Listening (an AH-HA moment)

I struggle with the Winter holidays. The time from Thanksgiving through Christmas is tough. I was talking to my sister about when all this bah humbug stuff might have begun in my life and it boiled down to when my mother died in 1978. She passed when I was 23 and I realized that for the last 40 plus years I’ve been trying to find the magic that she created for me and my siblings and failing miserably at it no matter what I did!

But this year, right before Christmas, I had one of those AH HA moments. I did a bit of meditation and journaling around the issue, trying to listen for the wisdom of my Higher Power to come through. Volunteering to work in a public place is not a favorite of mine. My happy place is time spent in my studio. I like to sew, and I have LOTS of fabric. Hmmmmm….My passion is creating art quilts but why not make a traditional quilt for someone that really needs one and can’t make their own? I could use up some of my stash, try out different designs and color schemes (all very fun stuff!) and then donate the finished quilt. That sounded like a win-win to me.

And that is how I spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day this year. I was so fulfilled and grateful to be able to work on a quilt for an unknown recipient!  I felt peace within. I decided that I will make comfort quilts over the holidays going forward. What a wonderful new tradition that will add meaning to my life. And I think my Mom would be happy that I have finally found some peace around the whole issue.

This is the quilt I made. It is a pattern by Karla Alexander from her book “New Cuts for New Quilts – More Ways to Stack the Deck” called Summer’s End. Not the best photo, sorry. It’s been very dark these past few days here in the Pacific Northwest!

Here is a detail photo. Also a truer sense of the actual fabric colors, too.

But then the story takes a bit of a twist…

After completing the quilt top, I sent it off to my longarm quilter. When I picked it up, she told me that I couldn’t give the quilt away and proceeded to tell me that this quilt was far too special for me to give away. She said that message came through to her as she was quilting it. We had quite a discussion around it because I made the darn thing to give away and I was trying desperately to not get too attached to it.

She then gave me a solution to help me satisfy my wish to donate a comfort quilt. She had a friend who had passed away but had unfinished quilt tops. So, she finished some of them and was willing to donate a top of my choosing and the batting, as well as quilt it for a nominal fee. I would supply the binding and backing fabric. We talked some more…

It was a tough decision but, in the end, I decided to keep the quilt I had made. I will use it on my bed when I go to my quilt retreats and reflect on the impact it has made in my life. I will donate the other quilt that was created by a woman who loved to piece quilts, a second woman who donated her time to finish piecing that quilt (and much more), and a third woman, myself, newly awakened to the gift of giving. Quite the collaboration!

Here is a photo of the collaborative quilt that I will be donating in place of the one I made. Kind of the same colors! The flower design that was used for the quilting is super cute!

I am also donating this little quilt to the preemies. I made it over 30 years ago and I hope it finds a wonderful new home!

I hope you have a creative 2020! – Tesi Vaara

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29 Responses to Listening (an AH-HA moment)

  1. Wonderful warming story. Gail

  2. ruthlane says:

    Thanks Tesi, your post is a reminder that giving is always important but especially so at the holidays. Not only does it help the recipient but it helps you too. I’m glad that you found a way to make the holidays better and I’m sure your mom is proud of how you found a way to move forward 🙂

  3. Jackie B says:

    Beautiful quilts. How wonderful it is to share the love that goes into making them.

    • tesivaara says:

      Thank you! Love, and joy and hope as well. So many of the quilts my quilt guild donates go to those who are struggling. My heart goes out to them.

  4. Rebecca says:

    Tesi, you are an incredible person! Art as medicine, art with room for mathematics!!!! What insight foresight you own. These pieces are dreamy. Wonderful dreams come true with you. I’m Speechless. Thank you for sharing your creative soul. Inspirational you are! Your latest
    quilt; the rich deep, purples, maize hues et al, deep rich intuitive.

  5. Lillian Johnson says:

    Life can throw us curve balls. Finding peace with your mother’s death and the impact that it had on your life was the best Christmas gift. Now you are paying that forward

  6. Beautiful, inspiring story and gorgeous quilt. Thanks for sharing. I’m glad you decided to keep the quilt.

  7. annielynrosie says:

    Doing something for others is very rewarding and makes your life richer and meaningful. The quilts are beautiful as is your new found enthusiasm for the holidays.

  8. Frances says:

    I do something similar to combat the Holiday blues. I get donated wreaths, small holiday trees and ribbons ornaments, etc. from a Humane Society Thrift Shop. I then take the items and remake them into “new” decorations that sell for much more than they would have. This helps me tremendously – I love to decorate and be creative and give back to my community,.

  9. What a lovely story. I am glad you found a way to lighten your heart and and bring joy to others at the same time. Both quilts are lovely.

  10. Antje says:

    Love the pattern & fabrics you chose for your quilt, indeed both quilts are special and more so because they were created with giving in mind.
    I’m glad you kept your quilt – I hope the peace & reconciliation you’ve now found at last, will, in future, allow you to remember your mum & enjoy Christmas….her legacy to you.

    • tesivaara says:

      It was a fun pattern. I like how the light values dance around. This quilt will definitely keep me mindful of the importance of giving. I really appreciate all that my mom did for me in her short time on this planet. Thanks for your comments!

  11. teriberryguest says:

    What a beautiful story, thank you for sharing. I am quietly glad you will keep the quilt you made over Christmas, it is beautiful and was clearly a cathartic experience for you to make it, I hope you treasure it along with memories of your mother.

    • tesivaara says:

      Oh my, everyone’s comments have really touched my heart. Yours, for some reason, has made my “eyes leak”. My mom has been gone for so many years that it is sometimes hard to conjure up the space she filled in my young life. Cathartic experience indeed!
      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  12. Alana says:

    Very inspirational story, and beautiful quilt! Thanks for sharing.

  13. nanacathy2 says:

    I crochet blankets to give away- some have gone to old folk, one as a raffle prize and a couple to homeless charities. It is such a good feeling for me to use my time and skills, and hopefully peoplewill like what I do. To spend Christmas helping others with a wonderful quilt is a gift to you and the receipient. That is the magic of the season.

    • tesivaara says:

      It was definitely a magical season for me. I just finished putting the binding on the quilt and as soon as I get the label sewn on, off it will go.

  14. I am part of our Charity group of our quilt guild so I know where to give quilts away. This year I have made two quilts to give away since Thanksgiving. I guess the holidays are a good time to do things for others.

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