Today would have been my nineteenth wedding anniversary, had John still been alive. He has been gone longer than he was with me but he still has an effect on my life.
John’s birthday was on 25 May, the same date as Duncan, my elder son. On 25 May 2013, their birthday, my life changed completely. That was the day I received THAT phone call from Nick. Regular readers of this blog will remember my subsequent trip to Australia to meet my ‘new’ family.
After my return from that trip I enrolled on the Painterly Patches course. Shenna, our tutor, suggested that we sketch something that expressed our feelings. This would be developed and embellished with stitching to be made into a quilt.
This was where I began: a representation of me linked with the family in Sydney. I drew the pattern onto fabric, using several colours of fabric crayons. They crayons were pressed to set the colours.
I wrote the date of the telephone call on another piece of fabric and decided that I wanted it to be multicoloured. It turned into a time-consuming job colouring it with the fabric crayons but at least I was pleased with the result! On my third piece of fabric I wrote the word ‘Family’, after all, that’s what the piece of work was all about. I used fabric pens for this piece – they also have to be pressed to set the ink.
I moved on to begin embellishing each piece, using stitchery. On the line representing my link to family, I worked a simple running stitch using a yellow-gold thread. I stitched around each letter and digit of the date using several strands of a very fine satinised embroidery thread. I then stitched stars randomly across the entire piece. I did a whipped chain stitch around the word ‘Family’ and then stitched lines fanning out to the edges of the pieces using different stitches and a variety of coloured threads.
Then came the most important section.
I cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, be called an artist but I did use my very limited ability for the depiction in the fourth piece. This one probably shows my feelings more than all of the others but I shan’t elaborate on them.
Apart from the sun on this fourth section, all the stitching was done by hand. However, I wanted the sun to have real impact so I decided to create it using free motion embroidery and several different colours on my sewing machine. Since stitching the sun I have read somewhere that to stop puckering one should use stabiliser. Well, I didn’t know that so it wasn’t stabilised and it puckered – it doesn’t matter. I am perfectly happy with my sunshine.
This is by far and away my most significant and important piece of work to date. I am immensely pleased with it. I am thrilled with it. I can hardly believe that I came up with all of the ideas and that I put them into practice. It wouldn’t win any prizes but I created it and I love it!