Island Batik, Aurifil, AccuQuilt and Hobbs Batting.
an event or period of time when a person or group stays in a place and quietly waits, prays, etc., especially at night - Merriam Webster
The Little Book of Hygge, by Meik Wiking is a book I bought Dayna a couple of years ago, but always wanted to read myself, so she loaned it to me at Christmas. I'd started reading a few pages each night in bed, back in the last week of December. It's great, and something I've done with my own little family all along in several ways, creating a cosy, comfy, little haven of a home. According to Wiking, Canadians actually do 'get' this Danish term, and we even have a word for it: homeyness. The idea came to make a Hygge (pronounced hoo-ga) quilt one evening. Obviously a candle block would be needed, and so I drew out one on a scrap of paper, pretty simple. I was excited.
I mulled over some other Hygge items or yoga symbols (thus was planted the seed for those om coasters squirrel project) that could be made into blocks, and came up with the idea to make a smallish, 36" square or so yoga quilt. You may recall I always take a small quilt when I teach yoga to sit my sit bones on. In this way, I have discovered many kindred spirits: lovers of yoga who also quilt!
And then, on January 8, 2020, Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 was shot down by Iran, due to an über-heightened military awareness because of America's assassination of the Iranian General Soleimani. Flight 752 was flying from Tehran to Kiev. Of the 176 passengers on board, 138 had ties to Canada. They were Canadian citizens, and Permanent Residents, students and workers on visas, and other people who had ties to Canada. 78.4% of the passengers were Canadian or had ties here.
It was, and is, a national tragedy. I was utterly and profoundly devastated by it. Suddenly came the conviction that my Hygge quilt with a few candle blocks would not 'be birthed' just yet, but would morph into a quilt honouring these people, a quilt of remembrance, but of quiet outrage as well.
|Bound with black solid batik, in the process of being blocked on the design wall|
Instead of my one type of candle block, I drafted five of varying shapes. In the early days, it was reported that 63 were Canadian citizens, and so I opened up EQ8 and drew my five blocks, and designed a quilt with 9 blocks across and 7 in each column for a total of 63. The blocks were 8X10" rectangles, so this, along with off-setting the rows, would make for a 72X74" quilt. Four times the size of the original thinking... I was happy to use my 2.5" strip cutter die from AccuQuilt to cut strips for the sides of most of the blocks. The narrow candles required a wider side patch.
Well, the quilt just engulfed me.
I had the idea to have the candles go from black backgrounds to white, symbolizing the darkness of the deed, and the loss, but also symbolizing the souls going into the light and living on in their research and deeds, and in loved ones' hearts. At first I was envisioning strips of black, grey and white backgrounds, moving either horizontally or vertically, upon which the candles would float.
Then I hit upon going from a dark corner to a bright one. Little did I know at that time the brain trust that was snuffed out on that airplane.
Little did I know at that time the legacies so many would leave behind.
There is a total of 78 different fabrics in the quilt: all 64 candles, (the 64th is on the back and is the label) are different fabrics from the past two years of being an ambassador. There are six background fabrics: two blacks, two greys, a cream and a white. Two fabrics make up the backing, the solid grey used on the front of the quilt and another pale yellow one. There are seven different flame fabrics. I used the Crafted Appliqué method to apply these. I randomly made candle blocks until I had about 30, and then I finessed the quilt design in EQ and made the requisite number of each. When we learned that there were, in fact, 57 Canadians and not 63, but 38 Permanent Residents, I debated on trying to change the size, but 57 doesn't work into a grid, and so I left it as 63.
As I sewed the candle blocks, the sadness was profound. I felt, and still feel, such utter despair that this happened, and happened needlessly because of thoughtless macho posturing. I've felt my emotions thoughts and feelings go into quilts before when I'm making one with a particular purpose or person in mind. However, this was two-way, the candles representing the life of a person that I 'felt'; the sadness, despair, and outrage I felt flowing back into the block.
The black area is the smallest area, by design. There is just one candle with yellow rays on black. I kept feeling that I should be quilting the rays with a yellow or gold, and not blending them into the background, as I had been doing, so I decided to just try one and see what I thought... Hmmm, no, don't think so; the flames themselves are rich gorgeous yellows and golds and oranges which was enough. Yet I left that one. It's subtle, but it shows the brightness, even in darkness, and it's in the exact centre of the bottom row.
|The sun shone all day yesterday, so when I finished it and trimmed it yesterday afternoon, I took it outside to get a shot of the texture.|
|A Judi Madsen butterfly design|
The fabrics are just incredible. Like the bright souls they represent.
