Monday, 19 May 2014

Florence Nightingale Quilt - National Nursing Week 2014

May 12-18 was National Nursing Week here in Canada. Last year, I got tired of nothing being planned in our facility to honour it, and did most of the planning for it myself. While I offered the opportunity to the rest of the staff to do it for this year, I didn't get any takers. So I did all of the planning and coordinating again this year. Being enthusiastic about both my profession and quilting, I googled to see if there was a quilt designed in honour of Florence Nightingale. Eventually I bought a quilt kit and resolved to finish it for display during this year's Nursing Week. I was able to finish the quilt top and prepare it for longarm quilting on May 12, the first day of Nursing Week and my scheduled day off and had booked the time on "Lucey" at Sparrow Studioz. 
This was my first time on Lucey and I wasn't too impressed. While she's still an APQS machine, she wasn't quite up to the standards of Freddie and Millie that I had used previously. But they were both booked by other quilters. First off, Lucey does not have any hydraulics to raise and lower her frame. Since I'm taller than a lot of ladies, I had to do a little stooping to use her. Secondly, I had some issues with the tension and the stitch regulator. And the bobbin thread. Frustrating. Around noon, I suddenly felt hot, sweaty, weak and dizzy. I thought it was low blood sugar, but wasn't sure why it was so severe. I'm not diabetic, but can get a little dizzy and cranky when I haven't eaten for awhile, but the severity of this reaction I only experience when I've had to fast for bloodwork. I had eaten a good breakfast and had felt fine when I started out in the morning, so this puzzled me. There were some Tim Horton's muffins in the studio, so I decided to eat one to boost my blood sugar. I hadn't planned on eating anything until I was done the quilt, but hadn't anticipated this issue. However, the thought of eating actually nauseated me, which was also puzzling since I'm normally very hungry if it's a low blood sugar problem. Hmm, weak, dizzy, sweaty. Okay nurse, you're either going to pass out or throw up. Fun! But I'd booked my time on Lucey, the quilt was already on the frame and started and what was I going to do? I tried forcing myself to work, but kept having to quit and sit down. Finally, I remembered an old trick and wet some paper towels with cold water and put them on the back of my neck. That way I was actually able to finally finish "Florence." Between how sick I felt and my issues with Lucey, it's certainly not the best quilting I ever turned out and I made mistakes that I don't think I would have were it not for how I was feeling. At one point, the laser pointer slipped and when I followed it on my pantograph, I was suddenly quilting one row down. Grrr! That was Lucey's fault, though my fault for following her when I noticed she had jumped. I never did get all of that stitching ripped out and when I looked at it later, I couldn't tell where to even begin. I decided that it was safer to leave it all in, lest I rip out the wrong stitches and end up with the whole row unravelling. At another point, I actually stitched over the same row twice. It wasn't until I was nearly finished the row that I noticed what I was doing. That one did yield to the stitch ripper, though I did rip out the wrong stitches in a couple of places and had to mend the stitching line on my domestic machine at home. 
Once done on the longarm, I headed home and called in sick for the following day. As it turned out, I ended up being sick for the whole week. I'm still not totally up to par, but ready to head back to work tomorrow. So Nursing Week at my work site had to be postponed until I got back. 
Anyway, here's Florence:
I'm not sure how I managed to cut off most of her border in this picture. Maybe because I was sick? Or maybe because I was raising the camera above my head to get the full quilt in and didn't quite manage it.
This quilt worked well with a lot of chain stitching.
 It did get a little tiresome, but not nearly as much as the pixel quilt.
Flying Geese Units with Side Squares
Yesterday and today, I went to the health unit to set up my displays for Nursing Week.
Florence makes a nice setting for this display, doesn't she? Hey, this is the first time I've ever "shown" a quilt!. On the table you'll see various nursing-related items, including some grad photos of some of our nurses.
This is the bulletin board display, including more grad photos, a current group photo of most of us nurses working at the health unit, a write up on the history of the nurse's cap and the write up on Florence Nightingale that came with my quilt kit. I'll be adding more as the week progresses.
This is the bulletin board in the waiting room. I set it up so that people can write thank you notes to the nurses on it. I got this up before I got sick, so you can see that some people have already added their comments. 
When I arrived in my department, I found this lovely floral arrangement. It's from our local medical clinic for Nursing Week. I'll have to make a point to send them a thank you card. And speaking of which, I forgot to pick some thank you cards up today. We had some very generous donations of prizes towards our nursing week celebrations and I want to make sure they get acknowledged appropriately. 
And check out what else I've got that's exciting:
The Darlene Zimmerman large spool collection of Aurifil thread! I won it on Google+ and it arrived from Italy a couple of weeks ago. 
Aren't those luscious colours? My grandson is quite thrilled with this thread and asks me to open the box when he's with me in the sewing room. Not yet 2 years old, and he's already an Aurifil man! LOL!
Well, this has already been a long post and I need to go hang a window shade. So I'll just jump to the link for Show & Tell and you can share what you've been doing.