QOtD - 5/10/11 - 'Recovery Quilt'

K8OrlandoMay 10, 2011

Two years ago when I broke my foot, I spent hours on the sofa with an ice pack on my foot. I couldn't get comfortable at my sewing machine so I started my first (and so far ONLY) hand quilted project. It wasn't large but I ended up loving it and still think of it as my broken foot quilt.

Now I'm about to have knee surgery and already have my hand applique project set out where I can reach it, even in the early days of my convalescence.

Have you ever used a period of recovery - emotional or physical - to make a quilt?


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I made my first completely handmade quilt after I lost my job of 12 1/2 years. I had actually started to hand-piece it a few years before and was so busy that I had put it aside. Even though I haven't returned to work, I don't expect to do another one unless the electricity gets cut off for eternity. Except for having cataracts in both eyes (both repaired), I've never had a physical condition that put me in the sewing room for any length of time. When my back goes out, it's too uncomfortable to sit. I hope that your surgery goes well and the recovery is swift. My 80-some year old father-in-law had it done and recovered well, but he did need extensive therapy for it.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2011 at 3:03PM
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Halloween 2009, my DH had heart surgery-I was very, very new to quilting/piecing. I zoned out making a stack-n-whack penguin top (I had begun taking a 3 part/month class-I finished my top after the first class:). The concentration on following the directions in the book, and pinning all those seams for really good intersections, was just what I needed to take my mind off of his heart - that was supposed to be fixed!---Fast forward to this March, and he had a major heart attack - different side of the heart - "unpredicted" (He is recovering nicely)......I keep saying I now need to quilt the penguin top, which I had named the Heart Quilt....but I just can't concentrate enough (or sleep) very well. I know quilting this top has the power to help me, if I would just let it :) I'd say this is MY Recovery Top.
Maybe I will quilt it soon.....I bought the thread~LOL.

Good luck with your surgery-you will have great results if you work hard. Keep in touch!

    Bookmark   May 10, 2011 at 3:36PM
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"...unless the electricity gets cut off for eternity..." LOL!

    Bookmark   May 10, 2011 at 3:56PM
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It's been a tough month. We had a death and then I got very sick. I've had to stay down for several weeks and found that having a hand project I could just sit still and work on saved my sanity. The hand work part on the first project is now done and I'm moving on to the second, to a Hawaiian quilt project so I can still sit and applique. I love doing it and with a recliner and remote control, I can stitch away. My hubby brings me food.

Here's hoping for your full recovery, Kate. I'll get there as well.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2011 at 4:35PM
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Oh My Dear, you've had a rough time and I'm so sorry! And MRG's husband having a heart attack in March! No wonder there haven't been very many posts lately - people are busy just keeping themselves going from day to day.

Wishing rapid recoveries to all who are struggling! We'll get through this together.


    Bookmark   May 10, 2011 at 5:33PM
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That would be my Redwork! It has saved my sanity on long airline flights and at more serious moments of DH stent procedure. Many years ago, I had corporal tunnel surgery and I did actually cut 4 inch plaid blocks for a "thank you" quilt for all my DH did for me during recovery. I called it Norm Abrams...it is his favorite quilt...just for him.
Kate, wishing the very best for you in your upcoming surgery and like someone else said, "A very quick recovery."

    Bookmark   May 10, 2011 at 5:38PM
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Sewing, of some sort, seems to be therapeutic for us when we need healing. My times are emotional and making crumb blocks or blocks I don't have to 'think' about is what helps me through.


    Bookmark   May 10, 2011 at 6:42PM
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I can't say I have ever been in that situation but know that I would need to do something if I should have to be confined for any length of time. I have a number of projects that I could do and would.
I just wanted to say how sorry I am for all who have been having issues with theirs and loved ones health. It sounds like this has been a trying year for many of you.
Good luck Kate with you knee, I know you will find it a relief when it is over. My daughter had arthoscopic surgery on her knee earlier this year and is much better now.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2011 at 8:34PM
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Hand sewing is like weeding or painting to me--a moving meditation that helps me think and heal. Generally no one bothers me when I do any of these things. In the case of weeding or painting, it's probably out of fear that I'll ask for help.

I have a friend who carries a paperback in her purse at all times for waiting rooms and downtime. I bring a hand-sewing project to pass the time.

