Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Promised Quilts : :

I have nine quilts left to make for gift giving this coming Christmas. Yes, nine! I think by now you all know how successful I am at sticking to my plans without getting distracted, so... you know they'll be others too! I'm excited and have decided to begin with the two quilts I have planned for my nephews, Owen & Ben.

An "ant farm" themed quilt for Owen! Using several Backyard Baby prints, some Riley Blake Cotton Dots, and Pure Element Solids.

Quilt Plan for Owen

A nautical themed quilt for Ben! Using some Michael Miller Ahoy Matey ocean themed prints, lots of Pure Elements, some newly stashed orange fabrics from Form & Fabric, along with some older stashed fabrics.

Quilt Plan for Ben

I'm really excited about this large Making Waves panel print I ordered just for the quilt backing!

Quilt Back for Ben

And as my bonus, totally selfish quilt project -- a gorgeous Koi quilt must be made as soon as possible, as well! Just like with Tsuru, I fell completely in love with Rashida's new collection for Cloud9 at first peek!!

Koi by Rashida Coleman-Hale for Cloud9 Fabrics!

I never mentioned this here before, but back in January things got pretty tough for me. I had been having complications with my Autoimmune skin disease since last July and just when I thought things were getting better, a bad bronchial infection along with a high fever seemed to trigger a really bad flareup. It was extremely painful, especially emotionally, and I'm glad those days are behind me. Of course I understand that Autoimmune disease can be a very mysterious thing, with no rhyme or reason as to why these things do happen to so many, but accepting that doesn't just make the desire to know what the cause of these problems is just go away. So during those difficult days at a visit with one of my doctors, we were going over everything that he knew might possibly trigger such a long lasting widespread issue. Blood work revealed nothing that's usually associated with my skin problems, allergy tests showed no link, reaction to all the medications I had tried throughout the last couple of years -- ruled out. Then he asked, "You say you sew? Do you do that often?" Me, "Oh, yes!" Then, for the first time he seriously discussed with me that although it's rare, there has been reported links to the skin disease I have as a sensitive reaction to dyes, possibly dyes used in fabric. Can you imagine how hearing that felt? I can't even begin to try to share in words what that did to me. I will share that I took that notion serious, it felt very possible, and I even began to believe that it was the reason for awhile. He decided to refer me to a new Autoimmune Dermatologists to get her opinion, as well. My appointment was scheduled and I had about three months to think about all of this. What would I do if I couldn't sew anymore? I thought about that for about a day and then I thought, well I can still sew now! If you look back at my blog from late January on, you'll see that I made a pretty big sewing shift to focus on quilt work at that time. Along with that shift came a promise to make each of my favorite kids, mine and my nieces and nephews all a special quilt. They all responded with some really fun ideas, from princess to peace signs to ant farm themed quilts. Thankfully, I can report that at my last appointment it was decided that dye wasn't the culprit, and although unfortunately we still don't know what is, I now have these special quilts to focus on finishing by Christmas time this year. I have three finished, the Stitched Typography quilt for my Jacob, the ABC quilt for a new niece or nephew due in September, my most recent Zig Zag quilt for Haila, and just nine more to go! That's all, no big deal, ahem. So that's the very summed up story of why I finally decided to and completely fell in love with making quilts this year. An unexpected push, from this strange and crazy ordeal, gave me the confidence I was missing to finally cut into these fabrics I love so much with quilt plans in mind, and I'm grateful. I learned a lot about myself during those several months, a made some quilts that I'm really proud of, and most importantly I remembered to trust that no matter how things turn out, they will always turn out exactly as they should.

Maureen 

57 comments:

petoskystone said...

Hope you get some information soon from your dermatologist! Really looking forward to seeing how you work an ant farm into a quilt :)

wtpooh11 said...

Thank you Maureen for sharing your story with your fans. I am so glad for you that the dye wasn't the reason for your problem. I do hope that they figure it out for you. I have an Immune Deficiency. I cannot fight off anything. It is very hard. I am glad you have rose above your condition and are having such a blast working on your quilts. I am sure your children, nieces and nephews will love their quilts. Your quilts are always so amazing and beautiful.

Janelle said...

As always, you're inspiring. Whether in the things you make, or with your personal writings/struggles. Blessings for an answer AND for the energy/time to get all of those quilts done. I have 2 of the 5 mostly done that I have to finish before Sept. Whew, trying to keep the momentum.

Chris S said...

Best wishes to you always!

Maureen Cracknell Handmade said...

