Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Barn Bones

I just completed two new small quilts, and I am so happy because I was able to actually hand quilt them, (and it's been a long time since I have been able to do that). If you have been a long time reader of my blog, you may remember that I have mentioned a couple of times my problems with on-going arthritic hand pain. What I didn't say was how the pain gradually increased until I was feeling it throughout my body. I was feeling like I had the body of an 80 year old, and knew something was wrong. I decided to hold off on seeing the doctor and first do a little sleuthing, as my gut instinct told me this had something to do with something I was ingesting.

I thought about what might have changed in my diet over the last two years, (as that is when I first started feeling pain). I quickly realized that was around the time I switched from drinking primarily coffee, to drinking mostly tea. And I was drinking a lot of tea, often 8-10 cups a day, both black and green, both caffeinated and decaf, and brewed pretty strong.


A quick google search of tea and arthritic pain led me to a lot of hits. Seems that while a small does of tea can be anti-inflammatory and thus helpful, higher amounts can lead to arthritic pain, and that is thought to be possibly caused due to the high amount of fluoride, (yes fluoride) that is naturally found in black and green teas, (but not herbal). 

The fluoride is absorbed into the tea leaves from the soil, (why, I do not know). Old leaves, (black tea) carry the most, while young leaves, (white tea) the least, and green tea falls in the middle. 

(Note: I am no expert in this... and different reports say different things. If you really want to know about  this, you should do your own research, and come  to your own conclusions!)

After finding this all out, I decided to switch to mostly herbal tea, (every now and then I have a cup of black, but not that often.) After doing this for many months, I have found that the hand pain has greatly decreased. I still have a bit in my right thumb, but it no longer feels crippling and searing. And my over all body aches have greatly improved... I think what I feel now is just normal for my age.

And so I tested myself out by doing some hand quilting, and Hooray, Hooray, I was able to do it, (granted on a small scale, but nevertheless, I was able to do it)!!

So now... the quilts...

 Barn Bones no.1

The quilts, "Barn Bones 1" and "Barn Bones 2" were made in response to seeing so many local, beautiful old barns and farm structures dismantled, or neglected and left to fall apart, piece by piece. 

There is a point between the coming down and the all gone, where skeletal beams still stand, and the sky shows through open areas that once stood walls and roofs.  

I admit, I get rather mournful each time one is lost. 

                    And it's an odd feeling to gather inspiration from something that makes me sad, 
                        and then to use that inspiration to make something that makes me happy.

But my hope is to pay some sort of final tribute to those structures, 
some of which once stood humbly, and others that stood rather majestically...
but they all stood with dignity.

Barns Bone no.2

I pay tribute to each of them, for the lives and stories that they witnessed, 
and for the years that they served and survived.



Nifty Quilts said...

Simple and exquisite, like all of your work. Love them! Best of all, you can quilt again!!! Yea!! Isn't it amazing what we can find out about health issues on the internet? I'm so glad you found an easy answer and that you feel better all over. Happy Thanksgiving!

Camilla said...

A beautiful testimony to your bones and theirs! So pleased you're pain free enough to do this again!

Anonymous said...

So glad you discovered your own link to the tea thing, who knew about fluoride? And I guess I'm glad I still just drink coffee. Beautiful hand work and your signature colors and style. Sad to see the old buildings going. I want to see them all saved. Glad to be living in a house now built in 1799. While it had to be modernized and brought up to code. All the wood we took out we used in one large room to make the walls. Love that the house still has the house inside and of course some of the beams and we have the barn. The house feels alive and smiling again. Happy Thanksgiving. xox

patty a. said...

I am so happy for you that you were able to figure out what was causing your pain. The resulting quilts are just lovely! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Rachel said...

While your quilt is lovely, good to know a tea fun fact :) I consume copious amounts of black and green tea on a daily basis. I don't have arthritic pain yet but something to be aware of.

Cut&Alter said...

I just love your interpretation of the barns onto fabric. We don't have old barns like these in the UK and I have loved seeing all of the ones you've stopped at on IG. Interesting to read about tea and arthritis - I did not know that link but will certainly be passing it on to a couple of people I know who have it to investigate further.

Anonymous said...

I see your quilts over on instagram, but it is so great to see them paired with the wreckage that inspired them!

glad you found mitigation for your joint pain... it is something I struggle with as well (I've been getting cortisone shots in one of my thumbs for about four years now).

foxyloon said...

beautiful quilts and quilting. Good news about your hands. I think the hand quilting really adds to the quality. No tea for me either these days. Good luck with that choice.

Jenny M said...

Beautiful quilt and I really like your story of how the quilt came to be created. So sad that these barns are being lost and forgotten, as they are part of the history of the farming in the area.
Your photos of the barns are wonderful, ever considered a book of some sorts, documenting the barns before they are lost forever?
Good that you are having some relief from the pain.

Anonymous said...

My tea is (possible) cause of debilitating pain???!!!!!! Such joint pain in right shoulder and elbow, I often wish I could cut it off. So those constant cups of tea during the day?......hmmm .....am certainly going to see if I can help myself by switching out the black.

While I love the visuals and your words....Maybe you've prolonged the life of my arm!

Thank you......

Diane J. Evans said...

What a learning experience for you, and how smart of you to work so diligently at finding the cause. This is great information, and I must admit that I draw the same conclusions that you have. You must be feeling over the moon at having diagnosed this problem and getting more of your old self back. Good for you, Victoria! And the quilts, of course, are beautiful.


Anonymous said...

so sorry to hear of your arthritis (I would imagine that has been rather depressing for someone who does such beautiful handwork) but I am glade you are improved. These imperfect bodies of ours keep us grounded. Love your quilts and your inspiration.


Evilmother said...

Hi Victoria--This is the first comment I've ever made on any blog ever. Heck, I didn't even know what a blog was...! I'm doing my best to figure out the computer jargon, however. About those old barns--I'm just crazy about them--thinking of the animals keeping warm inside during those cold winters. Can't you just hear the chewing, snorting, and sounds of sleep as they lay on their beds of straw?

I just returned from a Winter Quiltfest in Logan, Utah. Jen Kingwell was our featured teacher and how wonderful she was! Most of her quilts are done with hand sewing and she encourages quilters to take up the needle and thread and give it a whirl. But it sounds like you're way ahead of the "old-new" trend. Your hand quilting combined with the machine is truly spectacular! Where did you get the idea use this technique? Happy quilting in 2016. Evilmother

Victoria said...

Thanks to each of you, and my goodness, I am just realizing how long I've been away from the blog... almost two months since this last post, yikes. Where did that time go?! Hope to have a new post up in the next week or so.

And to answer your question, Evilmother, I first started combining machine and hand quilting about 6 or 7 years ago when I was exploring the idea of working in layers, (inspired by Japanese boro), as well as wanting to explore the juxtaposition between industrial and hand, (inspired by living in a rural area that is farmed by both Amish and non-Amish farmers... on one side of the road a field is plowed by hand with a team of mules, and on the other side it is plowed with a John Deere tractor. I find the merging of those two worlds interesting.)

Also, thanks for commenting, honored to be the first, and thanks for your beautiful visualization of the barns!