In the Beginning

Work on this Project began three years ago on this day, but the reason for it began sixty-four years ago...for it was on this day in 1952 that my late husband, Howard, was born.  His diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes, sometime seven years later, changed his life, his family's life, and the life of all who would come to know and love him in the future.

The MOB Project was a way I was able to work through some of the impact of his life -- and his illness and death -- on my own life, but that impact is not erased by the Project's creation.  I still witness that impact in my own life, and in the lives of my children, and I have no doubt it will be felt for generations to come.

There is more than one way to leave a legacy, and T1D's mark on the 'bodies' it touches is part of that.

The debut exhibit at the Lacombe Memorial Centre was taken down November 16, but the work goes on.  Two MOB II squares have arrived in the days since, and will eventually be finished so they can hang with the rest.  There are more squares "out there" which I hope will find their way to me in the coming months...And there are a couple of opportunities for showing the work in the new year that I hope to pursue.

The book that accompanies the Project remains for sale online at, and there's a few dozen copies sitting in a box in my back room for anyone who'd like to purchase one directly from the author.  Signed, of course! ;-)  There are a few more dollars from book sales to send to JDRF and CDA later this week.  In all, just over $425 CAD has been raised, divided between the two organizations: one for research (JDRF) and one for education (CDA).

Posts from here on in will be few and far between, but I've decided to keep this blog going for the foreseeable future, posting any news as it comes along.

Thank you, Gentle Readers, for your love, support and encouragement over the past three years.  You have no idea how important you've been, enabling me to see this Project through.  Together I'm sure we've played our part in the important work being done to understand, treat, prevent and cure T1D...and, perhaps, to have an impact on Type 2 as well.  Bless you all!

This Project is dedicated
to the memory
Howard Martin Blank
November 29, 1952 - August 9, 2006
Always in my heart.

October 29-2016: More from the Opening Reception

Thanks to my daughter, Gina, who took a few photos using my camera, here are a few more shots from the MOB Opening Reception:

Stump Sock Line-up

Signing more books

Meeting the Press

There was a surreal moment at The Shop on Thursday morning when I heard the story on "Sunny 94" out of Lacombe at 9:00 a.m...and a lovely time when a woman on a scooter (she has trouble walking) came in later that day asking for 'stretchy yarn' to make a pair of stump socks for her friend...having seen the exhibit, which gave her the idea...

The response has been fantastic...and I was so gratified to be able to send these to JDRF Canada and the Canadian Diabetes Association yesterday...

I've just checked, only to find a few more books have soon there will be more funds to send them.

And...another MOB II square arrived yesterday, soon to be added to the others!

I am so very thankful to everyone who has made this such a success, and I hope there'll be more to report before the exhibit comes down in mid-November.

Tuesday is All Saints Day...I know I've met several in the past three years, as this work has come to fruition.  God bless you, each and every one!

The Day After

It was a wonderful evening, with over two dozen people in attendance -- friends, acquaintances, colleagues, family, and strangers alike.  I gave a couple of interviews and signed over twenty books.  To date $360 has been raised to be divided equally between JDRF Canada and the Canadian Diabetes Association.

My beautiful daughter took these shots to share...

Giving my Artist's Talk

Book signing

I am so thankful for all who came out to support this project!  I met a man who'd had T1D over 60 years (!) and a young woman who'd had it over 30.  She was accompanied by her twelve-year-old daughter, who took a kit to stitch a square.  The woman showed me her insulin pump which, she reported, "Everyone thinks is a pager."  Just part of the hidden nature of this disease...

I also gave a couple of interviews -- one press and one radio -- so we'll see what comes of those.  One of the members of the audience came simply because she'd read about it in the paper that afternoon, and has diabetes in her family.  She affirmed the need for more education about T1D and the differences between it and the more prevalent Type 2.

All of this is so gratifying -- to see the project doing what I hoped it would do: get people thinking, develop awareness, and raise funds for research and education.  Thank you everyone!!


