when I was first told that the bath was, '...the epidural of the birth centre' I snorted. I mean I knew I wanted to try my hardest to have a drug-free birth, more out of a fear of hospitals and needles than anything else, but still I thought there was no way a bath - a bath - could compare with the sensation of having an epidural. Could it?
i remember so clearly stepping into the deep waters of the enormous bath at the birth centre of my local hospital when I was in labour with Sienna and feeling that it was not water I was stepping into but instead that it was a huge vat of thick, viscous honey. And in that moment I thought, "Ah, so this is what they meant"!
i went on to give birth in that bath twice. and whilst the water was an amazing part of the experience the most unforgettable aspect of that bathroom, was the green tiles on the wall. even now sitting here typing I can conjure up the exact feeling of relaxation they imparted onto me. now I would never have called myself a lover of green - I mean, it's not a colour to hate by any means but I wouldn't say I have ever been naturally drawn towards it. not until I saw those tiles.
those tiles were my epidural.
and so I guess it was no surprise that those soothing tiles re-entered my mind a few days ago when I was desperately seeking some kind of ritual to mark the brief journey that the little soul I had been carrying had taken. All other suggestions I came across for marking this life seemed to involve setting something adrift - flowers thrown into the sea, bubbles or balloons released into the sky.
but i had never held or even seen this baby so how was I ever going to let it go? And then I saw it. in my mind's eye I saw a quilt. a quilt with green squares to represent those green tiles that, with any luck, I would have again been seeking comfort in when I gave birth to this baby in six months time. a quilt that I could quite literally 'labour' over, meditate upon, and when it was completed, wrap myself - and whoever else wanted to join me - in.
a quilt that I would have forever.
but where to begin? I have never made a quilt before but for the last six months or so I have found myself borrowing books on quilting from the library, or ducking into a local quilting shop, "just to have a look" (ok, and buying the odd fat quarter - or five). The list of blogs I follow has seemed to feature a growing list of very inspiring quilters (among other things) including Kate from One Flew Over, Tam from 1/4 of an inch, happythings, Jennifer at JCasa *handmade, Sarah at Quince and Quire and Alison from 6.5 stitches.
i have never taken a class and so I had no idea really where to begin. All i knew was that it needed to have squares and they needed to be green. So last Saturday I looked through my blog list for someone who had a recent quilting post and an email address and so ended up contacting the incredibly talented Kate from Two Little Banshees. Poor Kate got my whole, raw story in an email as well as my requests for some creative direction and quick as flash responded with warm thoughts as well as a book recommendation and some flickr links.
what followed was a Saturday night that saw me flicking through over three and a half thousand of the most delicious quilts on the Fresh Modern Quilts flickr group (check it out but make a cuppa and settle in- you'll be there for hours and you will not regret it either!). And from all of those the one that i felt most represented the quilt I had seen in my mind was this gorgeous piece from Rita of Red Pepper Quilts (a blog I had not previously been aware of - hidden treasure to me!).
once that quilt was in my head I was like a dog with a bone. I couldn't get it out of my head and so on Sunday afternoon at 4pm I asked Jamie to take me to the quilt show, which just happened to be on in Sydney but finished at 5pm. It was my first time out of the house since my surgery a few days before and my gorgeous husband just jumped up grabbed the keys, cleared it with my sister who was staying for few days to look after the kids and off we went.
we were on a mission. I needed everything. Cutting mat, rotary cutter, rulers - if it was a quilting essential I needed it and I needed it now! Considering the time we arrived the various stalls I visited were (wo)manned by people who, whilst weary, were still so blessedly patient and generous with their advice. I managed to get a hold of a copy of Material Obsession (one of Kate's suggestions) and got it signed by Kathy to boot! At a Brisbane-based stall I managed to get my hands on some Amy Butler 'Midwest Modern' fabric and then grabbed some slightly more muted green tones from another stall.
(and so here is the Sunday Stash bit ...)
ok babes are awake.
to be continued ...