement at the local bakery : "Come and visit our patchwork group, every Wednesday afternoon"...
Patchwork ? Quilts ? I had always been interested, and they captured my eyes when I watched "Little House" on TV (I loved Laura Ingals, and was in love with Charles).
So I went to the rendez-vous, that was going to change my life...

Imagine five respectable "old" ladies (I was 44, and the youngest) - all retired and widows , sitting around a large table, covered with a huge amount of fabric scraps, sewing notions (all labelled at their names), sewing boxes, sewing machines, coffee and biscuits...
"I can't sew a button", said I... They "scanned" me from the top of my head to my toes tips, and just said "sit down and have a cupa" They introduced themselves, and asked many questions, among which : "do you understand English ?" - "I do" (at least something positive ! Whew !) ... "adopted !" said the eldest, who seemed to be the Master Commander. And they immediately organized a show and tell for the next Wednesday. They gave me fabric, a pencil, a ruler, an old X-Ray sheet, which I understood was used to make templates (!), and said "lesson one : the square !"....

Three hours later, I proudly went back home with my first handpieced "square in a square" block, my heart ready to explose with joy and contentment !

This started a very strong friendship, even a sisterhood, and we never failed meeting each and every Wednesday afternoon, in joy or sorrow. They taught me, helped me, materned me. They offered me their wisdom of life and their simplicity, I gave them lots of laughters and some help, translating some books and instructions. These clever, loving, sparing ladies (I never saw them with more than one Ufo - they don't know what the word "stash" means) gave me their hearts, as I gave mine to them....We never sat around any quilting frame, but many quilts were made with twelve hands, somehow...

This summer, they told me they were all reaching their 75 - 80's, and felt "tired" with quilting, preferring turning to some cross stitch, or crochet. Some of them wanted to make some travels with their children, others wished some tranquility in a senior retirement home.... I respected their decisions, and we scheduled our last quilting bee for today, with a big cake (and a glass of champagne). I had brought some small presents and "goodies" to thank them, when they began to talk ears to ears, as conspirators, and presented me with this quilt :






And here's what they said to me :

"we quarreled a long time about the pattern, and finally decided that each of us would make
-her own house, so that you don't forget the road to our homes,
-we pieced an owl, for wisdom and sparing spirit (we all know that you're buying waaaay too much fabric !)
- we put evergreens, for youth and strength,- we chose some yellow fabric because you've been our sunshine , and we put a green border for hope
- we embroidered ivy on it, for the attachement we feel towards you,
- and we used a variagated quilting thread because we're all sooo different....


Look at the details .....








What could I say ? ..... Nothing but thank you, and take them in my arms.....




Tonight, I'll cuddle under my new quilt, and I'll be grateful.... VERY grateful , and I'll count my blessings...

35 comments:

  1. It's beautiful to read about a part of your life.
    These ladies will be very important for you but certainly you are important for them too.
    You will give them a lot of joy for sure!
    The quilt is fantastic and I think very warm because there's a lot of your friends' love for you. ciao ciao

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  2. What a wonderful story about your wonderful friends. It brought tears to my eyes.

    The quilt is wonderful, so special and meaningful. Quilters are wonderful people!!

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  3. Oh. My. Goodness! Nadine!! I have chill bumps on my body and tears in my eyes!! What a wonderful, loving, caring, giving group of quilting friends you found! That quilt is the ultimate treasure to reflect their love of you and you of them!

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  4. Oh Nadine - what a wonderful story. There is such beauty in the friendships you made with these women. I'm sure that you have been a light to them as they were a light to you when you needed it so much. With a little tear in my eye, I only wish you were close enough to start meeting here each Wednesday . . . thank you so much for sharing this story *s*

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  5. How sad that it is ending, but how wonderful that you have something to remember your friends and the good times you had with them.

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  6. OMG Nadine that is so nice and sad all at once.......they thought so much about the quilt going together.....guess what you have to do now........put a sign up and start a group.....who knows what wonderful friends you will make and help......I would join but distance is the problem.......I would just get there and back in the week........jet lag would be a problem......take care......

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  7. Gosh Nadine, that brought tears to my eyes as well. How wonderful of them to make you such a special quilt to remember your friendship. I'm sure it must have been a very hard day for you to have your last meeting. I just want to give you a big hug!!

