Monday, October 3, 2022

Pinktober Blog Hop

Hello and welcome to the first day of the Pinktober Breast Cancer Awareness blog hop.  This is the quilt I made for the hop, Heart Match.

When I heard about the Pinktober blog hop, hosted by Brianna at Sew Cute and Quirky I signed up right away.  I've experienced breast cancer first hand and am happy to say I've been cancer free for 15 years.

This hop is being sponsored by Island Batik.  They sent me this beautiful 10" stack of Positively Pink precuts, plus some coordinating yardage in pink and white that I used to make my quilt.  There were two different Island Batik breast cancer awareness fabric collections available for the hop.  I have 10" stacks and 2-1/2" strip packs available for sale in my Etsy shop if you want to snag some for yourself.

Aurifil thread also sent me this beautiful pink thread #2435.  It's lovely!  I used it for piecing, zigzag stitching around the fusible applique hearts, quilting, and binding.  

Quilters Perfect Klip sent two 25 piece bags of their pink clips.  This was my first time using their product.  They are wonderful!  The clips are a little bigger size than my other clips, so easier to handle.  I used them for my binding and I'm already using them for my next project, a ByAnnie bag.

I knew right away I wanted to make the Heart Match quilt because it is connected to my breast cancer story.  I was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was 34 years old.  The lump was mostly in my underarm, and I went to the doctor to find out why my underarm was swollen and painful.  I never suspected it was breast cancer.  This is why self exam is so important.  At 34, I was too young for a regular mammogram.

At the time I was also unemployed, going through a divorce and raising my first two boys, ages six and one.  It was a lot to experience at one time.  Instead of going back to work, I became a full time cancer patient.  I was at a doctor's office for different treatments, tests, and procedures 5 days a week for 2 years.  I was so tired I had to take a daily nap. I had $60,000 in bills on my desk after the first month, but I was unable to work, and denied temporary disability.  I was too weak to squeeze a garden hose.

I was very isolated at the time and had to go through most of this experience on my own.  I went to chemotherapy alone.  I was the youngest patient at the chemotherapy clinic and the only one without a friend or family member to drive me and sit with me during the chemo.  Sometimes chemo would be only an hour or two, sometimes it would be all day.  To pass the time and help me stay awake, I started my first Heart Match quilt.  I hand appliqued enough hearts during my chemotherapy sessions to make two Heart Match quilts.

For the Pinktober version of the Heart Match quilt, I used the fusible applique method.  It's fast and fun.  I prefer to use Heat 'n Bond Lite for fusible applique.  I love pressing the hearts in place and zigzag stitching around the edges.  The pink Aurifil thread gave some definition to the white heart patches and helped them stand out from the white background square. .

Here's the Heart Match quilt coming off the quilting frame. I cut both hearts and squares out of each fabric in the Positively Pink collection.  The white fabric I used for the heart blocks is Flour, my new favorite Island Batik neutral.

I used the pink coordinate fabric for the outer border and binding of the Heart Match quilt.

The Quilter's Perfect Klips worked wonderfully to hold my binding in place while I did the hand stitching part.  

I tried a new photo spot for this quilt.  This is right outside the quilting studio part of my house.  There was a lot of sunshine and shadow, so it may not be the best photo spot, or it may be better at a different time of day.  Overall, I like it.  I'll be using it again for future quilt photos.

It's so pretty!

If you have a friend or family member going through breast cancer, there are a lot of different ways you can help out.

Find out if they need a ride to chemotherapy or other appointments, but especially chemotherapy.  The medicine makes it dangerous to drive.  I'm sure from my experience you could get a DUI driving after chemo.  Thankfully, I never did.

Make them a quilt to take to chemotherapy sessions.  Your body gets really cold, and a warm cuddly quilt would be helpful.  If you want to make a Heart Match quilt, PDF instant download patterns are available in my Etsy shop.  Heart Match Pattern

Buy your friend or family member a really soft pillow.  When your hair falls out it makes your scalp hurt!  A super soft bed pillow is heavenly.

Do they have children?  Offer to babysit during appointments, or even come over to help with the kids so the breast cancer patient can get a much needed nap.

Cook a meal, help with the housework.  Be a kind, listening ear.  Realize that even after treatment, it will be a long time before your friend or family member recovers.  They will not instantly be back to normal.  They will still need a lot of caring and kindness.

The Heart Match Pinktober quilt is available for purchase in my Etsy shop.  After much contemplation, I decided to put it up for sale in hope that someone who doesn't have time to sew can give it as a care gift.  It's a nice size for a lap quilt.

The Heart Match Pinktober pattern is available as a PDF instant download in my Etsy shop.  If you make a Heart Match quilt, please send me a pic on Instagram @curlicuecreations.  I would love to see it!
I also have limited numbers of the Positively Pink and

Hope and Heart precuts available.  The 10" stacks of either collection are perfect to make a Heart Match quilt.

I want to thank Brianna of Sew Cute and Quirky for creating the Pinktober blog hop!  And thank you to Island Batik, Aurifil Thread, and Quilter's Perfect Klip for providing beautiful fabric, thread, and pink clips to create the Heart Match quilt.  And thank you dear readers, for visiting today and reading my post.  I hope my story inspires you to take good care of yourself and others. 

