Thursday, October 6, 2022

PINKtober Blog Hop

Welcome to my day on the Pinktober Blog Hop, hosted by Brianna at Sew Cute and Quirky, and sponsored by Island Batik, Aurifil Thread, and Quilter's Perfect Klip

Breast Cancer.
Just the phrase is so scary.  What do you do when your sister-in-law gets that news?  What about a good friend who is also your hairdresser?  What about her best friend, who's dealing with metastatic breast cancer now?  And the wound care nurse who takes care of your mother in a nursing home?  

When a message is posted by Brianna asking for volunteers to join the hop, you say yes.  
You pray for them.
You make a quilt.
You share your story.
You provide emotional support.
You pray.
If you can, you provide food, respite care for them or their children, ask if they want someone going to the appointments with them, offer to clean or take them out, give them items that will help with healing and comfort.  You listen and let them vent, share their fears and tears.  Research companies that help, like house cleaning, etc.
You make a quilt.

Island Batik supplied a gorgeous precut for us.  I picked the Positively Pink Stack, 10" squares, and requested Magenta for the borders and binding, and Tea Rose for the accent.  

Positively Pink may look like traditional batiks, but it's also printed.  Some of the fabrics are printed on batik, and others are printed on solids.  The designs are sweet.  There are hearts, ribbons, Hope text print, and roses.  The colors are deep burgundy, shades of pink, touches of red, and white.  

It's been so long since I used a printed fabric that I actually had to concentrate to make sure I was sewing right sides together.  I often choose my favorite side when using Island Batik fabrics, but if there's an error, it usually doesn't matter.  This time, I had to check.  

To the above fabrics, I added in White solid, which is included in my Ambassador box.  Island Batik is very generous with their ambassadors, and it's an honor to be one.

Aurifil Thread provided a spool of pink thread, and Quilter's Perfect Klip provided 2 bags of wonderful clips.  

I went to EQ8 to figure out what I wanted to do with the 10" squares and the additional fabric.  I looked for blocks I thought would look good in a variety of pinks.  I found a block called Key Lime Pie, and thought it would be fun to make, and a happy thought for a block.  I added sashing in Tea Rose to the design, and used some of the prints for the cornerstones.  The blocks, which finish at 12", could be made with the Accuquilt GO! 8" Qube, so I layered the background and fabric with right sides together for the smaller triangles for the Combination Units, and cut strips for the 4 patch corners, which also use Magenta.  I threaded my machine with Aurifil 50wt in cream, a cone I use for most of my piecing, and made the units.  I made 2-4 blocks at a time, to keep the units together.  But I had an oops. lol

Or 2.  Easy to fix, just take out the seams, rotate the unit correctly, and sew again, and press again.  And double check the other 10 blocks 3 more times to make sure they are all correct. 
After assembling the top, I put it on my Handi-Quilter Amara with Pro-Stitcher with a white tone on tone wide backing fabric and Warm & White batting, and load Aurifil 40-3 on the machine.  I used 4660, Pink Taffy, a variegated thread that adds a sweet touch to this quilt.  I used the free Hearts and Ribbons design from Urban Elementz.  

Here are the photos, taken between rain and thunderstorms, on the 5th day of storms caused by Hurricane Ian.  Luckily for me, it was only rain and a little wind.  

I'm calling it Hopeful Hugs. It measures about 52 by 67".

Back has Pink Taffy thread, too. 

Fussy Cut Hope for one of the cornerstones.  

I am dealing with cancer.  I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer just about a year ago.  I had a full hysterectomy and then brachytherapy radiation for a few weeks through March, 2022.  I wish someone had offered me dinner, or sent flowers.  My brother did send a gift card for Bath and Body Works, which was nice.  A quilting customer did bring me a lovely bouquet.  What did I do with the diagnosis and healing?  I prayed.  I rested.  I tried to do a little more each day.  Since I'm self employed, I prayed for items in my Etsy shop to sell.  My treatment was during the pandemic, so I couldn't have anyone going to treatment with me.  Brachytherapy isn't horrible, except that you need to lay down with a cylinder in your vagina for up to a half hour.  I brought a quilt to help keep me comfortable and give me something tactile that's better than the scratchy blankets or stiff sheets at the hospital.  I brought chocolate to reward myself after the treatment.  I requested my favorite songs.  I went for ice cream afterwards.  Although I may technically be cancer free, I'm not celebrating that I beat it.  It's too soon.  It's still scary, and although there are days I don't think about it, it's always there, and there's a "thing" I have to do 3 times a week to prevent scar tissue from forming because of the radiation.  Next year it will only be 2x and the year after, only once a week, then maybe I'll feel like I'm better.  There's a 4% chance of recurrence.  I'm so grateful for the friends who called and made me laugh, took me away from the fear and frustration during the worst of it, and the ones who prayed.  Luckily I didn't need chemo. 

In the meantime, I breathe.  I quilt.  I pray, and I schedule mammograms, colonoscopies, and need to find a dermatologist.  And I pray for sales so I can pay bills.  I was so grateful when my Radiation Oncologist purchased one of my quilts.  If you know of anyone who might want a one of a kind gift, or if you may be looking for fabric, please check out my etsy shop. Every little bit helps.  If you don't see something you need, ask me.  I'm also long-arming quilts, and would be happy to work with you on your tops.  

I'm so grateful for Island Batik, for providing me with gorgeous fabric and wonderful challenges.  I love Aurifil thread, and I'm excited about having Quilter's Perfect Klips.  They are so helpful with keeping pieces together, and holding binding while sewing.  I'm not sure what I'll do with this quilt yet.  I want to check with my care team to see if they want to auction it to support others going through cancer.  I may give it to my quilt guild for their charity quilts, or maybe to my friend's friend, or Mom's nurse.  Maybe I'll hear of someone who is just diagnosed and would benefit from the comfort of this, and the hugs built into it. 

Please check out the other bloggers for this hop.

Thanks.  I'll pray that you never have to deal with cancer, but if you do, know I'll listen.  Hugs.


Jennifer Schifano Thomas said...

Your quilt came out beautifully, Maryellen. I love the "hope" cornerstone. I know I'm going to cry on every day of this blog hop. Your story was very touching. I'm glad to see you are feeling good enough to finish quilts again. And I know what you mean about Ian ~ I am grateful we only had rain and wind here, but it went on for days here, too. The sunshine finally came back out yesterday. Love and hugs.

Terri said...

Thank you for sharing your story!! A cancer diagnosis is scary no matter where it is found!! Prayer is the only way I am making it through too!! Love your quilt! Prayers and Hugs!!

Emily said...

This is a beautiful quilt, and I thank you for sharing your story. Many healing thoughts to you.

Maureen said...

Your quilt is absolutely stunning! The quilt top is fab, but the quilting just puts it over the top. Stay strong, confide in friends, and know you are not alone.