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  8. Oh!!! You made me cry! What a wonderful gift and made with so much thought and love! All our quilts are made with love but sometimes we forget to "think" about why we chose a design. "This one will work up quickly." "I have that pattern on hand." So beautiful!!!!

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  9. Nadine, you have been truly blessed with the special friends. I can hear those ladies talking about designing your quilt and I can hear your joy in receiving it. Enjoy the quilt.

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  10. Oh Nadine! I had to wipe my eyes. What a sweet sweet story! Maybe its time to start a new group and pass on what they taught YOU!

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  11. What a very special story - thank YOU for sharing with us all. Enjoy your quilt - you deserve it!

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  12. Your quilt is a precious gift. I'm sure you will miss meeting with your friends, but this quilt will keep them close to you.

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  13. Oh, Nadine what an incredible story and the quilt is beautiful. If you can't be with them you know they are with you in your heart. Enjoy the beautiful gift and let it warm you everyday!

    I've been out all day and just read this and your e-mail.

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  14. this quilt will be a treasure for you

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  15. OMG Nadine, that is so great. What an awesome story to tell. That quilt is wonderful and what a surprise for you I'll bet. It's a treasure you'll keep with you forever. It's great to have wonderful quilty friends isn't it? They are the best!!!

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  16. Thanks for sharing the story of this special quilt and it's makers.

    I can tell you our oldest guild member is soon 90 years old. She was away for some years due to poor health, but now she is back. I don't know if she is sewing much, but she is enjoying the company once a month and share our passion for fabrics and colours.

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  17. What a beautiful story, Nadine, and a beautiful quilt.

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  18. Ohhh Nadine, what a lovely gift you've been given. A beautiful quilt, and lifelong memories of wonderful and nurturing friends. A treasure indeed.
    *hugs*
    Tazzie
    :-)

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  19. Oh how lovely Nadine. You really deserve something so beautiful, & I am so happy for you!
    You are blessed indeed.

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  20. What a beautiful story, such a blessing to have found these ladies when you needed them. The quilt is extraordinary!

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  21. Thanks for sharing such a moving story. I think you can be very glad of the time you could spend with the ladies and from the beautiful quilt they gave you, I would say you gave them your heart as well. Memories to cherish. Take care.

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  22. Oh my gosh you have me crying! What a lovely quilt and beautiful sentiment! What a sad day it must be for you to know this wonderful part of your life is over. But what awesome memories you have!

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  23. Wow, that is just amazing. Thanks so much for sharing that with us. I hope you are able to keep in touch with those ladies other ways.

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  24. What a tender story, Nadine. I can tell that these special ladies have touched your life in so many ways. What a wonderful blessing!

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  25. How lucky you are for getting to know these women and learn from them. The quilt is so special.

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  26. Thank you for sharing this story with all of us. Hope you've had a good summer! Trying to catch up on what everyone's been up to!

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  27. That quilt is so special and the wonderful thoughts that went into making it were beautiful. reading ur story left me all warm and fuzzy, thnx for sharing Nadine, its just gorgeous!!!

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  28. Thank you for sharing this story. What a beautifull present.

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  29. Thank you for sharing the beautiful story of your friendship with these wonderful women. Though your group won't be meeting, the friendship and love you have for each other will last forever. The quilt is gorgeous.

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  30. Oh, Nadine, such a lovely story about your quilting bee. It's sad it is ending, but what wonderful times and quilts you have shared over the years. The quilt they made for you is priceless! I hope you can all stay in touch.

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  31. What a story of live, a story of a wonderfull quilt and a treasure for you! I´ßm sitting here with a "Gänsehaut" - don´t know the word in english - sorry - it´s feeling cold but it´s not cold, your hairs on your arms stands up and it´s a feeling ... hmmmpppfffff.....
    Well, know: Quilters are the best!

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  32. What a great story, and what a wonderful gift they have given you. Not in the quilt, though that is beautiful, but in the sharing of their lives and talents for so many years.

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  33. This is a most touching story! You are lucky to have such great friends. I'm reading Elm Creek stories these days, and I think this story could also be told there. Thank you for sharing it with us!

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  34. Thank you so much Nadine, for sharing this heartwearming story. It is such a delight to find this kind of friendship between women. This quilt is very special and will cuddle you for a long time.

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  35. Nadine, this is just such a lovely post. Sad, but wonderful. What a great group of ladies you had the privilege of being part of. I hope you have other groups to go to to fill the gap.

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Thanks a bunch for your comments, they just make my day !