Last Week Was a Rough Week

I normally use this space for uplifting posts about the art of quilting and sharing the joy it brings me. But today I need to get real with you.

Last week was a rough week.

Last week we learned about the deaths of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. Last week approximately 154 U.S. veterans took their lives – at a rate of nearly one death per hour. Last week 865 Americans took their lives – a rate of nearly 45,000 per year.

We’re getting better at talking about suicide and depression, but we can do more.

While my life is far from irreparably broken, I’ve had my own dark moments. Moments where going on just didn’t seem possible. Moments where “ceasing to exist” – as I called it – seemed like a viable option. One that would be better for me, my family, and my friends. Moments where just getting out of bed to face another day were filled with extreme physical and emotional pain.

And during these times, people would say, “That’s the depression talking. That’s not the truth.” But for someone in that moment, it’s the only truth they know.

Some people say depression is a bully. I get it, but I can stand up to bullies. You generally know exactly where you stand with a bully and what their intentions are. I think depression is more like an abusive partner. It tells you you’re no good, that no one would miss you anyway. Then right when you’re ready to give up, depression flips its script. “You need me. You’re nothing without me. You think this feels bad? Just wait until I’m gone.”

At least that’s what it’s been like for me.

I’m lucky in that I’ve always managed to reach out for help when I need it the most. I’m lucky that when I’ve asked for help, I’ve received it.

With celebrity suicides, we’re quick to point out just how much the person had going for them – how on top of the world they seemed. I’m here to tell you you don’t need to be a celebrity to get that reaction. Most times I’ve reached out to friends or family for help, they were completely shocked that this was something I was dealing with. “But you’re so strong! You’re winning at life right now. I never would have guessed you struggle at all.” Like the other half of an abusive relationship, we can be good at hiding the abuse and putting on a good show.

And while you might mean well to say these things to someone who tells you they’re suffering, tell them instead that’s it’s ok to be weak. Tell them you’ll help be strong enough for the both of you for as long as they need it. Tell them honestly and gently what losing them would mean to you. Be a voice that’s louder than depression.

Through hard work, I’ve been able to surround myself with people and activities that have kept my life in the light for a long time now. My friends who are like family, my daughter, my cat, exercising, and – yes – my quilting keep me going. Through admitting I’m not as strong as the world thinks I am, I’ve been able to find strength in being weak. I’ve found courage in being weak. And today, I’m choosing to be weak in front of you. Because maybe you need someone to show you it’s ok.

If you’re struggling, ask for help. If you truly don’t feel your friends and family would understand, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is there for you. Call them at (800) 273-8255. They’re available 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

If you have a loved one you haven’t heard from for a while, reach out. Be the one who calls or texts. Share some of your strength with someone who thinks weakness is all they have left.

I’ll be back next week with more quilting news. Until then, love each other.

Hello There!

Welcome to the final week of the 2018 New Quilt Bloggers Blog Hop. Over the past two months, we’ve been working making our blogs better and talking quilty things. Please visit our awesome hosts to see who else is introducing themselves this week and to enter to win some great prizes (giveaway details are at the end of this post). Our hosts are Sandra from mmm! quilts (and my hive leader), Beth from Cooking Up Quilts, Jennifer from Dizzy Quilter, and Tish from Tish n Wonderland.

2018 new quilt bloggers blog hop button with host web site information Read More…

My Favorite Paper Piecing Tutorials

I love the look of blocks that are paper pieced, sometimes called foundation paper piecing. While there are a lot of things I can wrap my mind around, paper piecing just isn’t one of those things. It’s like crown molding: everything is backwards and upside down. This is the reason you’ll never see a paper piecing tutorial from me!

Paper piecing is like crown molding: everything's backward & upside down. These pros are the best I've found at it. https://fortheloveofthread.com/?p=485 Click To Tweet

But paper piecing is too awesome for me to ignore it completely. So, I turned to my favorite paper piecers and bloggers to give you a round up of the best tutorials out there. Here’s what I found…

Alyce from Blossom Heart Quilts

I consider Alyce to be a Queen of paper piecing. Her patterns and tutorials are so straight forward, and she gives really good tips on how to be better at the technique. The one time I wasn’t clear on something and left her a comment with a question, and she answered me right away. Not bad for me being in the US and her being in Australia! Read More…

Clementine Quilt Along: Block 4

Month four of the Clementine Quilt Along from the Fat Quarter Shop was released this week! This month’s block is called Coconut Cross, and it is just as cute as the first three blocks. This quilt along benefits the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and the free block patterns are published on the Fat Quarter Shop blog on the 25th of each month. They only suggest you make a $5 donation to St. Jude’s for each pattern you download. Here’s my version of the block:

Finished Coconut Cross blocks

Without my Twenty Stash-Teen goal, I might not have been so willing to cut into my Tula Pink stash. I’m loving how these Tula fabrics make these blocks sing!

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The Biggest Mistake Quilters Make

Do you ever get in a rut and think, “I just don’t want to make a __________ quilt again. What else is there?

I think if you lined up all my quilts from first to most recent, you would be able to tell when I got to that point. First there was the flowery, cutesy phase that honestly makes me want to puke now. Then bright colors on black backgrounds, muted colors throughout, rainbow quilts, bright colors on white backgrounds, geometric prints, literally using all the colors, and solids (where I am right now). And then there was the phase where I learned needle-turn appliqué and didn’t piece any quilts for almost a year.

Oh, and we can’t forget my grayscale phase. I’ll never forget the looks I got in an appliqué class when I started creating gray stems for my flowers. I’m pretty sure I heard one classmate ask another if I was color blind!

grayscale floral quilt

Beautiful Botanicals: That one time I combined my grayscale phase with my hand appliqué phase.

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How to Use a Rotary Cutter for Quilting

Last month, I compared the features of three different rotary cutters and shared my opinions on them. I hope you’ve been able to try some out for yourself and have your cutting mat and rulers ready to go. It’s time to learn how to use your rotary cutter.

Supplies Recap

The full list of supplies is in last month’s post, but as a reminder you need:

My second cutting mat in nearly 20 years of quilting. Treat your supplies right, and the “expensive” options suddenly become cheaper in the long run.

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