Its been a while since I made an entry. I know when I started blogging I promised that I would write a work in progress entry on the Wednesday of each week and a thoughts/ mind dump on the weekend. Well, my work in progress until recently has been painfully slow and my mind has not been running at capacity for a while.

Regular readers will know that I suffer from a deteriorating back condition. Well its been getting worse recently. I’m now living in a brace and its taken some getting used to. Its also taken its toll on my well being, particularly my mental well being. Chronic pain is very difficult to live with and thankfully having quilting does make a difference, but even with that I have been struggling with feelings of low self-worth and descending slowly but surely into a rather deep black pit.

I’m now hauling myself out of it with help from friends and my partner, but its been a struggle. Quilting which is something that I normally am desperate to do has not been giving me the joy and pleasure it normally does.

While I looked back a few weeks ago and recognised that three months ago my cardiologist had revised his prognosis of my heart condition and gave me years longer to quilt, it didn’t renew my vigour in quilting. In fact I was enjoying very little. It took a friend to observe that I was depressed, not just blue but more than that and recognising that I made an effort to do something about it. I’m never one to not take the bull by the horns and I did this time.

I’m now feeling much more myself, I have a higher dose of happy pills and after a week I can feel the difference. Life is not so bleak. Quilting is giving me joy again. A lot of that can be traced back to yesterday and to Friday.

I gave a talk to a local group of quilters, the Golden Girls on Saturday afternoon. They were a delight to share my quilts with. They responded to the show and tell with lots of questions and were clearly thrilled with what they saw.

On Friday there was another show and tell at Mill Rose Cottage. All those that attended classes throughout the year were invited to attend and to show what they had done.

I was delighted to be there and to see what all the groups had done over the last 12 months. There was a huge range of work, stuffed toys, modern quilts, three dimensional quilts – it was massively impressive.

I was delighted to see that my BOM squad produced a terrific selection of traditional quilts and I was able to share some the product of the last 12 months.

I didn’t think that I had been that productive over the last year but when I gathered together quilts to take I realised that I had been much more productive than I thought. There were the two most recent red and white quilts which while weren’t yet quilted they were finished.

There was the carnation quilt which I’ve called the Belle of St Louis

there were quilts that I finished and had submitted for publication including Malmaison.

And of course there was General Jac. It took me a long time to complete but he is now bound and hung on my studio wall. There were audible gasps as a revealed it at the Mill Rose show and tell, and again bigger gasps at the Golden Girls talk.

It is a terrific quilt. I am delighted with it. It evolved while it was being made but I think that has made it a better quilt. The quilting took much longer than I expected but it was worth it. Currently it is my favourite quilt. But there again, the last quilt you make is your favourite and I would say that in most cases is the best quilt you have made. All those years of work culminate in producing it. All the classes you have taken, all the lessons you personally have learnt have led to produce a quilt you can say is as good as you can make. General Jac is certainly that for me at the moment.

I have no doubt that I will make quilts in the future that will surpass General Jac for my love of quilting has been renewed but right now I look at him on the wall and remember the struggles, the frustrations, the disappointments but also the surprises, the delights and the relief of completing it.

Its a bit like life really, its not all roses, but there are times when it is so good it doesnt feel real, and there are times when it is bleak and bad. The bad times make the good times even better and that is where I’m getting to now.