Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Announcement

I know that this post has been a long time in coming. Part of me wants to apologize for that, but the other part of me won't with the hope you understand. Some stories are harder to tell than others.

I've said before that I gravitate toward improvisational quilting because I love all the reacting and expressing that is part of the process. Often I end up with a piece that says so much more than I ever intended. Such is the case with this first quilt. I pulled out a whole bunch of red fabrics to play with this summer just because I noticed that I had two duplicate spools of red thread. I started piecing a few rows of improv triangles and had the thought that the quilt needed a little more sparkle. I brainstormed a few ideas on how to add an accent color, and finally decided on surrounding a tiny triangle of gold with more red and insetting them into the rows. I had to laugh because I was also simultaneously brainstorming a way to share the news with my friends and family that we were expecting again. I figured that the pregnant triangles I was piecing into the quilt were good enough for both jobs so I posted a picture of this quilt on social media as a way to share our news.

"The Announcement" finishes at 38" x 56." (The pregnancy will "finish" somewhere in mid to late February.) I used Quilter's Dream Request batting and matchstick quilted it with Aurifil invisible thread so I wouldn't alter any of the color work.




This pregnancy was long awaited and very slow in coming.

When I was a little girl, my siblings were teenagers. Sometimes my parents needed to have a talk that was necessary for older ears, but not so appropriate for mine. Whenever that happened, my mother would stand in front of the kitchen window, gasp in wonder and say, "Look, Jill! Your cat is chasing a butterfly!" I would excitedly run out the door in breathless anticipation to see such a sight and my mom and dad could have a private conversation with the bigger kids.

I've recalled that experience often over the last couple of years and I've decided that there is no better metaphor for infertility than "chasing the butterfly." The process is often long, unpredictable and powered by mere glimpses of what could be. It also feels like an exercise in futility on a lot of days. It can be hard when something so beautiful is so elusive.

I created two quilts exploring this theme. The first, "Chasing the Butterfly I," I made at my mom's house this summer. I used the idea of an Exquisite block from Gwen Marston's book Liberated Quiltmaking II. I blanked out some of the blocks and added an additional color to the scheme to create a lighted path to pull the eye through the quilt. I hand tied the quilt on the long drive home, using the polka dot backing as my marking structure and tying the knots from the back. I used a variegated Valdani thread, so there are tiny winks of color on the front of the quilt that I am especially happy with. The quilt finishes at 39" x 54."



I tried another approach for "Chasing the Butterfly II." I made a full scale drawing of the butterfly, then made myself templates to construct the chunks. I ended up using needle-turn applique to attach everything to a muslin foundation. If I had it to do over again, I would piece it. The curves were gentle enough that this would have been totally possible, and I could have avoided some of the shadowing that I got from the darker red fabrics peeking through the golds. Nonetheless, I still like it. The quilt finishes at 24" x 24." I used invisible thread to matchstick quilt this and it is finished with a faced edge.



I have been a patient at the fertility clinic in our local hospital for the past two years, and I am thankful for all the support and love that has been shown to me during my time there. We were initially very optimistic because after my first appointment, with all of the data gained from the tests and with the treatments prescribed, I was able to become pregnant very quickly.

But then I wasn't. And I wasn't. And I wasn't again.

I have failed at many things in my life, but one thing I have never failed at was getting back up again after a blow. I almost couldn't do it this time. Sitting in the doctor's office with a brand new diagnosis of recurrent miscarriage was one of the lowest points of my life. The last gasp of my faith after the third loss had been to pray for my doctor to know how to help us. At the end of our discussion with a list of expensive and invasive options for my husband and I to consider, I wondered if it would be possible. When the appointment was over, I waited for her to stand up. She didn't. She stared hard at the carpet. She checked my file on the computer and stared at the carpet some more. Finally she said, "I shouldn't need to check this again, but I feel like I need to. Can we add on one more test to your blood work today?" It was the easiest test suggested from my list of options so of course I agreed. Thankfully it revealed a problem, easily fixable with time and medication, and after 3 1/2 years of hoping and trying, we finally had a baby on the way.

"Trying" is my quilt story of the journey through recurrent miscarriage to a miracle baby girl. I used the idea of a wide and narrow log cabin setting with pieced strips to make stylized, unfinished positives. I really love how the finished block resembles a flower. Looking at this quilt isn't a sad experience for me. In it I see that my faith has been tested, but in the end it flowered and made a safe place for my little butterfly to finally land. This quilt finishes at 48" x 48." I used Quilter's Dream Request batting and did straight line quilting with Aurifil invisible thread. It is finished with a faced edge.




