Spinning Around The Sun

free motion quilting

I’m finishing another revolution soon, and it’s a big one. I don’t know how to feel about it. Being older is strange. I never expected to make it past age 25… so this is double-bonus-plus!

Turning 1 with paternal grandparents. Grandfather suffered from Alzheimers – he was always giggling in photos.

It’s been a very interesting new year so far. Spent the first two weeks so sick – it hurt my head to think. Still, I was able to be productive, and created a new site for our T-shirt printing business. I’m quite proud of it, it was my first foray into PHP coding – and while there were times I wanted to pull my hair out, I got it figured out and working pretty well.

Another thing I’m working on for the new year is a database for all my quilts, with date completed, size, descriptions and pictures. I thought it would be a fairly quick process, but I was surprised to list 43 quilts – how did I make so many quilts?!? Bigger question: Why did I not list each one here (with size info) as I completed them? That would have made this a whole lot easier. *Note to self*

This time of year means it’s tax time – or paperwork/accounting time for me. Between that and the new site, I haven’t been working on any new sewing projects – and I’m going a little crazy. I have a few ideas in my head for what I want to work on, but I’m having a hard time starting another Chakra quilt. They are emotionally heavy.

1984. Age 15 with parents and 3 younger sisters at Bible-Study. My brother was born after I left home, when I was 18. No full family photo exists.

Yeah… still stuck on family issues. Every time I start working on emotional balance in my life, it always comes back to these people, and how much damage they caused. Honestly – I’m kinda tired of them and thinking about them and their religion, and how their religion (cult) has them so brainwashed. Yet at the same time, I have to think about it in order to ‘let it go’. Kind of a catch 22.

This is the basis of my Chakra quilt series: To heal from the grief of conditional love and intentional loss by immediate family. It’s hard to have family treat you as if you’re dead to them… for decades. They will never talk to me again. There comes a point where you have to stop trying and face facts. Fact is: I need to say goodbye, feel the grief, and move on.

Each quilt so far has been intensive and a step in that mindful disconnection to family – and I’m doing the easier ones first. I know by starting another in this series, it will mean more introspection and reflection – and that can be difficult.

My goal is to have all 7 major Chakras represented in quilts. Represented by how they affect me personally, and what resonates for what I need for my own emotional healing. Each one takes me on its own journey. Right now the 6th Chakra is the one I’m thinking about most – so a Purple quilt may be next up in this process. I study the Chakra as I’m creating – I use mantras to positively influence my work and to open my mind to different perspectives. I try to symbolize my thoughts and feelings into the imagery of each quilt. It’s been an amazing process so far.

Root Chakra quilt
Root Chakra Quilt
Manipura final
Manipura Quilt
Vishuddha Quilt

2016 Quilt Finishes

Oceans Of Blue Quilt

When I look back over this crazy year, I realize that I’ve been quite productive in my quilting efforts compared to previous years. I think it’s because I’m loving my new Juki machine!

Here are all the quilts I finished this year:

Green Cross Quilt #3
Green Cross Series #3

Green Cross Series #4
Green Cross Series #4

Earth Energy Quilt
Earth Energy Quilt

Green Gardens Quilt
Green Gardens

Oceans Of Blue Quilt
Ocean’s of Blue – Swirling Oceans Quilt Pattern

Big Hexies
POP – Big Hexie Quilt using my own fabric designs from Spoonflower

Root Chakra quilt
Root Chakra Quilt

Hexie Hummingbird Finish
Hexie Hummingbird

Manipura Quilt Front
Manipura Quilt

I hope 2017 proves to be just as productive for me. I want to follow through and do 5 more quilts based on the Chakra system to complete that as a series, finish my 2nd Hexie Hummingbird, and possibly start a new hexie project!

What are your 2017 quilt goals?

Social Awkwardness

Root Chakra Quilt - photo by Juline Bajada

There have been many times where I have felt socially awkward, and I’m trying to change that. I’m always enamored with people who feel comfortable in most situations – the ones who can always speak their minds, no matter what anyone thinks. I’d love to be one of those people!

If you read my blog, you know I have some health issues: fatty liver, IBS, SIBO, degenerative disc disease, vertigo, low thyroid, and gluten intolerance. I don’t have insurance and work on my own behalf with the help of a Naturopathic Doctor towards health. This has brought me to a place where I practice yoga and meditation every night before going to sleep, along with dietary changes, suppliments, and bodywork. I thoroughly believe I can heal my liver, and that will help all bodily systems.

Why am I writing all this openly…? Well, last night during my meditation, I was overcome with a wave of extreme emotion – as in immediate sobbing – I think it was a sort of breakthrough.

