Quilting during Covid-19

Dear Vi,

I wear a lot of hats, as you know, but the one I turn to in times of stress is quilting. I think that’s because quilting is something I can do that doesn’t involve sitting still. I’m a knitter, too, but when I’m feeling anxious, I can’t sit in one place for very long, and knitting – while meditative – requires me to sit in a chair for extended periods of time.

Quilting, on the other hand, lets me be creative in a non-static way as I move between the cutting table, ironing board and sewing machine. Sometimes I put my ironing board in the kitchen so I have to traverse my (admittedly small) house to get to it. I can put music on and bop around while arranging blocks on the design wall. Or I can turn the music off and enjoy the hum of the sewing machine if my mind is too full of news and the dire straits of others.

I’m not saying quilting is exercise…it’s more like the full-body equivalent of jiggling my foot if I were sitting in a chair with my knitting needles. Does that make sense?

And then, there’s something indescribably delicious about creating something that fills the need for both beauty and function. If quilting isn’t a creative outlet that has saved my life, it’s certainly one that has saved my sanity on more than one occasion.

Quilting is like gardening…and like knitting… and like writing. You start out with an empty piece of ground, a blank piece of paper, a skein of wool, a stack of colourful fabrics. And then you create.

There’s a certain feeling you get when you straighten your back after pulling weeds, transplanting seedlings, deadheading flowers…when you cast off the last row and put your needles down…when you step away from the keyboard, breathless after writing the final scene…A feeling of wonder as you pause for a minute and admire the beauty you’ve created.

What’s your creative outlet during this stressful time?

Columbia Ice Fields, Jasper National Park
photo by Nita Collins Quilt: Garden Party by Blackbird Designs

All the miscellaneous bits and pieces

Dear Vi,

Today I sent out another query letter for Holding Space. That makes nine. Out of the nine, I’ve received two rejections and one request for a Full. That means the agent liked the query enough to want to read the full manuscript. That’s pretty exciting. Even if she decides it isn’t for her, it’s a huge boost to my writerly self esteem.

And I’ve got a short story out on submission, but I won’t hear for awhile yet.

Meanwhile, I’m working on two new manuscripts. This is a bit discombobulating –  I need to settle into one. Instead, I dither, going back and forth, unable to totally immerse myself in either.

I’ve been busy in other areas, too: I’ve got one quilt ready for binding and another one sandwiched and ready for quilting, and socks on one set of needles and a sweater on another set. Lots of busy going on in that area, as evidenced by the gawd awful mess of knitting and hand sewing paraphernalia next to my side of the couch.

And then, as if things weren’t messy enough,  I decided that most of the pieces of clothing I’ve made up to now are not acceptable. They looked good in the initial trying on, but once I started actually wearing them – out in public, like – their flaws started showing up. Three dresses have been tossed into the recycle bin. There’s enough fabric in the skirts to use as a muslin for a couple of tops I want to make. It’s all a learning process.

Sam and I have really been enjoying the autumn colours this year. Somehow, they seem even more vivid than usual.

What about you? Anything interesting to report?

2015 Hands2Help Charity Quilt Challenge

Happy 5th anniversary to the Hands2Help Charity Quilt Challenge! It’s being organized by Sarah over at Confessions of a Fabric Addict. High Five, Sarah! It’s a lot of work to organize a challenge like this!

Quilters are invited to make a quilt and donate it to one of the charities listed on the Hands2Help website. (But don’t worry if you can’t afford to mail the quilt, you do have the option of donating to a local charity. There are no barriers put in your way if you want to participate.) The object of the challenge is to get quilts wrapped around the shoulders of those who need them.

Extra exciting is that this year, Because You Matter Quilts for Kids is the Canadian recipient! That’s me!! Canadian quilters who don’t want to mail their quilts across the border can mail them to me as an option (if they don’t know where to donate locally or want to contribute to Because you Matter specifically.) How cool is that? !!! Thank you so much, Sarah! I’ll also be posting the quilts I’m making as I go along. I have a special project in mind for Because you Matter this year and I’ll be telling you all about it soon.

Sarah has arranged lots of sponsors and lots of prizes, a linky party, free patterns if you need ideas and all kinds of fun for participants, so head on over to Hands2Help and sign up.  Registration opens today!