Just the other day, my older son rubbed my belly and told me that he just knew that this little baby would be special. "How do you know that?" I asked him. "Because we had to wait so long for her," he said. I'm so excited for her to be born."

Me too.

My next post will not be six months in coming, I promise. Right now I'm on baby watch and nesting with the Pantone Color of the Year. In the meantime, I'll share three minis I also completed in the last few months.

"Curated Cabins," 16" x 16." This one was made for the log cabin prompt from Curated Quilts.


"The Doctor Pepper Sunshiney Pineapple," 12" x 12." I made this one for inclusion in a group birthday gift for a friend. The brief was to include everything citrus. When I asked if a bottle of Dr. Pepper (her favorite) was going to be included, I was told we couldn't put it in because it didn't match the colors.  That was a challenge I couldn't pass up. Mwah-ha-ha! Look what matches now!! My contribution to the gift was this mini and a bottle of Dr. Pepper.


"Reining in My Exuberance," 15" x 15." This was a mini that I made for the minimalist prompt from Curated Quilts.


 Linking up to Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.






63 comments:

  1. Oh Jill!! I am so happy for you! And so sad for all you went through. I experienced several years of secondary infertility, too. Big hugs. The quilts are all beautiful. I'm so looking forward to 'meeting' your little butterfly ~ Tracy

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    1. Thanks, Tracy. I'm sorry for your struggles too. It's a rotten thing to go through. I'm glad I got to process through it all while making the quilts.

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    2. With the help of a man called Dr.Ogbes I was able to get pregnant. i'm 56years of age, it was really difficult for me to pregnant though my husband loves me but it was really hurting me not having my own child but after many years I came across Dr.Ogbes whose email address is Landofanswer@hotmail.com or you reach him direct on his cell phone number +2347050270227 he told me he is going to send me a Herbs for me to drink, and will fall pregnant a week after drinking the Herbs I'm 7months pregnant now and also I will like to advice everyone looking for help to get pregnant to contact this very man via his email address at Landofanswer@hotmail.com or call him on his cell phone number +2347050270227.

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  2. Jill, I have tears of compassion, sadness, joy, and wonder in my eyes after reading your post today. I am so grateful your doctor paused to consider and reconsider. Much love to you, your family, and your new baby.

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    1. Thank you, Yvonne! I greatly appreciate your warm wishes. We all want a doctor that listens, but this particular doctor definitely wins a prize for that from me.

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    2. With the help of a man called Dr.Ogbes I was able to get pregnant. i'm 56years of age, it was really difficult for me to pregnant though my husband loves me but it was really hurting me not having my own child but after many years I came across Dr.Ogbes whose email address is Landofanswer@hotmail.com or you reach him direct on his cell phone number +2347050270227 he told me he is going to send me a Herbs for me to drink, and will fall pregnant a week after drinking the Herbs I'm 7months pregnant now and also I will like to advice everyone looking for help to get pregnant to contact this very man via his email address at Landofanswer@hotmail.com or call him on his cell phone number +2347050270227.

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  3. I don't know you and am not sure how I ended up on your blog today, but am so happy for you and your family. I am glad the problem was easily fixable and that you have a baby coming so very soon. My getting pregnant was easy, my staying pregnant was pretty easy until about the 6th month. I had issues and bed rest after that with the second child. The difficulty only makes the appreciation greater. Your son will welcome his sister because he knows the sadness and then joy associated with having a baby sister. Your story filled my heart with joy.

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    1. I'm so glad you came by today. Thank you for your kind words. I completely agree that we tend to appreciate what we've strived so hard for. My children are my greatest treasure.

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    2. With the help of a man called Dr.Ogbes I was able to get pregnant. i'm 56years of age, it was really difficult for me to pregnant though my husband loves me but it was really hurting me not having my own child but after many years I came across Dr.Ogbes whose email address is Landofanswer@hotmail.com or you reach him direct on his cell phone number +2347050270227 he told me he is going to send me a Herbs for me to drink, and will fall pregnant a week after drinking the Herbs I'm 7months pregnant now and also I will like to advice everyone looking for help to get pregnant to contact this very man via his email address at Landofanswer@hotmail.com or call him on his cell phone number +2347050270227.

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  4. Congratulations! Sending thoughts and prayers for health and happiness for your expanding family.

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    1. Thank you, Robby! We appreciate it!

