|Check out the foliage spilling over the burgundy sashing.|
This quilt was started in 2007. I started designing it in January and production began in in May. While my arthritis issues had started appearing, they didn't fully manifest until about 2008. My ability to be physically active tanked in 2008 and until very recently had been extremely poor. Ankylosing Spondylitis also causes exhaustion and I've dealt with that in spades.
In the summer of 2009 I started wondering if I would ever be able to finish Beast, which became its sometimes affectionate and sometimes not at all affectionate moniker. I have a stubborn streak a mile wide and decided I was going to ignore that thought and work on the quilt as I was able.
About a month ago, I changed my diet drastically. I don't know if that's what's given me more energy or if I'm out of an arthritis flare but I'm not looking at this gift too closely right now for fear of driving it away.
I've been able to work on Beast for 45 minutes to two hours six days a week for the past three weeks. This is after only being able to manage 15-20 minute stints a few times a month with some several month breaks. It took a year each on the foliage around the house and then for the detail on the house itself. There are so many very small pieces that are incredibly intricate throughout the blocks shown. Thankfully all the border blocks will be much less difficult as they'll be what I now consider easy peasy patchwork. There was a time when I hated patchwork but now it's practically cake to me after making this.
Other quilters that make and sell quilts have seen the quilt in even earlier stages that the photos in this post show and have said this a $5,000 quilt. That's far less than what I'm charging the person that commissioned it.
Mike's a good, kind and generous man and he and his family have done something wonderful for the ichthyosis community that is worth celebrating. In my own way is to express my appreciation because I long ago stopped accepting quilt commissions even when I was still healthy enough to work full time. I prefer having the freedom to make what I want in whatever style I want without having to please anyone but myself.
There have been times that I have truly hated this quilt because I thought it beyond my physical ability to complete. It has been a constant reminder of the physical losses I have had to deal with. I am in love with it again and I am really excited at the thought of sending it to Mike.
It's still not done, but it is so much closer to being done that I am confident again that I can finish it and barring injury or another major flair, finishing it is so close it's practically tangible. That confidence has fed back into my interest in sewing as I realize that even though my arthritis can be extremely painful at times to the point that I can hardly move, when I do have good days, and I will continue to have them throughout my life, I can still quilt and sew.
I think if I hadn't had this commission quilt to work on, I never would have figured that out. I would have made a normal quilt, or at least one that was normal for me, and the pain would have made me finish it and then give up the entire hobby. It's a hobby that I love and having to push myself to make this quilt has given me a gift of realizing that I haven't lost the physical ability to do it. I won't consistently be able to make quilts, but I am not forever barred from making them.
I'm not sure that Mike knows that he's given something hugely important back to me but I will be sure to tell him.
The fish blocks will be placed so there's a fish above and below the house block.
The gray looking geometric shapes in the picture to the right is a template for what the border blocks on each side of the fish will look like
That's where it's at and I hope to post more pictures soon. May you all enjoy peace and contentment.