I was thinking about how next year is my 30th HS reunion year – which is big. I graduated early in January 1987, and I was kicked out of my family’s house that February over religious differences… locked out, actually. My memory went right to my 3 younger sisters crying behind the oval window in the big front door of my house after the folks locking me out because I spent the night at a friends house who wasn’t a Jehovah’s Witness.

The realization that that was my last encounter with any of my sisters -seeing or talking to them… and it has been almost 30 years! It hit me like a ton of bricks. I worked through my whole routine while crying. I thought I was emotionally ‘over’ all of this stuff – it has been 3 decades after all… but no, all I could think about was the family I lost due to religion. Three sisters, 30 years. I don’t even know their last names since they’ve all been married. So sad. I also have a brother who was born after I left home – I have yet to meet him, but he recently left the religion too! I may have a bit of family after all… but, my real question is this: How do I grieve a family that is not even dead, people who only choose not to talk to me…?

honor collage

It also made me think of my youth, and how separated from everyone else I was. I was 5 when my parents ‘found God’  and we moved to the middle of nowhere in the country. I was isolated just by where I lived. Plus,we weren’t allowed to celebrate holidays, so I had to sit in the hallway at school for every event. I was also not allowed to pledge allegiance to the flag, and many people gave me the stink-eye for that too. I didn’t get to do any extra-curricular activities, or have friends that weren’t JW’s. To top it off, most of the JW friends I did have, didn’t hang with me much due to the fact my dad was an elder in the congregation, I think they avoided me so they wouldn’t get it trouble themselves. So… I’ve always been a bit of a loner.

After a bit of memory flash, I started thinking of the relationship with my own daughter, how wonderful it is – how wonderful she is. And I just can’t, for the life of me, imagine kicking her out of my life – over a difference in belief. I love her so much… makes me wonder just HOW my parent’s can hold tight to their “tough love” approach for all this time. I just don’t understand.

I think it’s important for me to figure this out. I need to vent or release these emotions – of course what comes to mind is making a quilt. I think I need to make a quilt that will help remember my family with love and forgiveness, and then be able to move on. I had hopes that at some point they would open their eyes and see things for what they are, and leave that religion… or at least be open to respecting my beliefs so we can have a relationship again. Those hopes are dwindling down to nothing, and I have to come to terms with the fact I may never see or hear from them again, which I have to admit, seems worse than if they had died.

I have always been set apart from the group, and the one group I thought truly loved me (my family) has separated themselves from me. I think this is all part of why I feel so awkward and uncomfortable in most social situations, but I’m getting better.  It just makes me think of all the multiple reasons some people are socially awkward… and I have a lot of empathy when I see it. You just never know what someones’ experience might be.

*Heavy Sigh*

Thanks for reading my thought release from this emotionally heavy meditation. Sharing is very therapeutic in ways I can’t quite put my finger on… and it is also inspiring me to start a new quilt project.

It will be interesting to see what visually comes with this release. I did the same thing when I made my Root Chakra quilt as I was dealing with emotions that dealt with fear of death, a need for health, and a foundation to base it all on.  That quilt really speaks to me and I’m proud of the work I did on it, both visually and emotionally.

Root Chakra Quilt - photo by Juline Bajada

Making Plans

Root Chakra quilt

I guess I haven’t written a post in a while… I’ve been questioning my purpose of this blog, and if it serves anything more than just a place to show my work.

So, I’ve recently decided to give pattern-making a shot, and share some tutorials here. I’m almost finished with the Wood Dragon EPP Hexie Pattern, and the Squid and Jellyfish will be following as well.

Along with the patterns, some friends suggested making little short videos to demonstrate some of my techniques with hexies… and I’m pretty excited to try it. Still a ways to go before sharing with the world, but it’s in the works – I know there are a few people out there who have been patiently waiting for me to get these patterns out there (thanks for being so patient!)

I do have a quilt finish to share: The Root Chakra Quilt is finished!

Root Chakra quilt
Root Chakra Quilt

I showed this at the last PMQG meeting, and I was able to tell a little about it before my nerves erased my voice (I have such a hard time speaking in front of people)… but I didn’t really share much in details.

