A Sappy Fall Tale & Lessons From Tilly


It's been a bit of a trying time for me. A week ago last Thursday I had a fall...tumbling backwards into a few immovable, hard objects. The pain was the worst I have experienced to date. Breath-taking...quite literally. The following day I decided that a trip to the doctors might be in order since the weekend was fast approaching and I worried about how I was going to mange if it got worse. DH carefully loaded me into the card and off we went. After a couple of hours and 15 x-rays I went home to wait for a call. The initial thought was that I had a broken hip and/or collarbone. When the call came there was good news and bad news. Good news that my hip and collarbone were fine, and, best of all, that the metal-works in my back were still in place. The bad news was that I had two spinal fractures (L4, L5...near where one of the fusions is).

I have been encamped in/on my "easy-chair" for a week. Sleeping in bed was much too painful and although sleeping in a chair is less than perfect- it has been easier and more comfortable. I sleep, watch the tube, gnash my teeth over the political insanity and have had time to think...oddly enough I had no wisp of a desire to stitch...until yesterday! Things must surely be looking up! I am quite distressed over this latest "back business" and wonder how quickly the bones will heal and I when I will be able to get back to normal. I worry about the future since I have have been living with daily pain for years now...will it be the same? Worse? Better maybe!? I am not a particularly patient patient, but I also accept that I have to play this one "by the rules". The blessing, and I think it is just that, is that this could have been much worse...much worse.

I have had lots of time to think...and Tilly and my relationship to 4 legged has been one of odd topics that has crossed my mind. I love creatures. They awe me and inspire me. I like dogs and they seem to like me well enough too, but it is cats that have been a life long love for me. I relate to them so much better than dogs. I have been privileged to be owned by many felines over the years, but Tilly, cat of my heart, has touched me in a way that few others have. She adopted me/us when she was three years old and DH and I have been spellbound by her ever since. She's a one in a million kind of girl- beautiful, funny and very smart.
As I pondered this deep, inter-species connection I began to think of the lessons that Tilly has already taught me:
  • Age is not an indicator of desirability. Just as non-kitten cats have a lot to offer, older humans have stories to tell and wisdom to share. Don't judge everyone only by what you think you know about them....we all have had fascinating lives before the moment we meet.
  • Don't judge a cat or human by it's "cover story". Some cats and people need safety and security to really blossom and the we may appear at first glance most likely isn't the real story.....sort of goes along with the lesson above.
  • Yes, of course I am worthy! Of great, unconditional love, good food, spoiling, tenderness and praise.
  • Love, acceptance, and kindness can coax out the deepest love of even the most tentaive, life-weary and fearful of us....both 4 and 2 legged.
  • Be joyful! Enjoy the simple blessings of pettings, kisses, food, warmth, routines and love. Roll around, act goofy and revel in life!
  • Go with the flow. Nap when you need to, eat what you like, toss your toys in the air if you want to. Enjoy kind attentions but don't be afraid to make it clear that you need time alone. Tomorrow is another day and when something not-so-good happens...it will pass. Things are always better after a nap.
  • Life can be a gamble. Sometimes the path you are on just does not work out, but finding a new way forward can bring unimagined blessings and love.

Tilly has brought so much into our lives. I first saw her as I was approaching my second back surgery in 2010. I wasn't looking to adopt or be adopted, but I do have "a thing" for white four-paws.There she was, ready and willing to take on the challenge of two humans who wanted nothing more than to smother her with love. In truth, she is the best gift that surgery brought and now she is a gift for healing.

The lessons come every day! So love your 4 pawed companions as deeply as you can and learn to see the lessons that you can learn from them!

Fall has arrived in our neck of the woods...it's the season when I miss my New England home the most...but even here in the most. Orthern place of the Pacific Northwest the colors are are saturated and beautiful!

