Wednesday, October 1, 2014


September was a busy and emotional month. We sold and moved from our special summer spot in Refuge Cove, BC, and spent much energy sorting through not only material goods but also special memories made over the past fifteen years. Three days after leaving, we said good-by to our little Spike, who was the best dog ever. She had been failing quickly over the past year, and her time had come to leave us.
We had a two week period in August when the “new owners” came to spend time in “our/their” house and we temporarily moved to a tiny cabin in our community. I took along a small box of sewing items and as I watched the boats come and go, I also witnessed our Spike in her failing state, and began a journal quilt for the theme of “Animals”. With this came a poem:

Stitched to Death
I sit on the deck of this waterfront cabin,
            Small waves lapping at the pilings,
            Sun glistening off the water,
            Boat traffic and noise in the periphery,
While I stitch this cloth to death.
Browns and greens become the hilly earth shapes,
            A remnant of sky colors sit above the horizon
            And scraps of black are pieced together:
                        Four legs that have jumped up on our laps,
                        Two big pointy ears that picked up every move we made,
                        A lively black tail that was a signal to her moods,
                        And a tiny nose that ruled her life,
While I stitch this cloth to death.
It’s a time for reflection:
            A distinctive bark that signaled any visitors,
            The loyalty and friendship she gave us for sixteen years,
            The miles we traveled together – be it by boat or car or plane,
            The new friends we made just because others were so curious about her.
And further pondering her funny little habits:
            Waiting to eat her dinner when we ate ours,
            Sleeping with us but only under the top cover,
            Discriminately sitting on our left side, never on the right,
            And balancing so proudly on our folded forearms as we stood to converse with others,
While I stitch this cloth to death.
And now I wonder if she even knows us as she
            Paces through the night,
            Gets stuck in corners and tight spaces,
            Accepts her mashed up food in a bottle,
            And lets us carry her most places.
But the sweetness in her eyes remain constant, and I dwell on that
While I stitch this cloth to death.

This little journal quilt sat unfinished for a few weeks; I finally unearthed it last night to finish it.
In the meantime, I have been working on other projects, one in particular creating a “day of the dead” altar from cloth, and of course my first prototype was for Spike. It basically is a sleeve of black quilted fabric that I slipped over an inexpensive, free-standing 8x10 acrylic picture frame. The design work was mainly discharged and later colored in with bright fabric markers. Lots of buttons were added and also tiny ribbon flowers. I attached two lines of cording for displaying photos.
As you can see, we loved our dog a lot and really miss her.  


Karen Bates said...

Hi Mary,
I love your poem and am so sorry to hear of the loss of your sweet dog. She was definitely a huge part of your life and it is so hard to say good bye to such a wonderful member of the family.
Thank you for sharing,

cjcscapes.victoria.bc.canada said...

Dear Mary
Your creativity flows in all ways, in your designs, poetry, imagination and best yet you create wonderful finished pieces in remembrance of Spike.
I already miss you. RIP Spike sweet little dog friend.
Cathy Jupp Campbell

cjcscapes.victoria.bc.canada said...

Thank you so much for the wonderful placemat Mary. It will always stay on our table.
Did you ever find the other ones? If so would you be willing to part with them as I would like to purchase them.