Thank you! At times it is so hard, much too hard to talk or write about, but it's always good to share after some times goes by. Things have gotten so much better for me in these last few weeks. I'm doing much better!

Thanks again!!

Jane Skoch said...

I'm so sorry to hear about that! I have pondered that question - what if something happened to my hands or eyes and I couldn't knit and sew. I like to believe that our minds and bodies would seek out a creative outlet somehow. Good luck on your quilt commitments. It will be so meaningful to your nieces and nephews and to you.

Melia Mae Quilting said...

That is going to be such a sweet and special "gift" for the children in your life. It will be a cherished keepsake for them as they grow up. Plus I think homemade gifts are the best! I am planning on making my kids pocket pillows this year too. This will be the year of "pillows" for me:) So good luck with your endeavor on the quilts. I am very excited to see each one as your progress unfolds!

abengel said...

Even if you found out you were sensitive to the dyes, you wouldn't quit making quilts. You'd just have to say, "Well, today I'm going to make quilts, and this is the price I'm going to pay for it." That's what I have to do. I have fibromyalgia, and if a spend an afternoon sewing, I'll spend the next two days paying for it. It sucks, but I've given up a whole lot of other things because of fibromyalgia, and I'll be damned if I'll give up sewing, too! Hang in there. Remember that you have to feed your soul in order to be a whole person. You can't give up everything. If making quilts feeds your soul, go make them! And damn the consequences!

DebbieS said...

I love the fabrics you've chosen for the ant farm quilt and can't wait to see it! I can't imagine how you felt when the doctor thought fabric dyes might be the culprit to your latest flareup. I'm so glad to hear it's not the dyes and your sewing days continue! Keep up the great work. Your quilts are always so beautiful.

Maureen Cracknell Handmade said...

You are completely right, but when I was feeling desperate I was totally willing to give up just about anything to feel better. I was only asked to consider it for about 6 months to see if my skin dramatically improved without handling both all the fabrics and felt I use each day. But in the end, the possibility of not being able to make as much as I do just motivated me to make more and to make better! :)

MoeWest said...

Do you wash your fabric yardage? It might help to remove the chemicals before you work with the fabric. I love the fabrics you picked for Owen's ant farm quilt!

Sharonius said...

Thank you for sharing. Your quilts are VERY inspiring to me, and I can't wait to see more through the rest of this year. Have you been tested for Celiac Disease? I ask, because I have a close family member that suffered from very similar autoimmune issues (that did not present themselves in the typical way), and finally discovered several years later that it was caused by Celiac Disease.

Maureen Cracknell Handmade said...

Yes, I have a few different autoimmune diseases, although there is no link to having Celiac and my skin disease. At my appointment, the new doctor I saw thought that was the case right away, since even thought I'm gluten free I still cook with gluten foods for my family, but then the pathologies from my biopsies ruled that out. What I have is really unusual and it makes no sense to anyone. I'm doing much better these last few weeks and I'm feeling good. ;)

jan said...

OMG - i love all your fabrics! The ant farm will be adorable. My daughter had several ant far,s when she was little - I am awaiting Koi. It looks gorgeous! I am very glad fabric isn't the culprit - it will be as you say - Things will turn out as they should! Can't wait to see your quilts - Have a blast!!
\jan@http://sewandsowfarm.blogspot.com/

Jessica said...

Wow maureen, that is crazy to be in fear that one of your fabric might have been a health hazard! I can't even imagine. So glad they ruled that out and we all still get to watch you create. Miss you!

Linda said...

Good luck getting them done! I know you can do it!

Anne said...

Normally when someone would say that they have nine quilts to finish in less than 6 months I would seriously doubt the likelihood of them being able to meet such a goal, but YOU, you can do this!! Can;t wait to see them all come together!

Jess said...

Glad that sewing is still an option! How do you decide what size quilt to make when you're making them for gifts?

Kathy @ Kwilty Pleasures said...

I have used those backyard baby prints....love the ants!!!! Good luck with your goals in quilting and your health!

Amanda Picard said...

I've recently started following you, (and even went back to the beginning of your blog to catch up!) and I love all your quilts and your vulnerability!

Madeleine said...

Thanks for sharing so much of yourself. It is great to see the real side of life in addition to the amazing things you make. I think we don't let ourselves share difficulties enough and that just makes us think that we are alone in them. You are amazing and I love all your work!

Linda Crosby said...