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    2. With the help of a man called Dr.Ogbes I was able to get pregnant. i'm 56years of age, it was really difficult for me to pregnant though my husband loves me but it was really hurting me not having my own child but after many years I came across Dr.Ogbes whose email address is Landofanswer@hotmail.com or you reach him direct on his cell phone number +2347050270227 he told me he is going to send me a Herbs for me to drink, and will fall pregnant a week after drinking the Herbs I'm 7months pregnant now and also I will like to advice everyone looking for help to get pregnant to contact this very man via his email address at Landofanswer@hotmail.com or call him on his cell phone number +2347050270227.

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  5. You have such a wonderful way of writing, and it's just lovely the way your life informs your quilting. Big congratulations!

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    1. Thanks, Jessica. The stories give me parameters in which I can be creative in, if that makes any sense. Otherwise the unlimited scope hinders my ability to be creative.

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    2. With the help of a man called Dr.Ogbes I was able to get pregnant. i'm 56years of age, it was really difficult for me to pregnant though my husband loves me but it was really hurting me not having my own child but after many years I came across Dr.Ogbes whose email address is Landofanswer@hotmail.com or you reach him direct on his cell phone number +2347050270227 he told me he is going to send me a Herbs for me to drink, and will fall pregnant a week after drinking the Herbs I'm 7months pregnant now and also I will like to advice everyone looking for help to get pregnant to contact this very man via his email address at Landofanswer@hotmail.com or call him on his cell phone number +2347050270227.

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  6. You are such an engaging writer, and I am always so impressed with how you can express your life's experiences thru your quilts. That said, I'm really sorry for all you've been through and thrilled for your soon-to-be-born baby!

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    1. Thank you, Debbie. Quilting and writing are definitely my preferred forms of expression. I am thankful to have found a way to do both.

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    2. With the help of a man called Dr.Ogbes I was able to get pregnant. i'm 56years of age, it was really difficult for me to pregnant though my husband loves me but it was really hurting me not having my own child but after many years I came across Dr.Ogbes whose email address is Landofanswer@hotmail.com or you reach him direct on his cell phone number +2347050270227 he told me he is going to send me a Herbs for me to drink, and will fall pregnant a week after drinking the Herbs I'm 7months pregnant now and also I will like to advice everyone looking for help to get pregnant to contact this very man via his email address at Landofanswer@hotmail.com or call him on his cell phone number +2347050270227.

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  7. Congratulations and thank you for your strength in sharing such a personal struggle. I'm sure that your sharing has given hope and comfort so others who are facing similar struggles. You have made lovely quilts to express your journey to a miracle.

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    1. Thanks, Sharlene. I'm not sure why there is so much silence on this topic...maybe it's taboo because thinking/talking about it makes others feel uncomfortable? The silence is so isolating, though. So many women (and couples) understand this, there is much strength to be drawn on.

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  8. Love you for sharing your story--and love the quilts you made to share your story with us. Congratulations !!!! Enjoy life to the fullest

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  9. I'll just say congratulations. Your story has deeply touched me and sharing it has taken immense courage! Thank you.

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    1. Thanks, Jayne. I found a lot of healing in the process. I'm happy to share that with others.

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  10. Congratulations on your coming baby girl! What a story--glad that it has a happy ending. The quilts are lovely, too.

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    1. Thank you, Mari. I did make the quilts in the order I told the story in. I think I knew that I needed to start with the happy ending!

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  11. Your quilts are beautiful and so meaningful. Thanks for the story and the happy ending to come. Congratulations on your baby girl.

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    1. Thank you, Jean. I find meaning in the quilt making process that I enjoy sharing on my blog. I am happy you enjoyed it as well.

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  12. Your work is breathtaking and riveting. Not only are you a unique designer, but imbue the quilt with a story woven in. I have not been all that you have been through, but did lose my first baby and know that empty pain. Thank you for sharing your news and your work.

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    1. Thank you, Linda. I am very sorry for your loss as well. Any loss is painful.

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  13. I always get excited when I see one of your posts in my email! I know not only will I get to see some absolutely FABULOUS quilts, but that the story to go with them will also be wonderful and moving. Congratulations on your new miracle baby! I went through years of infertility, too, and have my own 26-year-old miracle. Quilting gets us through it all!

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  14. I'm sorry for the loss of the babies that you won't get to know but thrilled that you will be meeting your baby girl soon.

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    1. Thank you. That is very well said. I am THRILLED to meet this little girl and cannot wait to give her a kiss on a fat baby cheek.

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  15. Congratulations on your creativity on all levels!

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    1. Thank you. I guarantee that the baby is going to be MUCH better than the quilts. 😀

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  16. Thank you for sharing your raw experience. Your quilts are beautiful and meaningful. Congratulations on the baby and your perserverance.