CBC has done and continues to do, an excellent, thoughtful, caring and compassionate reporting on our loss. These were valuable people, and the loss is staggering: doctors, engineers, brilliant PhD students, graduate students, university students, respected journalists, children, professors, dentists, gynecologists, obstetricians...
- newlyweds, both graduate students, who went home to be married
- a mother, (an MD) and her two daughters, one in medicine, another headed there at the U of Alberta
- parents of 19-year-old Kimia, a pre-med student at the University of BC, who is now an orphan, (how does she COPE with this?). Her parents were both doctors, her mother with MD degrees in two countries, Iran and Romania. Both parents had been studying and working for the past six years to be able to pass the very difficult Canadian equivalency exams for foreign doctors so they could practise here.
Many many academics were on the plane, brilliant, talented people; at least 20 universities in six provinces lost students, researchers, and professors.
- the biggest loss of human life since the 1987 tornado in Edmonton: many people from the University of Alberta community died
- 5 from our University of Windsor
Each light represents a person, but so much more than a single person. People doing important, brilliant, life-saving, and earth-changing research. As U of Windsor's PhD student Zahra's supervisor said, the potential that has been lost is immeasurable.
Another profound loss on that flight is Mohammed, second year student of an MD/PhD programme at the U of Toronto who was one of only TEN students accepted into his programme. He came to Canada in 2013. Here is a TED talk he gave just last year at the age of 22 on empowering youth. It's hard to believe this young man is (was) so young with all he has accomplished and with how he presents.
My heart hurts; I've cried, I've felt furious, I've felt helpless.
|(the yellow spot is a pin from the blocking process previously mentioned)|
We are still in the 40 days of mourning.
The quilting and resulting texture is more visible on the back.
The label, its candle flame outlined with metallic Holoshimmer thread:
Pattern: Original design
Size: 72.5 X 74.5"
Fabric: Island Batik
Backing: Island Batik
Batting: Hobbs Premium 80/20 Cotton Polyester
Quilted: on Avril my Avanté; 237 804 stitches
Threads: pieced with Aurifil on my Bernina; appliquéd with Crafted Appliqué and then with Aurifil on my Avanté, label candle with Sulky Holoshimmer metallic; quilted with Aurifil, Zwicky and Superior So Fine threads, The Bottom Line in the bobbin.
The Sun Never Says
All this time
The sun never says to the earth,
Look what happens
With a love like that,
It lights the
--Hafez, The Great Sufi Master
I want the world to know what a tragic, needless loss we have suffered. As a world, not just as a country. I hope you read some of the articles about these amazing souls, brilliant minds, innocent children whose lives should never have been snuffed out.
Update: I want to note that this quilt is my tribute to ALL Canadians who were on board, not just the 57 who had Canadian citizenship but to those 138 total who had ties to Canada. Ultimately, I wanted to shine light (intended phrase) on the brilliance that the world lost; as I wrote to Tracie, we've lost an incredible infinitesimal richness of minds.
2. There were seven countries who lost citizens: Great Britain, Germany, Sweden, Afghanistan, Ukraine (the entire flight crew), Iran and Canada.
3. This is not intended to make Americans feel bad. I have many American friends who are feeling terrible about the downward spiral of their country, and I know from private conversations that many of us around the world are feeling terrible about the downward spiral of our own (my own province of Ontario is disturbing, as is my former home province of Alberta). I am so glad we have a calm, thoughtful Prime Minister who has not lashed out without thinking over this incident and others. I wish we could work together in love and harmony and understanding, not hatred and spite and disdain of a person or country with another point of view. War, killing, and ignorance is not the answer. Education and being informed through multiple sources IS the answer.
4. A non-fiction book I read many years ago certainly opened my mind when tensions with Iran were high: Honeymoon in Purdah: An Iranian Journey by Alison Wearing. It showed me, as travel shows me, over and over again, that people in general are kind. Loving. Helpful. Good souls who just want to be happy and to make their corner of the world a better place. Iran is an ancient, rich culture who reveres education and philosophy, and family.
5. Bob Chelmick's show, The Road Home, on CKUA, which you can stream around the world, opened my heart to the poems of Rumi and Hafez many years ago. It is because of him that I bought translations (his recommendations) of their works. Google them. I bet you'll love them too.
The sun came out the day after I finished binding the quilt and publishing this post, and so I took a couple more outside photos and added them. When I went to take the quilt off the deck railing, I noticed a pretty neat shot of the sun shining through.
Confessions of a Fabric Addict
My Quilt Infatuation
TGIFF at Sarah Goer Quilts
Quilting & Learning - What a Combo!
This is also one of my Q1FAL Goals completed!