Invisible work

I’m sorry about the radio silence just recently.

Suffice to say that there have been family conferences, try to co-ordinate the ongoing care of my 95 year old father across four countries and two hemispheres. I have had my own issues; I’m currently sporting a fetching black neoprene knee brace with side stiffening on my left leg while they decide if my torn cartilage needs physiotherapy or an arthroscopy to repair or remove it. At times like these I wish my house didn’t have stairs… It’s been going on for a while, as I did it on the outward leg of our recent holiday without realising what I’d done. The only good part has been that I get to look at the MRI images, which I really enjoy โ€“ I’d have been a doctor in another life, maybe.

I have been hand-quilting Bonnard, which I won’t show again till I reach the end in 7 rows’ time. And I’ve been doing what I consider one of the most boring aspects of QAYG: cutting batting. Cutting 14 inch square after 14 inch square of batting is necessary, but really exceptionally dull. I enjoy cutting fabrics: the mental planning and placing of the colours, the patterns and designs, the little stacks building up.

I like that. But batting is all the same; it’s annoyingly fluffy and fibres get caught in your cutting mat so you have to stop and get rid of them. It’s all the same colour. Worst of all, it forms no part of the personality of the quilt, it’s invisible.

Anyway, I now have 5 tidy stacks of batting squares, ready for sandwiching the remaining rows of ST&D. All the front blocks are ready, all the backing squares are cut and laid out. It’s just a question of more production line work: starching, pressing, spraying, smoothing. In order to prevent screaming boredom, I’ll do a row at a time.

Batting… it’s not exactly photogenic, either, is it?

57 thoughts on “Invisible work

  1. I’m sorry about your leg! That’s both painful AND annoying! And also your father. I expect there are feelings of helplessness involved, not being able to help more directly. And still you make progress on important projects, boring bits and all. โค

  2. The G.O. empathises about your knee. We both empathise with parent care. At least conferences mean you have other family to confer with. Wishing you the best possible outcomes for both.

  3. elaine says:

    I am sorry about the knee, been there done that. Hope it’s better very soon! I am so thankful for you that you have family members to lean on dealing with the care of your father. I know how hard that is. He’s blessed to have you all ๐Ÿ™‚
    Keep on quilting strong ~ It’s good for you!

    • katechiconi says:

      It’s weird, but everytime I speak to someone lately and the knee is mentioned, they’ve also ‘been there, done that’. I’m starting to get the impression it’s almost inevitable once you pass a certain age! The quilting is indeed a treasured distraction from all the other stuff.

  4. A frustrating time in many directions. At least the mammoth batting task will bring forth beautiful and satisfying results. Wishing you well with your knee and getting things sorted for your father. My Mum is 89 with dementia and is now settled in a lovely care home, but it was a very stressful process getting her there, and I live close to her – so I can well imagine how difficult it must be trying to organize things from a distance.

    • katechiconi says:

      Getting the batting done is actually a weight off my mind. Until a few months ago, Pa was still fiercely independent and determined not to move from his home of 30+ years in Spain. He is now frail, in pain and not able to speak clearly or understand Spanish any longer. Trying to co-ordinate care for him long distance has been a major trial for my sister, my brother and only moderately for me, too far away to be any use…

  5. tialys says:

    I did notice you’d been quiet and was going to email you yesterday but I’ve been having problems with my outgoing server and they all kept getting sent back to me but now I know you are O.K. Well, sort of O.K.
    I can understand your frustration with your Dad’s situation – it was difficult enough for me when my Mum was ill and she was only across the Channel. I hope a satisfactory solution for everybody can be found for him.
    I’m not going to say – been there done that – about your knee but my good friend was over here skiing last month and fell and had to be ferried down the mountain to the medical centre where they strapped up her leg from ankle to thigh and said they suspected a double tear in the cruciate ligament (or some such medical talk) and she’s now back in the U.K. still waiting for an MRI scan. She is bored to tears with her sedentary lifestyle as she normally works full time and is a triathlete so is usually, cycling, running, swimming and whatever other things triathletes do in order to get an iron man tattoo. I told her she should learn a craft she can do while she’s sitting down rather than endless Netflix series but she was strangely uninterested ๐Ÿ˜‰ So, at least you can still do a lot of the things you love doing – just trying to make you feel better.
    By the way – I think you would have made an excellent Doctor – I can just imagine you poring over charts and X-rays and stuff.

    • katechiconi says:

      I’m lucky I’ve only torn a cartilage and not the ligament, which is a much harder thing to fix. I’d have had to be doing something sporty to make that happen rather than jumping down out of the car… “Still waiting for an MRI” makes me deeply grateful I’m living here: I saw the specialist, walked next door to the scanning place with my referral, handed it over and they said “are you free right now?”. Back to the specialist on 21st March for the decision. Bit better than waiting for months… I have to say, all the anti-inflammatories and pain killers are making me a bit sleepy, and of course, it’s the perfect excuse not to do any housework… Perhaps I should have been a surgeon, my hand stitching is getting rather good!

