A few months ago, Thomas Knauer asked me to be part of his Abecedarian Quilt-A-Long. I've been working hard this year at Sewing Selfishly, and saying no to projects, so I thought this would be a great time to make myself a quilt before the fall semester started. I planned out a brilliant, very meta quilt using a quote from this letter Mark Twain sent to Helen Keller. I was going to make it with second hand clothing and Thomas' Thesaurus fabric. It was going to be artsy and sensational. And then something stopped me in my tracks.
I am part of a group of friends that have known each other since we were pregnant with our now almost four year olds. We're a motley crew, spanning all ages, backgrounds, and beliefs. Despite our differences and heated discussions, we've remained friends. Thanks to the internet, we have what feels like a four year long, never ending coffee date. Angela is part of our group. She's just entered her thirties, is married, and has three young kids. Angela is a book nerd, likes to cook, and is a real smart ass . I like her a lot.
In July, Angela found out she has cancer.
Cancer isn't supposed to happen to my people. It's supposed to happen to other people. And people already dying. And really really old people. And bad people. I know this all isn't how life works, but it all struck me too close to home.
I'm an emotional person. I got mad. Angela lives three thousand miles away. I can't hug her. I can't hold her hand. I can't help her run errands, make her dinner or clean her house. So I scrapped my meta quilt and I made this one just for her.
I had each of our friends email me a message to send to Angela. I used the new Stained by Sharpie fabric markers to transcribe those messages on to the back blocks. That way we can send her our love and support while she is undergoing chemo to kill her Hodgkin's Lymphoma. It pales in comparison to what we would all like to do for Angela. But it's all we got.
Each Braille dot started as a square backed with Pellon Wonder Under. If you haven't tried this yet, you're missing out. I keep it in stock at all times. Next, each of those squares I hand cut with an Olfa Circle cutter. It's a tiny rotary cutter built into a compass and it's freaking brilliant. Perfect circles with the most minimal waste. The Voices were so happy. Forty nine appliqued Braille dots.
I used the extra blank 'letters' I had to make Angela a zippy bag and filled it with organic lollypops from Trader Joes so she can have sweets at the ready if her mouth gets dry and gross tasting. Then I packed it all up and sent it three thousand miles away. Unselfish Sewing makes me feel better.
Oh, you want to know what the secret message in the quilt is?
It says Fuck you Lymphoma!   And I mean it from the very bottom of my heart.
Kick cancer's ass, Angela. We love you.
P.S. All posts for the rest of this month are going to be some seriously selfish sewing, I promise. Bring on Selfish Sewing Week!