Sunday, November 1, 2015

Hive 9 - November Tutorial - **Rainbow Starflower Block!**

Hello, Hive 9 busy bee sisters! Thank you for hanging in with me until November to finish up this amazing Stash Bee 2015! For the first time since January, I am finally caught up on all my blocks and for those of you ladies who graciously accepted late blocks from me or created an angel block during a hard month, thank you... from the bottom of my heart!!
I believe you ladies deserve an explanation for this rough year for me so here is my story, as briefly as possible. After the birth of my second daughter two years ago, I started suffering crippling panic attacks (as many as twenty a day), nightmares and confusing flashbacks. What was initially thought to be post-partum depression or even postpartum psychosis, was quickly rediagnosed as severe, complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) stemming from my deployment to Iraq in 2008-2009. I had simply boxed up all of my trauma from that period and returned home to work & life and now, nearly five years later, something about childbirth had sprung open the Pandora's box and I was a basket case.  Finally, in Spring 2014, I could no longer handle the severity of my symptoms and I entered a six month, full-time, outpatient treatment program for severe PTSD. It changed my life! I went from being crippled by attacks to receiving therapies and treatments that make the trauma I experienced now simply part of my history, and not something that dictates my future. I can not say enough good things about the treatment I received and its positive impact on my life. Ultimately, at the end of the six months, I decided that after twelve years in the military I wanted to stay home with our two toddlers and focus on our family for this brief period that they were little and home with me, and so I left the service last fall. 
    As much joy as being home with my girls gave me, the insights I had learned about myself in those six months of therapy opened my eyes to the disfunction and toxicity of my marriage of nearly a decade. After much heartache, struggle and much more therapy for the both of us, my husband and I filed for divorce in Spring 2015. A few weeks later he moved nearly 2,000 miles cross-country to pursue his own career and I was suddenly an unemployed single mother of two toddlers with no family and few friends in the area, trying to make ends meet with a mortgage, car payment and tp keep food on the table. To say it was a rough summer for the three of us, would be a massive understatement :/ However, now, closing out 2015, my life appears to be getting back on track. Through creative budgeting and pursing a variety of odd jobs, I am still able to stay home with my girls the majority of the time or to pursue job options that I can take them along with me :) My home remodels are slowly coming together and I'm applying to schools to pursue a doctorate in English Literature in the coming years. What at first appeared to be the end of life as I knew it, has now dawned a brighter and stronger future for my girls and I and for that I am SO very grateful!

Which brings us to both our November block of the month as well as our monthly question! By the time you read this, hopefully my little "goodie envelope" with the background fabric (A Gingerbread Christmas by Kim Martin) and the 3.5" Omniruler has arrived at your home! Use this dotted fabric for all pieces labeled "white fabric" or "background fabric" in the tutorial. If it hasn't arrived by the 5th of November (or if you are from another hive and want to send in a much appreciated block!) please leave a comment below and I will happily resend the supplies! :)
     Since their father moved away, my two girls have become much closer and now share a room, some part of their bodies always touching one another in their sleep. They both want a "big girl" bed so I am going to use the blocks that you ladies send to create a queen-size rainbow Starflower quilt for their new "sister bed!" They are going to be thrilled!! Both of my girls were babies born after repeated miscarriages and the infant loss community refers to babies born after a loss as "rainbow babies." So rainbows are something my girls and I both hold near and dear to our hearts because of how grateful I am every day to have two living children to hold in my arms.
Jennifer at Sew We Quilt has an amazingly simple Starflower Block Tutorial that I will share with you here: Starflower Block Tutorial at Sew We Quilt. Her directions & measurements will make two blocks, but no pressure, feel free to make as many or as few as you like! I sent a generous fat quarter of the background fabric to you all which will make two blocks with some room to spare :) But again, if you have a tendency to mess up on blocks as I do, don't hesitate to write me for more fabric. I bought plenty for this project!!
Color Basics :: HUES are the 12 purest & brightest colors forming the full spectrum ~ 3 Primary Colors; 3 Secondary Colors; 6 Tertiary Colors. A TINT (sometimes called a pastel) is any color with white added. A SHADE is any color with black added. A TONE is created by adding gray. 
*Illustration was a Pinterest find but the link was broken so I'm afraid I cannot give the author the credit they are due :(

I LOVE bright colors and chose a variety of brights for this project. Until researching for this tutorial I didn't know quite how to describe what made up the colors that I like, but the graphic above does an AMAZING job in my opinion. So, Hue is the key to what makes a fabric that I like - the brighter the better!! As for print/volume/etc, just pick a selection in a rough semblance of eight colors in the rainbow in bright colors, and I will be a happy girl! As you can see from my fabric examples, I take all brights - prints, solids, shot cottons, batiks... if it's bright & beautiful, it is welcome!! :) Also, if you would, please include some of the scraps from your colored blocks because I intend to make a few "hollow" stars as pictured below and the use the remainder of the scraps to make a pieced border around the edge of the quilt :) Thank you!

And, if you've made it through all my ramblings (I used to be a college English Professor... I come by my long winded explanations naturally! ;)) Here is the question for November!

Appropriately so, in this month of Thanksgiving, 
What experience have you had that initially seemed like 
it would be a great burden in your life but ultimately 
it transformed your life in a way that you are now grateful for? 

Obviously, my answers relate to my recent experiences but I would have to say that my miscarriages and seeing such loss of life in Iraq made me extremely grateful on a daily basis for the gift of life itself. This divorce, though initially it seemed as though it was the end for me, has actually caused me to emerge a better woman and a stronger mother for the journey!

Thank you ladies again for your kindness, patience and generosity of spirit this entire year, 
most especially to Toni & Allison for their unending support as I struggled month by month in 2015. 
I hope you all have a WONDERFUL holiday season and I wish you peace, happiness & copious quilting in 2016!
<3, Erin

My girls gleefully roasting marshmallows in our backyard...


Toni said...

Beautiful block! I'm looking forward to working with the color wheel on this one. Glad that things are looking up for you and your beautiful daughters.

Julia said...

I would love to sew a block or two for this quilt. I have PTSD (not from military deployment) & it is really rough.

Unknown said...

Julia, You are such a sweetheart! Thank you! Thank you also for sharing your similar struggles <3 Only with sharing and solidarity can we each heal our hearts and ensure our pasts do not define our futures <3 I'll email you for your address and send the fabric this weekend! :)