Here's the complete list, with links, for the Pinktober blog hop:

October 3 ~ Jennifer Thomas ~ Curlicue Creations (you are here)
Be Creative ~ Sew Something Beautiful Today!

Jennifer Thomas
Curlicue Creations

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  1. Jennifer, I'm so thankful you are a survivor and I have gotten to know you better through this year. Thank you for sharing your story and your beautiful quilt. No one should ever have to go through anything like this alone. My first job as an RN was administering chemo and caring for hospitalized cancer patients. I'm sorry you had to go through this, but SO thankful you are now cancer-free. Thanks for sharing your story. You are my hero! 💟

    1. Thank you Brenda. You are my hero ~ the nurses were the best!

  2. Thank you for sharing your story and your beautiful quilt. I am sorry to hear that you a member of the club you never want to join and even sadder that you spent 2 years doing this alone. You are a beautiful soul...and glad to know you through this quilting community. Great ideas for us for what to do when we know someone in it. I hope your lovely quilt finds the perfect home to comfort someone.

    1. Thank you so much, Kathleen. I hope my story will by helpful to others.

  3. Thank you for sharing your story. My heart hurts for what you had to endure, and that you had to endure it alone, but I am grateful that you have been cancer free for so long. Your quilt is beautiful, and I love that it ties into your own journey.

  4. Thank you for sharing your story. My heart hurts for what you had to endure and that you had to go through it alone, but I am grateful that you have been cancer free for so long. Your Heart Match quilt is beautiful and I love that it ties into your journey. May it bring someone comfort so they feel less alone.

  5. Oh Jennifer I am so happy you are free of this for 15 years and hope it goes on for the rest of your life oh my goodness sakes I had a big time operation in May of 1960 I was 16 years old and the year before that I was supposed to have open heart surgery but they couldn't get enough blood for me so it kept being postponed and then on the day before mother's Day and 1960 on a Saturday my mother got a call for us to come right away they had enough blood and so my dad bought my new car he was going to buy a new car anyway he bought new cars every two years cuz he was a salesman and traveled the outer regions of the prairie here in South Dakota and I it was quite an experience let me tell you I died on the operating table is thought that I had a heart attack one doctor here in Rapid City told me that a long time ago and then a doctor told me the same thing and they said it was no doubt on the operating table and then when I finally woke up and was in my room I was had nothing on Zippo except going down my you know chest will they cut me open and I have to have my feet when it's warm out just let my feet be covered even if it's a jillion degrees out and then I was in an oxygen tent for 15 days and then my dad and my uncle wanted to fly here my uncle owned his own plane but I said no because I was so depressed and I didn't realize until later on in life it you could I could have died from being that depressed the thing of it is I found out for my mother that they only gave morphine shots like every 8 hours or something like that and they only lasted for 4 hours and I wasn't terrible pain but anyway I'm so glad that you are cancer-free I just makes my heart skip a beat cuz you're such a special a special person to me and maybe someday we can meet I know my my cousins that died in November the Navy Commander his wife was in Apex New Jersey and I'd like to see her one of these days before I hit the hit the dust since I am only a mere 80 haha but I'm trying to recover from my move and I just moved across town but it was just so it was really debilitating it's just it's a long story but I'm still and then I fell the other night and cracked my head against a suitcase I had in the living room cuz I'm still not unpacked and most of the stuff is still in storage until I get it out this month but I follow a lot so I have to be careful but I cracked my head and the EMTs wanted to know if I wanted to go to the hospital I said no until I looked at myself in the mirror the next day and I could see why cuz I've got right side of my head is all banged up and bloody and stuff like that but I didn't have a way to get home and so I just said no and I guess I'm doing okay but I'm going to bed early cuz it's 7:14 here will you stay well my dear and thank you for sharing us your story about the quilts and and your surgery so we both been blessed haven't we I certainly have anyway take care sweetheart and I'll talk to you later bye-bye

    1. Oh, Helen what a story! If you're 80 now, you were so fortunate to survive at 16 with heart surgery. In those days, medicine wasn't what it is now! I remember the first heart transplant and what a big deal that was, and that was still in the late 1960s. You are a walking miracle!

  6. Thank you for giving some ideas on helping people going through this breast cancer thing alone. I can't imagine having to do this journey by myself. Prayers and Hugs!!!!

    1. Thank you, Terri. I hope my story will be helpful to others.

  7. Oh my, I'm so sorry for your experience, and that you were alone. This quilt is a lovely tribute, and I agree with all the helping ideas you are giving. Hugs

  8. I'm on month 18, but it isn't breast cancer, which I had always expected. My heart breaks for you being so young and having no support group. I have my sons, my quilt friends and tons of church members who have fed me, driven me, visited me, and even bought furniture for my new deck for days when it was nice enough to sit outside. I'm so blessed, and your story brings that home to me even more. Your quilt is beautiful! Thank you for sharing your story. I hope your life is a lot better, even outside of cancer now.