Springtime brought sunshine, birds singing, fruit on the trees out back, but still, for me, no new lease on life. It did bring a few feathered friends I will never forget. Two parrots, (escapee’s I’m sure.)
I heard strange bird noises one day and wheeled on out there to see what the ruckus was about. Beyond our patio and in the fig tree were two beautiful green parrots chatting away in mumbling monotone voices. Now you may ask why are these birds significant to this? Because it was those birds that motivated me to venture even further out of the house/chair/isolation. At least three times a day I went out to feed them from a far. They wouldnt let me near, but would eat what I left for them. If I hadnt hurried to do this, they would leave and find food elsewhere. They needed me, so I had to move my .... legs. Oh wait, maybe it was me who needed them:). Now have you pondered about how my physical therapy came not from doctors and machines, but from fabric and feathers?
I became stronger as the months rolled past. By fall my birds had left me and I was up and walking and asking anyone with a voice how to make a quilt. I feel like such a goof now for doing what I did. Some clerk at a fabric shop told me that I needed a 10 ounce poly batt, and to tie the quilt. This required much wrestling. And as a gluten for punishment, I even embroidered the binding!!! What was THAT about?????
Good thing I’m getting in shape now eh? Being the sponge that I was I soaked up all that I could after that. I joined classes and followed women around quilt shops eves dropping. I heard many of them talking about get togethers at guild night. ( WTF is a guild night?) So I made up a Stitch & Bitch night of my very own. ( actually I think it was Heather who made it up) By now I had made enough progress walking for my Walt, that I owned a nice sewing machine, a class travel machine, 2 of my Moms machines, all the tools I could gather, a growing stash of fabric, oh yes! And a puppy. Fannie Ann, the Pug extrodinaire.
I called my girls over on Wednesday evening.Betty Anne and Heather being the first. Who knew then that the stitch & Bitch night would continue for many years to come. Some weeks 3 of us, and some as many as 10! With each passing Wednesday came new ideas. I loved solving all the worlds’ problems over humming machines, coffee, music and laughter. I began to form Thimblina in my mind. My business plan was drafted alone, as I was afraid to say that I was going to be a quilter someday. Afraid to admit that my past career was just that, past. It wasn’t until my doctor finally said it to me himself. “Your body won’t let you go back.” I was not a candidate for back surgery, but knee replacement was a must. While dealing with even more physical therapy I plotted a course for a new life. I decided to trade the heels in for sneakers and the power lunches became trips to Barnes and Noble to fill my head with more stuff for the business plan. I saw ads for Gammill quilting machines and I was quite impressed with its capabilities. In further research I found that this would be a wonderful job for me because with this back injury, I could stand alot easier than I could sit! I added it to the clipboard. Because I have a clipboard for everything. (learned behavior) ( or is that baggage? I'm not sure)
In the meantime, while recuperating from the knee surgery, I had developed yet another issue. Good gravy you say.... yep yep yep... I am deathly afraid of stairs. (who woulda thunk?)
I was afraid of being afraid for Pete's sake! I could no more go up a flight of stairs than I could roller-skating. They called this one post traumatic disorder. PPfftt.. I received a wonderful Christmas gift from Walt after the surgery. A helper, a friend, and yes, another vessel in which to gain strength. Sir Rudy the Parrot. (His namesake Sir Rudy Giuliani) You guys saw Castaway with Tom Hanks eh? Remember the volleyball? Wilson? Need I say more? Geez I love him.
By spring of 2002 I feel some sanity being restored due to quilting heavily. ( notice I didn’t say drinking heavily). My inner strength was coming back, and I think I was actually, genuinely pissed at the whole idea of being shall we say... challenged? I was determined now to walk, sew, run (to the nearest retreat) and make my own Thimblina, and maybe, I’ll have stairs! The following year proved to be difficult, but rewarding. I finished the business plan, I concurred the trembles and sweats of the big bad stairs, I was released by my team of doctors. (the physical ones, not the shrinks) ( I saw you smile), and my hubby built studio #1, Thimblina’s first home. It was so grand with wall to wall windows and lit up like a Christmas tree! You should have seen the happy faces on all the stitch n bitchers now!!! We were dancing and singing and sewing! The last bribe came in that year too....Walt whispered one evening after enjoying all of us enjoying ourselves.... “Gina, if you make the decision to commit to Thimblina, we will get the Gammill”. I think the man loves me, what ya think?
I made a trip to Montreal and confided in my dear friend Blima of my plans. She is an honorary S & B member cause when she is here she cooks for us while we sew for her!( I wish it was every week) While in Montreal she took me to a quaint little quilt shop there and I told her that THIS shop, I have seen before. In my minds eye. It was quite the epiphany. We also have another friend in Niagara On the lake who would become my Sensi, my quilting mentor. I knew that this was my new future. I’m a quilter. I am a machine quilter now! My classes turned into super sized classes! Seattle! Canada! California! Kansas! Gone were the piecer days, and a new fear was born! How do I do this? More importantly, How do I do this as well as I did my former career? NO! Better because it bears my name!
Fast forward four years, cause I know you are either getting bored or gotta go potty one... I PPP therefore I am. I learn on a daily basis. Doing well, getting better at it everyday, and in many techniques, pretty darn good if I must say so myself! Thank you teachers) Still in the red, but happy and about to launch Phase 2 of my plan, storefront property:) Phase 3 wont be far behind now will it? I love my quilting community, customers, and colleagues. Time did close yesterday’s door, and opened a picture window of sunshine complete with perfumed blossoms just waiting to pop open!
Now... if I could just lose weight, do ya think I could be bribed? How about a second machine? ::big Snickers:: ( yes, hubby loves the Biz too, as he has his eye on a computerized machine:)
BTW I must tell you that only one quilt top remains hanging from those days. In the back of my mind I wonder if I keep it here just to preserve history, or keep me humble...or Because I see the error of my piecer ways?...Not sure... It is the one for the grand daughter I hadnt had yet.. I have one now... somebody make me go quilt it k? Mom? LOL! Mom has one too, but I cant find a picture of hers.. (still checking)
This one is my Grandson's...........I swear I embroidered on anything that would hold still! Hence the tagline, A Stitch In Time, Saves My Mind!