Thursday, June 15, 2017

Wandering back in

....for June ScrapHappy Day

But first  of all, thank you to everyone who commented and left well-wishes on my last post. Although I didn't get back to reply to you all, I did read every comment and was moved and heartened by your thoughts and concern.  Thank-you everyone, it meant a lot.

And for all those who asked, yes, my son did make it.  He was in the area not long after I wrote that post, about 3 blocks away, but the road there, just south of me, had washed away and other roads in off the motorway were underwater, so he was unable to actually get to me until the Saturday lunchtime. He had to leave his car and slog through knee deep mud to get here.  He was an absolute god-send, and worked like a trojan to get all of the mess out from under the house, clean mud off pathways, and co-ordinate volunteers who came to help. I am so glad he was here.

And here he is, doing the hard and dirty work
So I was writing a post-flood post, in fact have started a few over the last few weeks, but it just wasn't happening, those words just didn't want to come. Today I wrote nearly a whole post, then realised it was going to be epic once I included Scraphappy, so I ditched it and decided to just do a ScrapHappy post.  The other one will keep for another time.

In the days after the flood, it was incredibly sad to see the devastation and loss in my neighbourhood, and hear of huge losses all over town.  As I resumed my daily walking with Mirrhi, I began noticing pieces of fabric everywhere -  tattered, torn and muddied, some almost colourless after being immersed in water for days – they were hanging from trees, fences and poking up out of the ground. ……whole items of clothing,  parts of clothing and small scraps, all scoured and tumbled and altered by the floodwater....... bit like us townspeople.

I started to gather them as I walked, these small and fragile reminders of loss, and as my collection grew, I thought what a nice thing it would be to stitch them together, make a small quiltlet, not only to symbolise what our town had lost, but also a way of healing for myself, a project to turn my mind away from the clean-up still to be done, and the sadness in and around me, as I turned those scraps into a whole again........different but whole. And it felt good to have a project to focus on, something more creative than swilling mud from place to place.

Pieces of my own prayer flags, some found at the far end of the park, and hanging in my neighbour's trees.
And so I bundled some of the debris still hanging on my fences onto the larger light coloured cloth, and added some  nails and tools that had been sitting immersed in the water and had rapidly rusted to other bundles.......

Putting that muddy flood water to good use, steaming my bundles in it for a couple of hours......phew, nasty smell!

Cooked bundle, left to dry before unwrapping

not very satisfactory colour and markings

muddy marks are good

and rusty marks too
The other pieces I dusted  the dried mud and silt off, and then gently washed them. I used the piece with the rusty marks as the background cloth and then layered and hand-stitched everything kantha -style into a whole cloth.  Pleasingly, the background cloth gave me a high flood line!

The result is this small quiltlet's around 20cms x 23 cms.........onto which I added a tattered and muddied seed packet dug out of the mud…all that I could find of my well-stocked seed tin.....upper right edge ..... and a photo of one of my grandchildren, from a storage box full that were damaged by the flood....centre edge left.  Where the stitch is strong, the fabric is distorted and pulled out of shape…….a little like our own landscape  where the flood waters carved new channels, and deposited huge mounds of mud and silt.  I’ve loosely bound the edges of the quilt, enclosing it, as we were for a time as we waited for the waters to go down and roads to be cleared.

And finally, in the centre, a  rust-dyed velvet heart......a little wonky and out of shape as ours have been.... symbolic of the soft, strong and golden hearts revealed in the community in the days and weeks  after the floods, as everyone pulled together to help friends, neighbours and strangers.

I called it 'Parting the Flood Waters of Sadness'

Joining with Kate and Gun who kindly host ScrapHappy Day on the 15th of every month.  Pop along and see what other scrappers have been up to.

...... till next time

Addendum  I have to give credit to Gracie at Grace and Mending  blog for inspiring me with her wonderful work making art out of old stuff.


  1. Nanette, how lovely to read this but how sad for your township. I have been wondering how you fared recently as I heard the east coast was having heavy rain once again. I hope you didn't sustain any more damage.

    1. All that recent heavy rain freaked everybody out! We were on flood watch but no problems here, although some of the villages had road and bridge wash-outs and lots of landlsides around. Although there was a lot of rain this time it was very different....200+mls slowly over a few days, compared to over 700mls in a couple of hours. Still scary though, thinking 'oh no, not again'.

  2. I'm so happy to see your new post Nanette. I was thinking about you and what happened after the flood.
    I love how your scrap quilt and especially what it represents.

  3. Love the flood flag idea! There was a blog I used to follow (and lost somehow) but she used to walk a lot and would collect fabrics she found en route and they all went into a boro like cover. It fascinated me how much fragment clothing she would find and that was on routes that hadn't been blethered in mud and water necessarily.
    The symbolism of yours is heartfelt and touching, maybe it should be in the local museum for years to come?
    Hope your working through the aftermath and finding your security and peace of mind again girl.
    Much love x

  4. What a beautiful way to look at the hope and goodness that has come out of the devastation of the flooding as you and your neighbors rebuild. May you continue to be blessed with strength and hope in this process.

  5. What a hopeful person you are, and how wonderful to see such creativity spring out of the acres of mud... It's a beautiful, touching and hopeful piece, and I love it! An inspired use of scraps.

  6. I wanted to reply to each of you individually, but my computer is misbehaving and is taking forever to load, then 'times out', so one reply might be all I get to do.
    Thanks for all your lovely comments and the welcome back.
    Chel-we were all worried about the heavy rain and some road and bridge damage in the villages, although we were on flood watch it was ok this time.
    Lyn....that's Grace and Mending you're thinking of, I love her work. Grace of Windthread and I were talking about her a few weeks ago, and she gave me the inspiration for my quiltie......I'll go back when my jolly computer lets me and acknowledge her. Peace of mind is tenuous, it will take time I think.

  7. Wow. That's an amazing effort for healing. Your post is so poignant and then the quiltlet. Thank you for sharing your work and your pain.

  8. This is so moving. Creating beauty out of destruction. I am new to your blog and did not know of what you have been dealing with - your story will stay with me as will your wonderfully soothing a positive response. Your work is a poignant treasure.

  9. What a stunning post this has been to read, Nanette... I'm glad you're finding some peace & occupation in the little pieces of fabrics you've found... the experience must have been very scary for you. xx

  10. YES!!!!! immediately thought of Grace and Mending...
    i hope she is in touch with you...
    this is just Great....


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