 

Aurifil's New 80wt Appliqué Thread

The changes that getting older bring can be amusing at times. When I was younger I eagerly awaited hearing about a new job or pay raises, what the weekend might bring, what art I hoped to make soon...those kind of life experience kind of things. Lately though, my 'awaiting moments' are far more simple.

 

Thread! Yes, I have been eagerly waiting to try Aurifil's new appliqué thread...an smooth, strong, 80wt cotton. It seems that my 'making' life has been dominated by hand sewing and hand appliqué lately. Therefore, anything that tends to make my stitches look smaller and blend better is on my radar. Over the years I have used a lot of varieties of appliqué thread. Who doesn't love stitching with silk thread?! It's soft, lustrous and blends so well! My issue with sewing with most silk threads was that it tended to break a lot. I tried to love Superior Threads Bottom Line poly and Wonderfil's Invisifil poly. The problem? I really tend to be old school and I prefer sewing with cotton thread. Superior Threads pre-filled bobbin rings of their many colored Masterpiece 50 wt cotton have been my go-to appliqué thread for quite some time now. The bobbin rings are so handy and the color range is large...what's not to love?! Masterpiece replaced my myriad small spools of Mettler 50wt that had been my appliqué staple for many years before the wonders of Masterpiece pulled me in. I have two Mettler thread carriers one with the warm side of the color wheel and the other filled with the cooler side. An investment for certain....and I still return to these stashes quite often for particular shades of blues, reds and purples especially. Money well spent back then.

 

Amid all of these options though I kept dreaming of something even more perfect. I wanted a thin, smooth, strong cotton! Recently I discovered that one my favorite thread purveyors, Aurifil, would be introducing a new, cotton, 80wt appliqué thread at Market this fall in Houston...and,ostensibly, it would be available at Festival too. Alas, my personal exchequer would not allow for me to go to Houston and so I started searching the 'net' .... and found The Fat Quarter Shop, the bountiful, wonderful, online purveyor of all things quilty had some sets of this wonderous new product but they were out-of-stock. Once again, patience off. Since I had requested re-stock notification I found out as soon as this set was available again and pressed the magic "buy-me" button. Voila! Today I received my set of "Essential Appliqué" colors and I may be in thread love heaven!

I find that most appliqué works very well using these "essential" colors and so I had to begin my Aurifil 80w collection with this set...oh my! another sewing addiction to add to my "I want more" list. This 80 stars cotton is veerrry smooth and amazingly strong. Later today I will play with it some more and hope to have some examples to show before long. If you are a hand appliqué/hand sewing fan I think that you need to give this amazing new thread a try. I think that Aurifil has a new winner in their "thread stable"!

I wish I had ALL weights of Aurifil for examples in black, but I don't...so I have used similar weight and the image above shows

from RIGHT TO LEFT:

  • SUPERIOR Threads POLYESTER Bottom Line in Raven (black)
  • AURIFIL new 80 weight COTTON appliqué thread in black
  • AURIFIL Mako 50wt cotton in color 1130 ( dark brown)
  • SUPERIOR Masterpiece 50 wt cotton in Raven (black)
  • WONDERFIL Konfetti 50wt cotton (an all time favorite of mine)
  • SULKY 12wt cotton in black (I am a big fan of Sulky 12 wt, but SUPERIOR thread has come out with a delectable line of 12wt thread called "Sew Sassy" I love to use 12 wt for top-stitching and "big stitch" quilting...more than perle cottons which tend to spread much more.

Threads have come such a long way since "the old days" when one brand dominated the market. I am so happy to have such an amazing and varied selection these days. The thread companies have really responded to consumer requests I think.

Do you have favorite threads and/or thread brands ?

So you use a favorite hand appliqué thread?

Do you use 'essential thread colors" for most hand appliqué or do tend to carefully match colors?

Have you tried a variety of thread brands? Which ones and why?

Now...back to my regularly scheduled hand sewing projects!

 

KOGIN SASHIKO

Above: One of my first attempts used as a birthday card for a friend made using 16 count Aida In August,  Susan Briscoe , published her book...