Kathy newsletter/Fe. 2020
A New Year has begun and I hope that you are all deeply immersed in fun projects. You may have noticed my absence from social media for the last 3 weeks. Bruce and I are celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary this year. Two years ago my daughters and I planned for the whole family to take a cruise to celebrate together. There is nothing more important at my age than building family memories.
We started in Singapore and were supposed to end in Hong Kong. 10 days in to the cruise, we were in Danang, Vietnam. My 32 year daughter's husband went jogging not far from port. Both are athletes, marathoners, and in great health. We got a horrific urgent notification from the ship that John had died probably from a heart attack and been found by local people. Needless to say we all disembarked the ship, stunned, and had to contend with this devastating tragedy where none of us even spoke the language.
There certainly were things to be grateful for. The kindness of the Vietnamese people who came in on holiday week from the embassy, the funeral home etc, to help. The fact that they had gotten married - 1 month and 5 days before Johns sudden death made things smoother than they would have been. They were building a house and had just got it weathered in. Now it can sit for a year or so, till we see if it is possible to finish it. Late last fall, my oldest daughter bought property with us. Bruce and I plan to build a much smaller retirement home there with them. It is a beautiful pastoral 10 acre piece of property, where we can all be together. Bruce and I are living in a small trailer, and we just bought another trailer for my inconsolable youngest daughter. And finally it was such a huge blessing that we were with her when it happened, even with all the trauma of being in Vietnam with an embassy translator.
My goal for when we returned was to design a border and then quilt my new "Long Ears" donkey quilt.
The depth of my sadness and anxiety for my daughter's future has left me with - minimal energy, boggled thinking, and no drive to do anything that does not have to be done. This is the first year that I won't have a quilt at Spring Paducah since 1999. Priorities and perspectives have changed.
Yesterday, I was staring at the design wall with my quilt and finally had an idea pop into my head. Maybe I could use prairie points as an inside border.
Simple cutting of 2.5 inch squares and folding and ironing seemed like a task I could manage. I made a couple to audition and then my 11 year old granddaughter asked me if she could make some. After making two perfect ones, she asked if she could make more. She made 70 of them.
Sharing my love and joy in creating gave me back some serenity, joy, and determination to finish this project.
Sharing, learning from.... and teaching others is such a huge part of the Quilting Tradition. My grand daughter reminded me that quilting is the place I go to play, but also the place I go to lose/find myself.
Almost like meditation, my mind relaxes and builds a rhythm called 'flow". Scientist describe "flow" as a state where your mind is focused, and the rest of the world, worries and frustrations, recede, allowing you to express yourself. When you are lost in that flow, your B/P and Heart rate decrease. Your immune system is strengthened and many additional benefits occur.
Marilyn Sohn created "Party At the Coral Reef" using my sea turtle pattern. There are so many wonderful things to explore in this scene. Mer-Cat, jellies and lots of fun textures, not to mention her awesome rendition of my sea turtle. Thank you so much for sharing it Marilyn!
Applique pattern link. -https://www.kathymcneilquilts.com/shop/applique-patterns.htm
Applique Away on Galveston Bay.
My dear friend and fellow quilting instructor Kathy Wylie stepped in and took my class for me when I was not able to go.
She is the Canadian Distributor for Apliquick and an incredible award winning quilter who just released a new fabric line with Northcott.
Click here for Kathy Wylie website.
Karen Condon, Amy DePan and the whole team from AAOGB did a beautiful job improvising and teaching with my "Landscapes to Love" DVD. The students more than rose to the occasion and graciously excused me from the only teaching engagement that I have ever cancelled.
It’s true that we never know if each day is our last. I am rededicated to being kind to myself and others....to spreading a little happiness and beauty into every day.
Most of my worries and angst are but grains of sand in comparison to this.
Love to you all. I am very grateful for you in my life.