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    1. Thanks, Afton. The conviction in our hearts that there was another baby for us lit our way through some dark times. Hope is very powerful.

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  17. It’s been more than 22 years since our son was born, yet so much of what you wrote expresses that journey of lasting hope amid repeated loss. I feel much joy for your family in this new arrival. Your son is right, she’ll be special!!

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    1. Thank you, Roxanne. She is worth every tear and I know I'll feel that still in 22 years.

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  18. Your quilts and your writing are both beautiful. I am so happy I ended up here today, and so very happy for you.

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    1. Thank you. I am happy you ended up here today, too.

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  19. Congratulations on your wonderful news! A baby girl...so exciting! The quilts are just beautiful -- your quilts always are. But I'm really so very happy for you and your family and your wonderful news!

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    1. Thank you, Frankie! Our whole family is over the moon. It's coming soon, now! ❤

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  20. I always enjoy reading the stories behind your quilts so much. Glad that you're still doing it even with all that's going on! Congrats to you on your wonderful news.:)

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    1. Thanks, Audrey! I'll keep doing it even when there's no one left reading blogs. As much as I can sometimes hate writing, there's something in me that needs to do it!

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  21. What an engaging story talent you have in expressing yourself through your quilts. I'm happy for your pregnancy! Congratulations.

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    1. Thank you, Jude. I don't know if I'm a storyteller that makes quilts or a quilt maker that tells stories. I enjoy doing both. Thank you for your comment.

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  22. I first looked at your quilts on this page and thought they were so beautiful and creative and unique. Then I read your story. It enhances their beauty and fills them with meaning. Congratulations on your long awaited baby and best wishes to you and your family.

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    1. Thank you so much, Vasudha! I find an immense amount of joy in creating. These particular quilts brought me happiness and healing.

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  23. Peace be with you and your family.

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  24. Good for you Pie Lady...sharing all your angst for all the world to see...It makes us love you more...Sending you love. xo

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  25. I came across this post through Pinterest suggestions, I hardly ever bother with it as it can be a right old time stealer but I liked your modern Curated cabins, they looked doable to me and then I read your story. I wish everyone had quilting to help them through the difficult times and I'm really glad that your story ends well, I'm sure your son is right - this baby will be special and she will be welcomed by many people who may never meet her! I shall sign up to follow your blog and never mind if the next post isn't for a long time, I won't miss it.

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    1. Thank you! My husband has been nesting-by-cleaning while I have been nesting-by-quilting. The next post might be much sooner than we think!

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  26. Thank you for taking the time to share your story. You will be so glad you did and now have this record. All of your quilts are lovely. I am drawn to the first butterfly one the most. The way you used the different color and blanked out blocks is very, very effective. My eyes love to explore that one.

    I also struggled with infertility a bit and had years of baby-longing before finally getting pregnant late 2016. That jubilant pregnancy ended with a tragic birth. I can't read your story without wishing you a safe birth experience. After all you've been through, get the best of care and don't take any risks with this birth. I'm sure you don't need to hear that, but I guess I need to say it. Thankfully, we had another baby in 2016, born safely and lighting up our lives now. Enjoy this precious new life!

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    1. Thank you, Rachel. I followed your sweet Eleni's story closely and I admire the courage it took to share it so very much. Even though it is not covered as well by my insurance, we chose for me to go to the best hospital and the best high-risk doctor there. I am doing my best to get through these next few days with confident faith. Thank you so much for your lovely, thoughtful wishes. ❤❤❤

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  28. Congratulations on your pregnancy and best wishes for a very healthy baby and smooth sailing for you and your family from here on out! Loving all of the quilts you have shared here, and I feel that Chasing the Butterfly II does a fabulous job of storytelling, after reading its meaning in your post. Brilliant and beautiful! <3

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  30. I want to share a great testimony on this website on how great Priest Babaka help me in falling pregnant,me and my husband have been trying to have a baby for over 4years,but they where no luck so we decided to contact the family doctor and after all the test have been done,he said to us that my fallopian tube is not functioning.then one day i was in the office when a friend of mine who have the same problem with me, fall pregnant after she contacted Priest Babaka .she directed me to him and when i contacted him through his email and he did the purification on the pregnancy spell and in 2weeks time i was feeling some how and i went to meet the family doctor who told me that i am pregnant.if you know that you have a similar problem like this, or any fertility issue and you want to be pregnant you can contact Priest Babaka via Email:babaka.wolf@gmail.com

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