Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Poignant day...

Such a poignant day... Today has been a glorious fall day in North Carolina with many of the tobacco-gold colored leaves still on our trees, stunning when surrounded by the rich deep green of the pines and brilliant against a classic cloudless Carolina Blue sky... the temperature is cool and refreshing.  (Sorry no photos today.) 

A little over a week ago, a friend, Ann, sent a flyer to me announcing a sale of an individual's sewing goods (Joyce.)  In her day (only a little over a year ago), Joyce was a highly accomplished quilter and appliquer.  She did most everything "except the binding" by hand according to our mutual friend Ann.  Joyce designed many, many lovely applique blocks and was a leader of and very active in both of her Greensboro guilds.  An amazingly talented, vibrant and generous soul... and now, she is quite ill and is in a nursing home...

Her husband (and family) have had to make what I am sure was a difficult and emotional decision to open their home and allow folks to come and buy her fabrics, books, machines, furniture, partially competed projects, patterns and notions.  Before I left this morning to go to her home, I sat down and wrote a little note to the family.  I could not (and still can not) quite get past how very poignant and difficult this must be for them on so, so many levels... so I wrote a little note.  I want them to understand that she was well respected and many of us who take her things home feel privileged and will remember her and them as we use her things.

Her grown daughter and son were there and I really enjoyed talking with them; they are both delightful and charming.  They did seem grateful when one acknowledged how sad this occasion is and how difficult this process must be for them.  There were times when I felt that her children might have been a bit baffled by her stash of fabric, books and patterns.  Those of us who do handwork and sew were less amazed by the stash than of how orderly everything was.  She had applique patterns and their templates all organized in 3 ring binders, with little envelopes attached to heavy notebook paper to hold the pieces that were cut.  Her original drafting of the blocks on graph paper was often included. There were notes about when the blocks were made, who was involved (even with email and phone numbers included); often they were guild projects.  She combined like projects in the same binder if room allowed.  She used some cool plastic things which allowed for booklets to be included in the binders (like in her Mola themed notebook.)  I sat in the floor for a very long time marvelling at her organization and attention to detail as well as admiring her exquisite taste.  She even had a binder with plastic sleeves in which there was a collection of oriental fabrics she had obviously used for fussy cutting.  Treasures all.

What was so difficult for me was realizing how so much of one's life can be dismantled in a matter of hours (not taking into account how long folks must have worked to get it all in order).... fat quarters all in boxes sorted by color (had she kept them that way?) small boxes priced with partially completed projects in them... grab bag like.

Now, I had to remind myself that her completed projects are in her childrens' homes, and many, many others have her creations... those will last; those will hold memories of her for family and friends. 

My sympathy for her family and the profound feelings of how transitory life is have slowed me down today...

After leaving about 1pm, I travelled from Jamestown down to Asheboro for the Randolph Quilters' Guild 2011 quilt show.  Really lovely, with some exquisite work... They have some amazing professional and amateur quilters... the tiniest flying geese blocks I have ever seen... one half inch, if that.

I also saw a wonderful Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt... I've been pondering how to finish mine and I liked this setting... double flowers, with connectors, and then 2 rows of outline connectors around the outside of the flowers in this largish throw.  The outer-most row was filled in with hexi's of the same color similar to the look of setting blocks... then the whole top was appliqued onto a border that was about one & a half times as wide as the one inch hexi's.  The corners were not 90 degrees, but rather angled, sort of like they were beveled.  I also realized I probably don't need as many flowers as I thought I would to do a large throw.

I got to see a lot of friends and was very inspired by the Guild's show.  I only bought one thing to bring home: a lovely rag throw rug for my guest room.  After being immersed in Joyce's family's sadness I realized (again) that I have a gracious plenty fabric.  I needn't buy another piece of fabric in my whole life and I still probably would not never use it up.  And, I haven't even mentioned my knitting stash!!!  Geesh.

I did buy a couple more tickets for their raffle quilt.  It is wonderfully HAND QUILTED!  (Please, please, please let me win it!!)   There is a big modern baltimore album style embellished basket with rouched flowers and embroidery... on black background and an appliqued and pieced border.  (I promise I would love and care for it... please?  I can be quite a lucky girl sometimes!)

So, as this day draws to a close, I think I'll head home for a quiet evening... and perhaps I best get on some of my UFOs! 
Thanks for stopping buy...  


Mrs. Goodneedle said...

I can relate to your feelings, this is a very sad turn of events for Joyce's family. We can understand the value of her time spent organizing and categorizing her patterns and pieces. I prefer, like you, to think about the finished projects that are loved and cherished already. This is a thought-provoking and well written piece, thank you for sharing this post with us. I will remember this for some time to come, both for myself and for my family.

Raewyn said...

What a lovely post and it is so lovely you took time to acknowledge Joyce and her family - rather than the 'be in for a bargain' attitude so often seen these days. You will have carried on her dreams by using her fabric/patterns and create more in the process.
The hexie-quilt you describe sounds lovely!