Carrie Newcomer

With her words in my ears,
a prayer in my heart, 
and my daughter in the audience...

I will be calm
I will quietly present my work
I will speak out
for those impacted 
Type 1 Diabetes
as I  remember this man

Howard M. Blank
November 29, 1952 - August 9, 2006

and the work of these men

Dr. Charles Best
Dr. Frederick Banting
Co-discoverers of Insulin

I will be thankful for this opportunity.
It won't be easy, I know,
but I'll believe that it's so, 
 I'll do this hard thing.

7 p.m., Lacombe Memorial Centre
5214 - 50 Avenue, Lacombe, Alberta

Mark on the Body:
Honouring Those
Who Live with Type 1 Diabetes

October 19-2016: It's UP!

We hung the installation in the Gallery upstairs at the Lacombe Memorial Centre this morning.  Thanks so much to Maureen and Shirley from the City of Lacombe Art Committee for their hard work to achieve a beautiful display!

View from the Foyer

Front View

Side View

The Overwhelmed Artist

October 10 - Preparing for an Installation III

Ten days.  That's all that remain until Mark on the Body is hung in the second floor open gallery space at the Lacombe Memorial Centre.

Ten days.  I can hardly believe it.

And yes, it's ready to go.

The MOB III stump socks have been stuffed.

The MOB II squares -- 27 and counting -- have been assembled into a mobile. (Below is a sample; we're going to spread them out a bit at the actual exhibit so they'll be more visible.)

MOB II: Making My Mark

And MOB I is now complete.  Here it's hanging in the only spot available in my house to show it in its entirety -- over my bed:

That's definitely a better view than I gave you in my last post, eh?

Posters have been sent to and put up by various friends and neighbours -- in the local post office, churches, store fronts, pharmacies, libraries, quilt shops and doctors' offices.  Postcard invitations have been sent to "my" galleries, friends, family members, JDRF and CDA offices and at least two researchers at the University of Alberta, where some of the finest research into the origin, treatment and cure of T1D is happening.

My speech for the Opening Reception has been written. (I'm used to public speaking but need prayers I won't collapse over that one, okay?)

Meet the Press...

Publicity is beginning, too.

There's been at least one radio 'spot', and the newsprint is starting.  First up was the publication of the poster image in The Chautauqua, a locally-produced newspaper that serves all the mall communities in these parts.  A free publication, it's paid for by advertisers and donors...and has a fairly wide reach.

From The Chatauqua Oct. 7-2016 edition

And now there's been an online tribute...from a friend who lives so far from here that she won't be at the Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA) and long-time cyber-friend, Linda Miller.  To read her beautiful post about this project, please click HERE...and then read her other posts and take in her fine artwork. You won't be disappointed.

Thank you, Linda.  Thank you, all my SAQA friends and colleagues who've contributed your time, your stitching, your encouragement and your dollars.  Thank you Lori, and Anna, and Gwendy, and Andrea, and Shawna and Shirley at The Shop.  Thank you Terry and Laura at the libraries.  Thank you Karla at the Post Office.  Thank you Caroline at Homespun Seasons and that other gal, the one who owns Wildflower Creations.  Thank you Deb and Denise and Andrea and Gracie at "my" galleries.  Thank you Lee at St. Cyprian's, Lacombe.  Thank you, Beth at The Chautauqua.  Thank you to all who've bought books online because you can't get here to see the exhibit in person.

There are many more people I could, should, and will thank -- but you're all in the book's Acknowledgments...

See you at the Opening, eh?

September 29, 2016 - Preparing for an Installation II

Mainly visuals this it is coming together...

The books arrived last week and have begun to be distributed -- first to two of the area libraries (Mirror and Bashaw)...and in the next few days to two more (Alix and Stettler).  Nine have been sold online and another by mail order directly from me.  And one has been 'drilled' so that it can be attached to the podium for the duration of the installation.

