It is with a heavy heart that I type these words.
Words can’t express the shock, and deep sorrow at hearing the news of Heather Lair’s death. She was my first quilt teacher and opened the door to a world that would reinvent me, change me forever.
So excited was I, following my first class with Heather in 1999, that I phoned her that evening, asking her to teach me to appliqué. I had finished the sample beginner block she had assigned to us and I was wanting to layer some images over my work.
She generously said, “Sure, stop by tomorrow and I’ll show you how to hand appliqué”.
I replied, “But can’t we do it NOW? Please????”
An instant friendship was born as she patiently described the needle-turn appliqué stitch over the phone to this over-achiever wannabe quilter. She unlocked a passion within me which has now become my life. I hold her, with deep respect and gratitude, forever in my heart.
Fast forward through years of Saturday music nights at the Lair’s where Heather was always such a welcoming host and supportive audience to our tunes. Move through her courageous and victorious battle with breast cancer. Examine her brilliant career as one of the premier quilters in Canada. Count the hundreds of people she taught and inspired. Applaud her resilience as she was forced back into battle with her cancer, never giving up and always looking to a bright future.
And now we come to today. A million stitches later…her day of passing, where she slipped away from us far, far too early.
I smile as I recall her words as she was teaching me what she called, Chainsaw Sewing. She had smiled as she said, “It’s easy. If it’s too long, cut a piece off. If it’s too short, add a piece.” If only we could have sewed on years to a life cut unfairly short.
Thanks to Rob Peters for these comforting words as we find ourselves reeling.
“Our hearts are truly torn…yet we, yes each of us, seek to find solace with thoughts of being stitched together carefully and masterfully – becoming part of an eternal patchwork /cosmic fabric thanks to steady hands of some ethereal quilter extraordinaire.”
She was an incredible woman. Strong, creative, funny, fast-thinking, soft-spoken, the ultimate mother, a loving wife, an outstanding chef, a skilled artist, a giving teacher, a pillar in our community.
My deepest condolences to Rick, Emily, Silas. I keep you in my heart.