Good news about not being infected by your fabric because that would be a shame. I have no doubt that you will be able to finish your quilts for your special little people. Be well in mind and spirit!!

Ginger said...

Maureen you are such an inspiration to me.

S said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I have a couple autoimmune diseases myself and struggle with the unknown. Why I'm sick and no one else is the most frequent question that pops in my mind. Dealing with serious illness can be destructive and depressing. I'm glad you found peace in quilting. That's where I find mine :)

Spolgarquilts.wordpress.com

usagypsy said...

Those fabrics are beautiful! I'm thinking what pretty pillow cases they would make. You have so much motivation! I have 2 quilts I'm determined to get finished for Christmas. I would love to do more, but I know there is so many more crafty things I want to get done. I don't want to set myself up for failure. I understand how you feel about not wanting to talk about your condition. I have kidney disease and it took me a very long time to even say the name of my condition. Now it is just a part of who I am. I have good days and bad days. Right now going through some bad, but it will get better. Good luck with your sewing! You've inspired me to get my butt in gear!

Ella said...

I can only imagine your panic. I'm struck how many folks I know suffer from autoimmune issues or severe allergy reactions who are silent about them. Thank you for sharing, if even just a little bit of, the journey. I'm so glad you haven't had to face giving up what you love!

Donna~~ said...

You've a bunch of lovely fabrics and projects ahead of you! Do you pre-wash--it would remove much of the chemicals, just in case. I've been having a skin issue of unknown cause too. I quit gluten and dairy, and improved significantly, but it took me forever to isolate that they were the problem (my skin reacts hours to 2 days later). I know there is at least one more food that's a problem, but it is now tolerable. I also found that my sad skin had problems with the steroid creams I was given to help it. It's very frustrating, so I wish you the best--hope you can figure out a solution!

Annette said...

I'm so glad you don't have to give up sewing, but I do hope they can figure out the problem. I'm looking forward to seeing the quilts as you make them!

barbara woods said...

praying for you dear

Jodi @ Tickle and Hide said...

Maureen, you are so courageous! I think it is a beautiful thing to let our struggles and joys shape our art. I think my miscarriage did that too. Freed me up to make what I love to do. xxx

Serena Edwards said...

Wow Maureen, your heart must have sunk when your doctor uttered those words to you. Sounds like you have a busy quilt schedule ahead of you. I look forward to seeing them all come to life :)

Maureen Cracknell Handmade said...

Yes, dealing with having several Autoimmune diseases is such a huge part of my everyday, it's just become impossible for me to never mention it here. For now, I'm just happy those scary days are over and that I'm doing so much better today!

Thanks for taking the time to comment! The support I receive here has been amazing and so helpful! xx Maureen

Maureen Cracknell Handmade said...

Thank you Ginger! :)

Karen @ Pieces of Contentment said...

Do you wash all your fabrics (with gloves or washing machine) before you store or use them? I've heard of another with allergies to dye and other chemicals in unwashed fabric. I hope you can find more answers. My husband is off work for at least the rest of this week with ongoing chronic total body eczema, it is so debilitating for him and all of us as a family.

Maureen Cracknell Handmade said...

Thank you so much for following and for taking the time to comment today! The support I receive here has been amazing and unbelievably helpful! xx Maureen

Maureen Cracknell Handmade said...

Thank you Jess! Well, making twin size for each of them is just impossible, besides they all already have their cute bedrooms and I wanted to make something in a size that they can use day to day, from on the couch to in the car. The quilts will be a variety of sizes ranging from 40"x48" like the one I most recently made for Haila, to one's that will be around 48"x64" like the Stitched Typography I made Jacob!

Maureen Cracknell Handmade said...

Wow, thank you Anne! The pressures on! Haha

Maureen Cracknell Handmade said...

Thank you Jane, I'm excited to make them throughout these next few months!

I completely agree with what you say, I do think if that were to happen we would just adapt. I already had a pretty good plan in the works to get around handling dyed fabrics and still being able to sew. One that might be worth doing anyways! lol

Maureen Cracknell Handmade said...

Thank you Janelle!! You can do it! ;)

Michelle said...

I am SEW happy it's not the dye!

Cyndi Frailing Nelson said...

WOW! What a roller coaster ride for you :( Hope you are able to figure out what is causing all of these problems for you. Your quilts are an inspiration, glad you can continue making your beautiful quilts!

Cat Crain said...

Wow... Thanks for sharing! I know that it must not have been easy for you. So glad it's not the fabric! I couldn't imagine possibility of losing one of my creative outlets... Keep up the incredible work!

