Quilting as a metaphor for life


For some time now, I have had a list in my head of UFO’s – UnFinished Objects.  Quilt projects I really need to complete.  Probably most quilters have this – something needs to be layered and quilted but it gets set aside because cutting out fabric for a new quilt is more fun.  Another project needs binding and the strips are cut but I have not seen them for a year…things like that.

So yesterday I completed one quilt – hooray!

The green flowers.

Here it is before the binding.  It is a small lap size, it needed binding and for the specific quilting to be completed.  I know I was doing it out of order …..some of these things happen. I found the binding strips, I prepared them for mitered binding and that went together really well.  Then I did some shadow quilting around the little “block shaped” hearts and I’m suddenly done.  What a great feeling that was.

The next project I turned to has been a worrisome messy issue I need to resolve for the past 3 months.  18 mo ago, I finished a king sized quilt top for Len’s and my bed.  I even had some lovely Cuencana friends help me layer it.

So it had safety pins for basting because there is NOOOO way to get that highly volatile tacky  quilting spray 505 down here.  Not safe to take on a plane (duh), not safe to send in the mail, not safe to put on someone else’s container. and no here seems to ever have heard of it.   So I very reluctantly stopped using that product !as a way to tack the layers together.   I’ve actually found that hand basting is not bad and I get a better smooth outcome than with quilter’s pins, although I have a lot of those and use them also.

So the King quilt top was all layered, pinned and ready to quilt and bind…18 months ago…Oh the SHAME!  it got cold here in Cuenca and I put this beautiful quilt on my bed and never took it off.  Other people worried we were sleeping under the safety pins but they were “safe”.  So no rush to complete it, right?  I made a lot of other quilts while enjoying the warmth and bright colors of the King sized bed quilt.  DENIAL: this  is the denial part: I did not see it as a problem.  I knew I would get to it someday soon…but I kept starting another project and another.

The BRIGHT king size quilt is cheerful any time of day

The BRIGHT king size quilt is cheerful any time of day

But then disaster struck.  I adopted 2 kitties about 9 mo ago.  The female unexpectedly went into “heat” or estrus at 4.5 mos of age,  June 10,

the day after I asked our vet “Should we spay her now because there is a strange male cat wandering by at night?”

Vet said “no, let’s wait a month – she is so young.”   And I agreed!

But, Curry’s biological clock went off in a big way and she sprayed, yup, you guessed it, in the middle of my gorgeous pin-basted quilt top. Having never been around a cat in heat, I was really shocked.  Yeah, yeah, yeah, I grew up on a farm but we always had neutered cats around.

And since you already know I do denial well, I carefully removed the quilt from the bed and placed it in an empty cupboard with every intent of figuring out what the heck to do. I sensed something special would be needed to remove the cat urine smell.  I knew the basted quilt top would never stand up to machine washing. And I have no large facility to hand wash it carefully by myself.  I was flummoxed!

So now, at last, 3 months later I am taking the steps I must to complete this beautiful quilt.

I removed the pins and hand-basted the HUGE quilt.  I also did a few basic quilting passes to hold it all in place since I will not quilt and bind it until after it is fully cleaned.  I need a black light  to zero in on specific spots…but…being in Ecuador,  I do not know if that is realistic so I’ve done the sniff test.  Thank goodness, it is not as bad as I’d expected but…needs special treatment and extreme handle with care.

Found the way to treat  cat urine spots on the internet.  See link below.

Next,  I learned how to ask for hydrogen peroxide in Spanish,  My friend’s Taylor and Richard helped me. I gathered the other supplies together. My friend Cheryl offered her extra large washer but this mammoth quilt may just be too big…that will be determined.

Tomorrow, I will hand apply the solution, let is stand at least 2 hours, and then have it washed – first with white vinegar only added to the wash cycle, and then a second cycle with a mild detergent.

I love my cats but this made me a believer of early neutering! When my husband reads this, he will probably want to boycott the sweet

almost-grown NEUTERED kitties.

Curry and Saffron kitties

What is the worst mess you have put off dealing with?  How do you get yourself to push past the steps of a quilt that you do not care for?  I have never liked binding but I’m really trying to keep pushing on. My methods are improving with practice but I’d farm that out in a heartbeat if I could.

Shame at putting important things off is a hard trait/behavior to look at.

Guilt about UFO’s piling up is not fun either. And whatever issues come up for you as a quilter, probably these issues crop up in your daily life in other ways.  Life is Grand!  Life Sucks!  – it is all there, wrapped up together.

However, I’m resolved to get some of these projects completed, the quilts up on my walls and then move on to the two newer quilt projects I’m working on. My joy comes from taking gorgeous fabric and making it into a quilt.  I want to get back to joyful!


Removing Cat Urine


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