I find hand sewing very calming. I started some patchwork on New Year’sDay, when my beloved dog became ill, sitting beside her and stitching hexagons. She died and I stitched on, through grief, searching for a new dog, bringing home a puppy and into summer. I finished the patchwork and today I started hand-quilting it. I think it will be done by the time Little Pup has grown up and will go on my bed where she sleeps beside me. My quilt will mark The Year of the Dog.
I did this when my DH died, using his work shirts for fabric. I used to tease him for his very conservative taste in shirts, always plain whites and blues and greys with some stripes and the occasional check but they all blended together so beautifully. I was very much a novice stitcher. I can trace how my technique improved as time went on and the grief became easier to bear.
I started an English paper pieced patchwork quilt many, many years ago. I used to love sitting quietly stitching little hexagons, watching it grow. It was so therapeutic. I had almost finished the patchwork process when life just got in the way and I put it aside. I didn't pick it up for another 20 years and then when I did, I was determined to finish it. As it was originally destined for my DD's bed, I gifted it to her and it has been used as a play mat for her baby daughter, a cosy wrap on cold winter evenings, and more recently a blanket to lie on in the garden while sunbathing! MeltingMacaron your story touched me - a lovely thing to do, not just helping you with your grief, but resulting in a beautiful memory quilt that you will treasure always.
I love hand-sewing too, watermeadow. When I was a child my grandmother taught me to embroider and my mother taught me how to make clothes. Some years later my mother-in-law taught me the traditional hand-sewn method of patchwork using hexagonal pieces of fabric folded over newspaper. That was in the 70s when I was first married... and it still isn't finished! The quilt-to-be includes pieces of my children's school uniforms, husband's shirts, my dresses, even a bit of a maternity 'smock' I made about 40 years ago! I begged scraps of material from many people over the years and it's lovely now to see hexagons from people who are no longer around and sadly missed, especially one from a jacket my lovely mum made - she died a few years ago and was a great dressmaker. Although the patchwork is by no means beautiful in itself it has become a piece of family history and when it gets dragged out every few years we have great pleasure identifying such treasures as my son's childhood boxers with little pigs on! Hmm... this has reminded me to fish it out again and get it finished!
I am very grateful to all the ladies who encouraged me all those years ago to pick up a needle and thread - I've found sewing and embroidery very relaxing and rewarding.