Wednesday, 7 November 2012

A Rough Patch. Blog 2.

Entwined in Memory


 Photo by my husband Ken Woroner. 
I found one of my mother’s hairs electrostatic-ally stuck on one of the t-shirts that I am using for my memory quilt. Long, thin, blonde-grey. As a small child, I remember pulling at her braided hair from the back seat of the car... camping or driving to the mountains or heading to the prairies, maybe one of my first memories. She never seemed to mind my tugging at it. Later, always in the kitchen, her fine hair caught on her finger while cooking, always cooking... “oh, Tam, get it”... I can hear her now with startling clarity (only my mother was allowed to call me 'Tam'). Hair always in her famous loose bun, strands spilling out as fine as a silk web. She never let it down. 

My First Patch


Drawing and cutting.
I learned from my mother a pride in excellence, doing things well. She was harsh in her attempted perfection of everything she did, touched, worked at. Her pickles were phenomenal, her dahlias gargantuan, her meals were sublime. When my brother and I were very young, she worked her way through university, a top student in a very demanding Masters program in Psychology. She went from nursing, to teaching, to psychology, and then on to organic farming and eco-politics on the small Gulf Island where my parent’s built themselves a new home and life away from the city. 

As I started to put together my first quilt patch (or are they called blocks?), like my mother, I was stressed about my level of perfection and ability, especially as I have never done this before. I started with some research, looking at a lot of quilting blogs and websites. Then I did a little doodling from some of what I saw. As a production designer, drawing is second nature, so it seemed like a good place to start.

My first quilt patch ever. 
For my first patch, I chose a couple of t-shirts that weren’t my favourites, knowing my limitations as a newbie quilter. One from a sandcastle competition in White Rock, B.C. and one from the 'Prince Charming' printing company, both from the early 80‘s and both stained as they were used for work shirts, likely re-staining the deck or carrying sap-filled logs. Maybe just a spill of strong Costa Rican coffee. The stains were irksome at first but then I decided they are part of the history, my Mother’s history, my history. 

The patch is less than perfect but it’s a start.


A Few Things Learned...


  • Do NOT use kitchen scissors normally used for cutting up whole chickens on fabric.
  • The iron, despite what you may feel about ironing, is your FRIEND. Keep it close and at the ready.
  • Fusible interfacing is stiff and hard to sew, use it only on larger pieces of t-shirt fabric. Small strips don’t really need it.
  • Cranky and unused sewing machines, like us all, need a little oil massaged into their workings. 
  • Spend lots of time with patterns, colour and colour choices, different bits of fabric thrown on different t-shirts or remnants... for no other reason than it is fun. And fun is good.

Broken Paws


When I first heard that I had to be off my broken (but fixed) foot for 3 months, I thought I would never make it. Today I am halfway there at six weeks post surgery. Funny how you can get used to anything. I go up the stairs (in our 3 story house) on my knees and I wheel about the kitchen, like a demon, on a rolling office chair that I borrowed from work. I don’t even know how I managed to go to work with this injury but for the grace of an excellent and sympathetic crew, and I am relieved to be finished my contract. 

Our left feet. Woof.
I have set myself up in my home study with computer, ironing board, iPad, sewing machine (dusted off from years of disuse from closet), fabric, brand new scissors (see note above), camera... everything within arms reach. The planning and cutting and sewing of my ‘Tekla memory quilt’ is quite absorbing, keep my mind off my temporary disability. So annoying not being able to just get up and take a few steps anywhere, even a quick bathroom break is an ordeal... I ache to walk again without crutches. (And, no, I shouldn’t complain, there are people far worse off than me... but it’s my blog and I’ll cry if I want to...)

Finally, I had been suffering tremendous remorse and guilt at not being able to walk our old dog. And, then, a few days ago, he managed to get a large, nasty, deep cut to his paw while chasing critters. Stitches and must stay off it as much as possible and ridiculous vet bills, the dog sleeps near me under foot (or crutch). Both of us with our broken left paws humbly waiting to heal. At least I have medicare.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Tamara, I came over your blog after reading your dad's blog (I love his work and hope I will get to see him someday). Your mother must have been a very special beautiful person. I am in my 70's now and many friends are gone or going. I've lived on Denman for many years, before that in Vancouver (part of "Cool Aid" and the "Brain Damage" band for awhile. Now spend my time on Hornby or Cumberland. So just wanted to thank you for showing me a bit of your life....Manny