I can look at all hand-sewn projects and remember the circumstances and why I was able to sit for such a long period of time.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2011 at 6:06AM
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Hmmm, I've been rethinking what I make quilts for. Most of the time I make a quilt for someone who is going through a rough time in the hopes of comforting them. I was talking with another quilter who had made a quilt for her mom to use in chemo treatments. When her mom passed away, she said that the quilt just made her shiver as she associated it with her mom' illness and death. She almost threw it out but someone else in the family took it.

I had a friend that I made a memory quilt for from her father's clothes. She just looked at it for the first time (It's been 5 years) and I think she just packed it away again. I made another quilt for a friend's husband who was going through chemo treatment. She said it was very important to him through his illness, but after he passed she could not bear to look at it.

Have you all had similar experiences?

    Bookmark   May 11, 2011 at 9:31AM
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When my mother first moved in with us, I made a quilt for her. We picked out the pattern and the fabric together, laughed when the cats played with the blocks as I was making them and generally had a blast with it. 6 years later when she moved into a retirement place she used the quilt on her bed there. After she passed I cried every time I looked at the quilt. I offered it to anyone in the family who might take it and my husband's youngest sister immediately said she wanted it. She loved my mother too and so for her it was a treasure.

I made a baby quilt for my niece's first child; when she lost the baby during birth I actually told her to get rid of the blanket with no guilt. At the time she told me she did but a few years later when she had her second child, there was the quilt! She told me she just had not been able to give it away although she always intended to. Now she was glad she hadn't. It became the kid's favorite blankie and when he outgrew it he asked me to make him a bigger one. (of course I did!)

Quilts can comfort us and they can comfort others. I think we have to realize that quilts evoke strong emotions in many people and sometimes those emotions are hard to turn off.


    Bookmark   May 11, 2011 at 10:40AM
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All the posts touch my heart!


    Bookmark   May 11, 2011 at 2:58PM
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Thank you Kate - that helped.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2011 at 3:14PM
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Hi everyone! I've just come across this topic. My very first quilt I started when I was first diagnosed with Myasthenia Gravis - a disease that affects muscle strength & use. I had many visits to GP and specialists and times in hospital over 5 years and needed craft things to do. Sometimes I couldn't do anything, but when I could, I wanted to keep busy and make myself a quilt. (was attending classes) I couldn't carry a sewing machine or stand the noise of sewing machines, so did all my work by hand, nice and slowly, which suited me. My quilt top consists of Japanese Family Crests in applique and Japanese Sashiko quilting and blocks of crazy quilting. I extended the quilt into a bedspread size, going down the sides of the bed, and also made pillow cases to match.

Each visit to the doctor's, the secretaries were interested to see just what I was doing that day, since it was all completed in small blocks then joined tgether. All the work was by hand and took nearly 4 years to complete, since there were times I was so unsteady I couldn't work on it - didn't want to spoil it. The quilt was my motivator to keep going. My husband was building our new house & I wanted to have the quilt finished for the new house.We both achieved our aims and both are proud of our achievements! This quilt is My Triumph over Adversity!


    Bookmark   May 12, 2011 at 4:13AM
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Kristene, thank you for sharing your story and for the beautiful picture of your quilt!

This thread has turned out to be much more emotional and inspirational than I expected. Thank you all!

    Bookmark   May 12, 2011 at 8:56AM
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Kristene, that is just lovely. What a treasure. You did an amazing job in your journey, and all by hand. I'm so impressed.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2011 at 10:39AM
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Kristene, This is very beautiful ~ I admire your upbeat attitude and motivation. Perfect name and I am so proud to be your cyper friend. I hope your recovery is as beautiful as your quilt :). Thanks for sharing this with us.

Karlene, I understand the difficult feelings of touching and feeling a 'quilt of comfort' used by a loved one. After all it was special & brought comfort to that individual, so naturally it would be emotional for others. I suggest you continue to make these quilts.

Another tidbit to add that goes along with the direction of Karlene's post, it is UPBEAT - I promise :) - my Dh had his Heart attack on my Birthday. I had waited to open my B'day blocks on my B'day (unbelievable - I had cheated and opened one earlier, as Kay said, for an appetizer). I had the blocks layed out on the floor when we left. When I came home late that night, the blocks were an incredibly cheerful sight for me. They stayed on the floor the entire time he was in the hospital, making me smile and giving me a brief escape each time I saw them. These blocks will be made into a wonderful quilt for me with very warm memories of comfort. So, ya never know how or where someone will or will not find comfort in what we make.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2011 at 11:25AM
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