Recently I’ve known 3 people who have passed away… plus an onslaught of famous people too – this year has been rough! Anyway, one (for sure) was due to liver failure, and I am working on my health to heal my own liver. In fact, my health journey has been going since 2000 when I had my gall bladder removed – ever since then, I’ve been working on health and diet without much success. This pushed me towards alternative healing, and every alternative healer type person I’ve ever seen tells me my root chakra energy is blocked…
… so I made a quilt to help me heal.
The symbol of the root chakra is a red cube, and it governs family and foundation. I guess since I have been ousted from my blood-family (due to religious differences) my foundation is pretty weak. So I chose the Log Cabin block to explore… the red center of a log cabin is symbolic of home and hearth – perfect for my purpose.
The bottom row of log cabins were made of black and deep red centers to represent my upbringing which was strict and solid… and a bit dark, due to the fact it was all conditional love.
The second row represents my young-adulthood. These have dark red and grey centers, along with mixed colors in each block to show my lack of boundaries and the excitement of new people and ideas.
The big red center block is made of many smaller ones, this in a field of mostly-white to represent the now. My world is much more solid now… but still messy – it’s still a work in progress.
Searching for that perfect foundation – the solid red square surrounded by white in the top row, so I can move forward in my healing process.

free motion quilting
Free Motion Quilting on Root Chakra Quilt

As I was sewing this quilt, I reminisced on old friends, and some of the poor decisions we made as young people. I also thought about how far I’ve come: working from homelessness to home-ownership via my own business… and about how much further I need to go. Art therapy – this is definitely an emotionally charged quilt!

The whole time I was stitching this quilt I was also listening to many podcasts at The Crafty Planner – and as I listened, I learned about a lot of different quilters out there and that just about everyone has massive life struggles. It’s been great hearing stories of success coming from hard work and love of this medium. I recommend it! Plus, it really makes the time fly, which is great when you’re spending hours on the machine!

Close Up
Close Up
So… one more finish on the books that I can be proud of! I think I’ll follow through and make a quilt for each chakra – it will help me go through my stash and challenge me emotionally in a good way. The next one is the Sacral Chakra which is the center of feeling, emotion, pleasure, sensuality, intimacy, and connection. Lots to think about!
In the meantime, I plan on sharing some hexie patterns very, very soon.
What are you working on? Does quilting help you emotionally?

Root Chakra Quilt Progress

bottom row log cabin blocks

I’ve recently started work on a new project, and I’m using the root chakra for inspiration. A while back, I took the ‘Process Pledge‘ on Rossie’s blog and so I wanted to write a little more on the process of this quilt.

This quilt symbolizes a path to heath and healing to me.

I’ve been having health issues – nothing new, or that dire… but I have a lot of old spinal injuries that have developed layers of scar tissue causing pain and other problems. On top of that, I found out I’m inuslin-resistant (body is making too much insulin, but the cells are not using it) and very close to being diabetic. I also have a fatty liver and need to lose weight.  My ND says it’s related to low thyroid and an exhausted adrenal system.

The reason my adrenals are exhausted is because of my earlier lifestyle and the things I’ve seen or lived through being homeless and an addict. Part of the reason I liked to get ‘messed up’ was because I felt the need to escape the overwhelming feeling of abandonment I had after being disowned both by family members, and my whole religious community.

Even though the drama is all in the past, I’m still dealing with it’s consequences. Energetically speaking, my root chakra is blocked and needs to be opened.

The Root Chakra influences your physical vitality, physical survival instincts, “fight or flight” response, and the emotions of anger, jealousy, desire and greed. The Root Chakra governs the lessons of surviving the material world. This Chakra holds information involving family loyalty, superstitions and beliefs, and your ability to stand up for yourself; your sense of safety, self esteem, and security are based here. The Root Chakra controls the energy of instincts, physical pain, pleasure, and touch. Imbalance may manifest as losing interest in survival in the “real world”, physical addictions and obsessions, selfishness, restlessness, volatile emotions and a lack of vitality.

So… this is my focus: to create a strong foundation (root chakra) from which to stand up and grow upon.

Since the color of the root chakra is red, I pulled all the reds out of my stash and cut them into different width strips:

Cut strips of fabric

For the large center square, I was going to make one big log cabin block, but decided to make a few smaller ones and put them together to make one big center.

Log cabin blocks on wall

This big red center square is supported by two layers – the bottom black/dark layer signifies my youth, strict confines, and empty hearts. I chose the log cabin block because the centers are suppose to symbolize home and hearth – that’s why the centers are usually red.

bottom row log cabin blocks

The second layer signifies my young adulthood where my boundaries were all over the place, we had no home… and everything seemed a little crazy.

on design wall

The big red square symbolizes the foundation I’m currently creating in my life now: not perfect, but solid. Next I’ll be making white log cabins for the background.

I’m a little concerned that it might be getting too busy looking, but I’ll wait till I get the background blocks done before I start over-thinking things.

So far, this has been a joy to work on. I’m thinking about every little piece I sew into it, and giving it a little love with each stitch. I think it’s helping my healing process nicely…