  6. rutigt says:

    I hope your knee will get well soon! I have a finger (the smallest one) that has become swollen and it hurts, so I know the feeling. On the subject cuttingmat…..I have an old mat that I use whenever I am cutting batting!!

    • katechiconi says:

      I need a really big one for when I cut strips off my batting roll, and I only have one big one. If it gets too fluffy, I may have to retire it and get a new one…

  7. nanacathy2 says:

    I hope you feel better soon, it sounds most unpleasant.
    Sorry to about your Dad. I am grateful that my brother now lives close to my Mum and has taken over from my long distant efforts to support her, especially now my husband is poorly again.
    The quilt is going to be lovely, I just know it.

  8. kathyreeves says:

    I hope that the hand stitching provides exactly the therapy that lifts your spirits above family and physical stuff. Your knee sounds painful, I do hope the outcome is just physio! It is some comfort when family can consult together, hopefully your dad is cooperative and you can all make the decisions together with a relatively smooth next step. Thinking of you!

  9. claire93 says:

    hope you and siblings continue to coordinate and come up with a solution for your Dad. And sounds like its feet up time for you at the moment with that knee.

  10. dayphoto says:

    Golly, when it rains, it pours, as my Dad used to say. I sure hope you get to feeling better soon. As for your Dad…I hope everything works out for HIS best!

  11. Sorry to hear about the knee. To do it on holiday must have been extra frustrating. I do understand about the stairs. I have just a few here and some days they are a few too many. At least they are outside stairs and not inside stairs. ๐Ÿ™‚ I guess you will be getting a great deal of hand quilting done since you will be doing more sitting anyway. Isn’t it interesting about the things we might have done with our lives under different circumstances. Hope the knee gets better soon.

    • katechiconi says:

      Yes, the hand quilting is definitely getting some work, but it’s the other one that has a deadline, so I have to concentrate on that for the time being.

  12. You are wise to keep working with your hands as your body and your family tries to heal. For many of us it’s the only way we keep ourselves from sticking our heads out the windows to scream till our voices give out….

  13. Sorry to hear about your knee Kate. Sounds terribly painful! I hope you can all get your Dad’s situation resolved quickly. The oldies are such a worry. As for batting, it may not add personality to a quilt but it’s the bit that makes it so hugable. Is that a word?

  14. Lynda says:

    I am sorry to hear about your father. It is so hard to have a great distance between you and the ones you love when trouble arises. I do hope things are worked out quickly and smoothly for him.

    You said: “Iโ€™m starting to get the impression itโ€™s almost inevitable once you pass a certain age!”

    Yup; pretty much. I’m glad you are getting to this quickly instead of putting it off for years… it will go much better for you because you are not waiting and causing even more damage to your meniscus.

    • katechiconi says:

      With the knee, they’re taking action pretty quickly; it helps to have decent medical insurance, and that’s one of the last things I’d ever let go.
      I think the worst with Pa is being unable to do anything, and fundamentally unable to get there even if I could…

  15. Sorry to hear about your knee – I’m sure it’s painful, not to mention a damn nuisance for a super-busy person like you. I know you will be staying positive about it, so let’s raise a glass to the amazing medical treatment that is available to you. I do hope it’s not surgery that is required.

  16. I hope your dad is ok!
    I think I would have been a better medical researcher than a doctor: too much blood and guts, and too many mystery rashes.
    Yes, batting is not at all photogenic. I need to buy some, and I cannot even get excited about going to the quilt shop for it!

    • katechiconi says:

      I buy mine on a big roll from Spotlight; they have a sale occasionally and you can get the whole roll for about $95. It lives on top of my cupboard, out of eyeshot because it’s really not at all attractive, is it? Could you regard batting purchasing as almost punitive? That way, you can reward yourself for doing a nasty job by buying a small fabric treatlet of some kind…

  17. magpiesue says:

    Yikes! I’m only just now finding out about your knee. Seriously, if it’s not one thing it’s another. Here we’ve all come to rely on these wonderful bodies we’ve been allotted and then after a few years of use and abuse they give out on us. What kind of a deal is that??!!! Where’s the warranty? Oh wait, there wasn’t one, was there? Shucks.

    • katechiconi says:

      We all live so much longer these days, I get the feeling we’re well past our sell-by date! In earlier centuries, I’d be too dead to worry about sore knees ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. craftycreeky says:

    Sorry to hear about your knee, hope it’s sorted soon, one way or the other. Most of my friends are having parent issues, we’ve decided they can be harder than kids! My mum is so much better for being in a care home, she still occasionally has a wobble, usually at 10pm, but it sounds like that’s par for the course.
    Looking forward to seeing bonard quilt again ๐Ÿ˜Š

  19. Kate, I’m sorry to hear about your leg/knee. That sounds incredibly painful (as most joint injuries are). I’ll hold good thoughts that PT will do the job and not surgery. Sorry to hear, too, about the stairs. Best of luck caring for your dad’s needs from a distance.

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