|Based on the pattern "Crazy Hearts" from the book by Karla Alexander|
Stack the Deck! Crazy Quilts in 4 Easy Steps
I followed these steps to make it:
|Each applique is different!|
- Cut an assortment of fabrics into 8" squares (mine are all from the green color family).
- Stack nine squares together and re-cut squares into 4 pieces (they become like puzzle pieces with only straight edges).
- Shuffle the 4 pieces of each stack of nine squares so that they are "scrappy" (each square is now made up of four different fabrics).
- Reassemble (sew) each square back together (mine has 144 at 12 blocks by 12 blocks!). Trim to 6" squares. Arrange into rows.
- Cut out 144 scrappy hearts for needle-turn applique (no raw edges for mine).
- Applique each heart applique onto each block with decorative stitch of choice (I did some by hand, and some by machine).
- Add sashing (mine is purple fabric).
|Even my "running hens" like it!|
Now I will create the "quilt sandwich" by basting it to a backing fabric with the batting (wadding) in between to prepare for machine quilting, probably by long-arm machine on which I can rent time. Then I will label it and lay it on our bed.
I like the scrappy-ness of it, which seems folk-art-y to me. I enjoyed the search for the assortment of fabrics for the hearts--blue, red, pink, purple. Its design and assembly presented a satisfying challenge. This quilt is not "perfect."
Healing with Quilting
Some of you may have heard a recent story about some research concerning the brain and quilting. Your can listen or read it here, by clicking on this link:
My quilt is a symbol and culmination of healing for me and our entire family. I have a story to tell and I want to warn you: it's not pretty. Please don't feel like you have to read it, though it may save someone else's life or relationships.
Our family has been through much pain and confusion over many years. We finally discovered that I had a non-cancerous brain tumor in 2006, and I had surgery to remove it two weeks later. The devastation that took place prior to the discovery is a nightmare that we sometimes shudder to recall. We were truly "on the brink," on the precipice of destroyed relationships, especially me.
|Making progress step by step|
This tumor had taken up residence over 20 years ago in my body and our lives, and slowly grew and smashed the tissues of my brain against the hard confines of the skull. While doing so, it was altering my personality in subtle ways. The changes were easily ascribed to other possibilities: age, pre-menopause, depression, etc. As the tumor got larger (to become the size of a fist in 2006!), my personality changes and behavior became more extreme and odd. I know that "zombie" movies are popular now, but can you imagine actually being one or living with one?? I didn't suck anyone's blood, if that's what they do (I don't watch these movies!), but I was quite capable of doing things that would seem abhorrent or immoral, and we are glad that it didn't get that far. What I really became was a 'nothing'. I don't know how else to describe who I was, how I felt, what it was like to be 'me'. I alienated everyone around me and I didn't care, nor was I capable of caring or expressing my own frustrations. It was equally terrible for my family members. It was a horrible time.
As I mentioned before, I finally had surgery, but keep in mind that no one, not even the neurosurgeon, could predict the result. While I blithely went into a serious 6-hour surgery (I'm not kidding), my family waited with fear.
|complexity and creativity!|
Recovery from this surgery is an eight-year story all its own. While our lives had become a "hell" of sorts prior to surgery, it became it's own type of "heaven and hell" afterwards. Rather than go into all the details, I want to tell you about the part that quilting, and knitting, played for my healing brain and relationships.
After surgery, I had a new surge of energy; it was like I'd been asleep for 20 years! I felt like I was in a hurry to make up for the time lost, literally (can you imagine??). This extreme impulse, or surge, was tempered by fatigued. When a brain is healing, it is exerting a lot of unseen energy making new neural pathways (connections). This is exhausting! It requires rest, regardless of all my dreams and plans. I could barely get through a day emotionally--doctors explained that I had no control over this healing brain, and it would swing from one emotional extreme to the other, adding to the exhaustion.
In spite of my warring desires, I had to take things slow. Interests that I'd had prior to becoming really ill, such as sewing, quilting, knitting, etc., became options again. I discovered projects I had started, some over 20 years before, that I'd never completed (lack of motivation due to brain tumor in the frontal lobe). I wanted to do them again, but I had to do so slowly. For example, something like shopping, so necessary for such creative pursuits, was a particularly overwhelming and fatiguing activity as being out in public (not to mention driving) was an assault to my vision, hearing, and decision-making, and more. I even suffered from flashbacks and what I'm sure is PTSD, which is so unpredictable.
Sometimes my only low-key activity option became watching television. I chose to watch the programming for arts and crafts which had become prevalent on the public broadcasting station (while I was "sleeping" my life away, literally), including quilting and knitting. I found Alex Anderson, Kaye Wood, Georgia Bonesteel, Fons and Porter, and Eleanor Burns. I devoured the content and my creative "juices" began flowing again!
That's how I got back into quilting. I had many things to learn because the techniques had changed during my "absence." I didn't even have a rotary cutter or a cutting mat! I decided to begin with fabrics I already had in my possession, and later discovered there is a distinction between quality quilt fabrics and other fabrics! I didn't know what a quarter-inch foot was--I had so much to learn!
What's particularly fascinating to me is the intrigue I found in patterns and complexity of quilting. It requires math. It involves colors, angles, problem-solving, creating, configuring and re-configuring, matching, ripping, construction--it is quite complex! and this fed my hungering brain.
I sincerely believe that quilting, and knitting, have been significant contributors to my healing, not to mention inspiration and outlets for expression. I think it's helped my internal circuitry to reconnect as well as build new pathways.
It's been eight long years of healing. I have restored relationships with my husband and my children, my sister and her family, and other family members as well, including a few friends. There's so much more to the story, but I'll stop here. Thanks to the skill of a neurosurgeon, I am finally beginning to feel the "normal" I haven't felt in a very long time.