I am in control of this fabric!

Years ago, I took an excellent Baltimore applique class from Mimi Dietrich. The most memorable lesson for me was when she was demonstrating how to handle that excess fabric that bunches up at the points of leaves. She showed us how to stitch up to the point, take a single stitch at the point and then to poke that needle into the excess fabric and s-w-e-e-p it around and under the leaf and say to yourself, “I am in control of this fabric.” The control freak part of me loved that lesson.

What the control freak part of me does not like are hospitals and surgery. Nearly two years ago, my hubby suffered a serious heart attack and both of us had to learn that sometimes we have to yield control to medical professionals. It was recommended to him that he have an ICD implanted as an “insurance policy” against sudden cardiac death. Other than the whole serious heart condition thing, this man is a thin, active runner. It took awhile to come around to accepting and agreeing to having machinery stuck in his chest particulary since the need for it wasn’t obvious to us, the lay people. Anyway, four weeks ago he finally underwent the procedure and I gathered together the bits of fabric for the first block in the Civil War Bride quilt.

Here’s the part that really offended my inner control freak…Hubby was told to eat nothing after midnight and to arrive at the hospital by 11am. We complied and then we waited…and waited…and waited. I felt like we were waiting for the firing squad. Finally, they called him around 2pm, prepped him and then let me come wait with him. So we waited some more. Around 3:30, they moved him to the hallway since he “was almost next.” What that means, I am not sure, but I know it does NOT mean you are next. After an hour in the hallway and everyone in the pre-op being taken in for their procedures, the kind (but a bit silly) nurse came to tell us he’d be taken “within the hour.” Translation: You are going to be waiting ANOTHER hour. First, I told her how incredibly happy that news made us and then asked for her to kindly move him out of the hallway for his own comfort and to make it easier for the UPS guy to get back and forth. Since the pre-op bays were empty at this point, you’d think she could have figured that one out without me asking, but apparently this was premium real estate so I had to quietly suggest that one of us was going to flip out (hint: it wasn’t patient hubby) unless he got some privacy.

Finally, they took him and then I got to go sit alone in the waiting room (the chattering masses we’d met earlier were long gone). Then I was really out of control since I could not hover over him and question everyone who tried to touch him. That’s when my Mimi Dietrich lesson kicked in. I was in control of the fabric. Never before had I appliqued with such intensity. My pieces lay flat, my curves were smooth and my points were pointy. I forgot about the time and actually appreciated the fabulous hospital lighting. When his very kind and capable doctor came out to tell me she was finished, I was able to be mature and civil, armed as I was with scissors, needle and tweezers.

I didn’t finish block 1 that day and I still have those two funky pieces left to go. But I appreciate the sense of control that applique gave to me.

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  1. Taryn — what a wonderful story and a beautiful block. Quilting works the same way for me — sometimes it requires a lot of concentration which distracts me from thinking about something unpleasant, and other times it's more mindless (like hand quilting) which relaxes me when I'm stressed.

    I hope your husband is feeling much better now and and you are back in control of both fabric and life.

  2. Awesome post! I love this. I too need a certain degree of control in things and I can appreciate your story! Thanks.

  3. Hi Taryn
    Just love your vase and fabric choices. What a harrowing day! Do hope your DH is back on track soon. I have come to learn the sootheing stitches of the needle too. Vowed and declared that Hand-applique was never for me 🙂 Famous last words.
    38 here today and hot all week. What happened to Spring?
    Take Care

  4. your block looks wonderful…oh I am so sorry that your having to go thru this., thank goodness for our quilting to help us thru days like you had.
    I hope that both of you are doing much better now that the day/procedure is behind you.

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