Washing Dishes with Oliver
Can I really have missed most of 2014 due to one stressful event after another? Seems to be the case, but I hope to get back to my favorite pursuits in 2015; I have missed quilting and everyone I spent time with in my classes and travels. My very best wishes to all of you and hope this will be a fresh and great start for you as well.
My days have become filled with routine, and mornings are devoted to washing dishes in the morning light, cleaning the kitchen, paying bills, checking email, all with Oliver's help. He loves to get right down in the sink, have a long drink from the faucet, then oversee everything that goes on. He seems to think two retirees are pretty exciting most of the time, but every now and then gives me that look, wondering why we don't have some action around here!
On New Year's I put away Christmas, the sun came out briefly, and Oliver and I cleaned and bagged and swept and dusted. Oliver loved it, everything was different and new, even old familiar things were in different places. We added spots of color and soft white everywhere, so much fun.
He checks out the kitchen island, below, to make sure he still has his fresh grass next to the brightly colored pottery. He is looking at all this as if it still should be the familiar Christmas tree and is very wary. Of course, he tried to put his head in the blue pitcher.........
He did not nap all day, so that evening fell into an exhausted sleep on the couch, content and happy with all we accomplished.
And then there is quilting and what has become of it; Oliver misses the excitement of the forbidden territory of my sewing room, and I miss it too. Alas, due to health problems and injuries I haven't quilted in a long long time.
I didn't know if I still could quilt, but a week ago it was time to find out. I spent several days cleaning my sewing room, clearing it out of "stuff" piled everywhere, put all new things on the walls, re-set the clock to the correct time, hung a 2015 quilt calendar, put a new cover on the ironing board, swept the floors that still need washing, and looked around. I felt like a quilter again. It was time to oil my machines and see if they still worked.
Everything I did, all the things I organized and went through, brought back memories of my quilting and teaching days. I found so many lovely gifts from my students and friends, and yes I keep and treasure all of them. Below are just a few that were on the top of the piles of things to be sorted, all lovely and special to me.
There will be a major recycling day for me with all the old papers, handouts, magazines, etc., that I have no need of now, but in my mind I was remembering all the wonderful classes, the events, the quilters I have met and worked with over the years. Ah, nostalgia, sweet but sad at the same time.
My machines worked fine, but definitely needed some TLC. I swabbed, oiled, cleaned, and then ran them with straight stitching and cotton thread for a long time, mindless row after row of beautiful stitching.
It felt good to settle into my familiar chair, hear the hum of the motor, notice the light scent of sewing machine oil. I had the lights on and the warm pools of light made the room so comforting, a haven on an icy winter day. I knew the next day I would drop feed dogs and give some FMQ a whirl, see if I could still do it, just go for it.
"Tres rusty" is how I would describe my quilting skills, but oh my, it all came back so quickly it was amazing. I had to stop so that I wouldn't have sore muscles or eyes, but I wanted to keep on quilting some samples I had layered. I did easy things, difficult things, fun designs, demanding work, just to get my brain awake again and the coordination back. I will write more about what I discovered doing this free motion quilting in a future post soon.
I have quilted each day since then, and yes my hands ached from injuries and problems I've had over the past year or so, but each day they are better. I know if I want to make a quilt it will be a long process, as I must pace myself. But that is fine; I have no deadlines, it is just for me. My work looks as good as ever, even better because now I am not rushed, am more careful and enjoy the slower pace.
Oliver is so happy, he has checked out all the nooks and boxes, stacks of fabric and old quilts, and now he has developed a nice routine that involves circling the room, sitting on a stool by the window to check the outdoors, then curling up on some quilts in an extra chair and napping away as I do this and that. He is no longer the naughty kitten attacking the thread as it went through the machine, but he still must be watched out of the corner of my eye. He is a dignified but unpredictable 5-year-old.
When we are done for the day, it is time to make some homemade pizza, try a new dough recipe, and fill the house with spicy aromas until it is time to pop it out of the oven and enjoy the deliciousness of all the flavors and textures. I had fresh spinach and artichokes, and the next one had fresh tomatoes and fresh mozzarella too. So yummy, even Oliver tried some melted cheese.....
More on quilting to come, meanwhile know I am still here, just not teaching or traveling right now, and send you my very best wishes for the New Year and for your own quilting!