Therapy can show up in different ways. A dinner with friends, a brisk walk, a cup of coffee and a book, an actual therapist, a loaf of warm bread just out of the oven, a hug from someone you love. It’s not one size fits all and it shows up differently for everyone. It should give you what you need to help overcome a hurdle, or a history, so you can continue. Insight, clarity, peace of mind, wisdom, and the strength and tools to move forward even though it might be scary. Or wonderful. Or both.
But, sometimes therapy shows up as quiet reflection offering to help. For me, it was this quilt and my sewing room. Fabric, thread, and creativity. Being alone, and allowing myself room to grow. And heal.
I’ve thought about what I want to say about this quilt for over two years. I designed it in March 2018 and it came home yesterday. I’ve been trying to get the words down to express these feelings adequately, yet after all this time they seem to escape me. This quilt encapsulates a significant part of my life for the past two and a half years. If I’m honest, it probably represents a little more than that.
I was busy piecing this quilt when we started a major renovation on our house (first world problem, I know, I know). As that ended, we received news from a close family member about a major medical crisis. It required that my husband and I be intimately involved with assisting this family member getting back to top health. And if that weren’t enough, as that came to a close, I had back to back surgeries (one planned, one emergency) that, unfortunately, came with a myriad of rare complications.
I wasn’t able to do much while I was healing, but when I was ready I was able to I sew. Sewing is my therapy. So, I came back to this quilt. I spent a lot of time assembling the top; putting the pieces together. It was poetic that as I sewed together this quilt, and made many pieces one, my body was doing the same thing and putting me back together. And, much like my body healing itself, putting the quilt together was arduous at times, but worth it in the end.
I was grateful to have time for slow contemplation. The past several years had been riddled with challenges and finally, I was able to process them a little more. Some realizations were easy, others made me take a deep look inside. The slow work of this quilt required my concentration and also allowed my subconscious mind to wander and cultivate necessary thoughts. It allowed my heart to heal from some struggles and gave me the ability to find grace for a few things that needed it. It was the beginning of a metamorphosis – one that is ongoing, at least for the time being, until who I am really meant to be is fully realized. I’m still growing, and have a lot more work to do, but awareness is a good first step. Finally learning to just keep my mouth (mostly) shut is a good second step. I’m diligently working on this issue.
It took me several more months to finish the quilt, and tearing off the paper was a chore. I used newsprint for most of the piecing but a few places had regular printer paper, and getting that off a quilt is a complete hassle. But, as with piecing the quilt, the quiet contemplation as I carefully pulled paper off the back of the quilt was a necessary part of the journey.
Once all the paper was off, I sat with the quilt for several months before I sent it to Mandy to have her long arm it. Usually I’m quick to send quilts off, but it took me a while to part with this one. I put so much time and effort into it that I wasn’t sure I wanted to send it off for quilting. It had become such a part of my journey and I having it around was a good reminder of how far I’d come in two years, and how far I still had to go. But I also recognized that at some point I needed to let this quilt go, so it could become what it was meant to be. It was time for this quit to have its own metamorphosis.
I can’t even begin to express how grateful I am to Mandy for how she quilted this quilt. It’s exactly what I wanted and what this quilt needed, and somehow she just knew. At this point it’s important to note that I never give direction to long arm quilters. I firmly believe that they are far better equipped to tell me what my quilt needs vs me telling them what it needs and that has ALWAYS worked out well for me. This quilt is no exception. I’m awestruck by Mandy’s talent. The amount of detail in this quilt completely blows me away. I’ve had it for a little over 24 hours and I continue to see new quilting designs each time I look at the quilt. I’m speechless, and if you really know me you know that NEVER happens.
Now that it’s home, I’ll carefully bind this quilt so its journey can be fully realized. I have plans for this quilt, but nothing I’m ready to share this minute. Mostly I want to enjoy the rest of the journey and the slow time contemplating everything and nothing at all while I bind it.
Some say that it’s easier to bury the demons than to face them. Others charge demons head on. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer. I think there’s only a what’s right for you answer. But in the meantime, figure out what therapy you love most. For me, it is the quiet time sewing; thinking about everything and nothing as I dance around my space creating. But whatever it is, I hope it always helps you find therapy and metamorphosis you need to be a better you.