And even though it's hard now, know that it will only make you stronger and able to take on harder things in stride in life later on.

*HUGS*

Kellers said...

Thank you for sharing with us. I love to see the beautiful quilts you make. I am very thankful for you that what you love to do isn't the problem!

Donna said...

I'm sorry to hear of the problems you're having with your autoimmune disease. Reading your post, I wondered about the possibility of the finishes on fabrics. I'm chemically sensitive and cannot go into fabric stores or handle fabric that has not been washed, sometimes multiple times, because of the formaldehyde that is in the sizing or finish. Just a thought. I hope you find some answers!

pasqueflower said...

Love your fabric choices, as always. I also love Rashida Coleman Hale fabrics.

I pray you get some good answers soon about what is triggering your autoimmune disease flare-ups. So frustrating.

9 quilts!! Well--you still have 5 months to go. 2 per month, right?

Pamela Neal said...

Maureen you are such an inspiration to me. I have an autoimmune disease also and some days I don't feel like getting out of bed let alone sitting at a sewing machine but on those days that I do it is so easy to forget how I feel.
I am a brand new quilter...starting at an age where I should have made oodles of quilts by now. Sadly there is only one precious quilt of mine out there that I presented to my daughter on her 16th birthday over a decade ago.
I actually hand stitched the quilt top while I was bed ridden but I machine quilted it.
I pray that you will have many good days and can't wait to see your finished product! So excited to have found your blog! God Bless!

feelincrafty said...

I love that backyard baby series! I just sold some this morning that I love! And that nautical is great too! We have some in the shop that I so want to use for something!!

kelli said...

Have you tried the Paleo diet? I have severe skin reactions (excema and something else). The Paleo diet has helped dramatically, but I am also terrible allegeric to many stablizers, starches, detergents, dyes, etc. I have to wash all fabric before touching it with my bare hands. I handle most fabrics with cotton gloves. If you find an answer please share, there are many of us suffering similar afflictions that would benefit from the shared story, the sympathic words, and the many helpful hints found in your comments! Keep up the great work!

Karen said...

I'm so glad that dye has been ruled out as a problem. I do know someone who has extreme allergies and always has to wash her fabric immediately upon receiving it. It has to travel home from the store in the trunk of her car, not inside. Fortunately, she is able to quilt once it has been washed properly (with a specific soap, also to avoid allergy flare-ups).

Have fun finishing those other quilts. I think it's neat that you are able to use that possible diagnosis to a wonderful result.

Cathy said...

Thank you for sharing your journey with autoimmune disease. Glad you are still sewing away! I love, love, love the collection of fabrics for Owen's Ant Farm quilt. Can't wait to see the finished product!

mherath said...

Glad you are doing better. My daughter has fibromyalgia and idiopathic neuropathy so I understand how you feel. Those are great fabrics for quilts and you are going to be busy. Sometimes that's a good thing.

kristin said...

Geez Maureen - add me to the chorus of folks that are so happy it isn't the fabric dye, though even if it was I know you'd find a way - wear gloves and long sleeves when you sewed, wash it in special detergent first, SOMETHING. i think when making things becomes such a part of you, you'd find a way. I do hope they find out what's causing this, though, and that it's something stupid and easy to fix. Take care!!

Teresa Stanulis said...

Maureen, I have an autoimmune skin disease. I had forgotten that during the months of testing, I thought fabric contributed to the painful itching. After many months of figuring out what meds worked, my disease in managed well through meds. I hope the same occurs for you soon!

Katy Cameron said...

I was about to commend you on your organisation until I saw the reason, sorry about that! Glad it wasn't the dye, though I do hope you can get to the bottom of it

Karen Propes said...

So sad, I have medical issues and sometimes can't use my hands, if I couldn't sew I'd go crazy. You're in my prayers, hopefully you will get good news. I love the idea of quilts for the kids. I'm amazed at how much they really do appreciate them. Since my Granddaughter was born I've made her a quilt every year, and started making fabric books into quilts for her. The last was for Easter, a Peter Rabbit quilt. I need to post my pics, but she so loves each one and will get a specific quilt when she reads her books. Not being able to see the joy in her eyes when she opens her next quilt is what makes me battle thru my MS. Thanks for all your sharing and caring for us. Now we are directing it back to you in our prayers.

Lorri Foley said...

Love the frost collection

**nicke... said...

you are such a wise soul and im so so so so glad that we are friends! i just love you!!!