Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Quilter's Fairy Tale

Once upon a time in a place far far away, lived a woman named Terri who was diagnosed with a terrible-horrible-very bad-no good illness that caused her to think about what was important in her life.  After going through surgery and terrible-horrible-but effective treatments, Terri spent some time deciding what she must do.  She had a strong sense of urgency about everything.  So, Terri decided to make a quilt for her son who she loved so much it hurt.  She learned to do photo transfer on fabric and collected all matter of pictures of this special son, other family members, his infant clothing, his childhood artwork, programs from plays this aspiring performer had starred in, menus and memories from a different land that was also far far away.  She worked and worked and worked -- with a passion and fervor that only women who have had this terrible-horrible-very bad-no good illness can understand.  She worked on her special son's quilt until she got to a place where she wasn't sure what to do.
One day while talking to a woman she had met in a Bible study in her home, she mentioned she was making a quilt and needed help.  This person liked Terri immediately and offered to share what little knowledge she had about quilting. Little did Terri know that this woman periodically transformed into the quilting witch. 

One nite the quilting witch went to see what was needed -- thinking that maybe binding or squaring up or something simple was the next step.  What she found was a big quilt made from all kinds of special fabrics (stars to remind the special son to reach for the stars and he would be a star some day) with all kinds of special pictures and personal information.  It was truly a labor of love.  But -- there were problems that the quilting witch had to address.  

Some of the seams were on the outside of the quilt.  This was a first and very concerning.  Really -- there were seams on the outside of the quilt.  She told Terri those had to be ripped out.

Some of the blocks were barely being held together because of the tension from the sewing machine who had been very cranky part of the time.  She told Terri those had to be ripped out.

Some of the blocks weren't square or had other problems and she told Terri those had to be ripped out.

Terri set about ripping out almost the entire quilt - proving yet again how much she wanted this special quilt to be just right for her son she loved so much that it hurt.  She prayed for him as she ripped and never fussed at the quilting witch.

Over the course of the next few months, Terri sewed, Terri ripped, Terri sewed some more, Terri replaced some pictures, Terri sewed some more-always praying for her special son that she loved so much it hurt.  Then one day -- the quilt top was done!  Terri had done it!  It was square, the seams were on the inside, and it was was going to hold together for all the years ahead.  

So, Terri learned to hand quilt and wrestled that heavy heavy quilt for hours and hours and hours and hours.  Always praying for her very special son and staying focused on the task at hand.  And then, Terri finished the quilt and the binding and it was just perfect.  She had done it!  

Soon after, a sort of terrible thing happened; Terri moved to another land far far away from the quilting witch. But it was good for Terri and she continued to quilt and she met good quilt teachers and bought fabric and learned new techniques.  An Accu-Quilt made it possible to cut fabric since the rotary cutter and her missing lymph nodes did not get along. 

One day, the quilting witch got a picture that made tears come to her eyes.  Terri had made a most complicated quilt and it was glorious.  She had made a double wedding ring -- this is a very very hard quilt that the quilting witch would never have tried to do.  But Terri had not only tried -- she had finished it and it was on her bed.  She had done it again!

Most fairy tales have a happy ending.  This fairy tale has two.  Not only did Terri become an accomplished quilter and go live among a quilting community that loves her, the terrible-horrible-very bad-no good illness knew that it had to leave this most special of quilters.

The end.

Have you had your mammogram or done your breast exam?  DO IT NOW if you are delinquent.  Terri had Inflammatory Breast Cancer (IBC) which is not about lumps --- it's about swelling or redness of the breast and is very aggressive.  It's a really really bad terrible-horrible-very bad-no good breast cancer that many women do not know about.   Now you do!  Make sure others you love know about it too.  If you are a blogger, consider a post this month about breast cancer -- we have to keep this in front of women to remind them to stay current with exams and support each other.  It is a terrible-horrible-very bad-no good disease!

I hope you are as inspired by Terri as I am!

The Quilting Witch


Jill @ Create.Craft.Love. said...

What a great inspiring story! And those quilts are gorgeous! Thanks for sharing at the Pomp Party! Hope to see you back next week!

Kat said...

Definitely an inspiration. Terri's quilts are gorgeous, as is she.

Little House on the Hill said...

Love both quilts what a great idea to make for memory quilt. My sister had the terrible no good illness and is a survivor too. Hope Terri continues to stay well.

Sarah Craig said...

Thanks for sharing a wonderful story and a timely reminder - whoop whoop!!!

Stephanie Michaels said...

Beautiful quilts, I was hoping you would share this on Super Sweet Saturday Think Pink Party at
Have a great weekend!

Stephanie Michaels said...

Thanks for sharing

Meredith @ Wait Til Your Father Gets Home said...

What an inspiring story and what beautiful quilts!

Thanks for joining us this week at Keep Calm & Link Up!
xo, Meredith @

Paula Yeske said...

Hmmm....Guardian Angel to many, is more apropos. But what would I know?!
You are magic, and a gift from heaven in the world, Jan.

Paula Miller said...

This is such an inspirational story! Thanks so much for sharing with my NO RULES Weekend Blog Party. I'm now your newest GFC follower :)


Carolyn said...

Beautiful story and amazing quilts. I hope that the terrible no good illness stays away forever.

Nicole@Show Off Friday said...

Beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

Rebecca Lynne said...

what a beautiful post. thank you for spreading the word about inflammatory breast cancer...we all need to stay informed!

Connie said...

What a wonderful story and post! I just had mine last month. Thanks for sharing.
Freemotion at the River Linky Party Tuesday

Britni @ Hubby Made Me said...

This is such a beautiful and inspirational story. And those are such gorgeous quilts too! I'm so glad this story had not one, but two happy endings. Thanks so much for linking up to Throwback Thursday :)

jjthor said...

God Bless!

Kenna said...

This made me cry. :) I don't have inflammatory breast cancer, just plain ole regular Ductal Carcinoma but regardless...breast cancer is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad disease. And like Terry I fought and won! (Chemo ended Sept 20!) and it totally changes everything.

Thank you for this completely moving tribute.

Martha said...

Beautiful, inspirational story. So proud of the work she has done. When I had my throat cancer I was the same way about making decisions about what was important in my life. Glad you were there to help her. Congratulations.

scg said...

A nice blog post and a lovely story. I hope things continue to go well for Terri.

Jill said...

What an inspiring story!! Thanks for sharing this with us - I'm going to share it further on facebook!

Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
Hope you have a fabulous week!
Jill @ Creating my way to Success

krista said...

oh my, what an inspiring story! i'm so glad i came across it. gave me goosebumps! thanks for sharing :D

Glenda said...

Well I have just had a good cry, I have had so many close friends go through this and I'm always soooo happy when I read about another who has fought and won this terrible terrible invasion of the body. Well done Terri, I hope she reads all the lovely positive fibres that have been sent to her. Thanks for sharing her story wicked witch wish you were mine!!!!!! Cheers Glenda Down Under

hansundgrete Kreativblog said...

Gorgeous story and I can understand it very well.
I'm also diagnosted with this sickness one year ago. Sewing and quilting helped me on this hard way.
Hugs Olga