Meanwhile in the 'sewdio'... MOB I is finished.  Here it is on my design wall.  Trust me, it'll look better hanging from the ceiling and viewed on both sides!  :-)

MOB I on the design wall

And here is a close-up of the "syringe fringe" -- twenty insulin syringes donated by a friend who now uses an 'insulin pen' instead -- trimmed of their needles, and secured inside the hem through grommets to the outside.  

The "syringe fringe" close up

Yesterday, the labels for the twenty-eight MOB II squares received thus far were turned into tiny quilt 'sandwiches', in preparation for being suspended on twill tape so they can hang on a mobile:

"Sandwich" in the making

Stacks of MOB II squares.

Press releases have begun in the form of radio 'spots' (public service announcements) and soon (I hope) in print, as Maureen, my contact at the City of Lacombe, has been working hard to put these out.  The best news thus far?  Lucibelle Tan, the Fund-raising Coordinator for JDRF's Calgary Office, is including information about the Opening in their October newsletter.

Onward and upward!

August 29, 2016 - Preparing for an Installation I

As you who've been following know, hand-stitching on MOB I finished almost 3 weeks ago...

Since then, I sent my hard-working sewing machine off to the "spa" for long-needed TLC...and started in on the manuscript of the book that will accompany the installation.

The draft of the book has been reviewed by my mentor, and today was transferred to the self-publishing service, Blurb, for publication as a soft-cover trade book.

Permission has been procured to sell the book at the opening -- as well as afterwards -- and to divide net proceeds between the JDRF and the CDA, and a final planning meeting with the debut venue coordinators is forthcoming.  We are hoping that JDRF and CDA representatives will be able to attend.

The hosts of the exhibit are on track to produce posters and other publicity, while I will be creating postcards for distribution as well.

Now that my sewing machine is back, the finishing of MOB I and the parts to assemble MOB II will be completed shortly.

As for MOB III...eight of the stump socks are finished and stuffed...

and the ninth is under construction.

I continue to thank you, Gentle Readers, for your support and patience as the process of developing this piece into an installation takes place.  Stay tuned!

August 9 - 2016: Anniversary

Once again, it is time.

The last stitch mark on the piece, MOB I, was made this morning...the journey that began in November 2013 is concluded.


Left Hand

Left Shoulder

Left thigh

Right Hand

Right Shoulder

Right Thigh

Working now towards assembling this piece for hanging, I will be shadow quilting a bit around the exterior of the body shape, trimming the piece and bordering it with navy panels so it can be seen more easily -- and from both sides.

I have one stump sock left to knit for MOB III; the other eight are in place thanks to help from Ann, Bev, Lia, Sharon and Shalaya.

I continue to collect squares for those who are "making their marks" for MOB II.  As mentioned in earlier posts, this is the ongoing portion of this entire project, and kits are available for any who wish to participate.  Simply contact me by e-mail, and I will send you one!

I remain ever grateful for those who follow this wee blog and who've expressed their support and encouragement over the past 32 months...and continue to do so.  Next posts here will be more of process, leading up to the debut of this installation in October.  I hope you'll continue the journey with me; stay tuned!

My Silent Partners...

And today remembering the man who inspired all this -- on the forty-first anniversary of our marriage, and the tenth anniversary of his death...

Me and my Howard
Engagement Photo
Summer, 1975

July 29 - 2016 - MOB I: On the Home Stretch

With the last stitch taken July 29, I realized there are only 11 days left...11 days till and including August 9, when I'll take the very last stitch in MOB I.  The anniversary of which I first spoke will have arrived -- ten years from Howard's death from Type 1 Diabetes (T1D).

July 29 - 2016 - One thigh

Oh my.

And then...

On August 10 the work of "assembly" of the now-in-three-parts installation will begin.

MOB I will have additional quilting done around the body shape, and the will be mounted against a dark background to make it all more visible.

July 29, 2016 - Outside a shoulder

The MOB II squares I've received to date will be mounted in a mobile attached to a grid, enabling each one to be viewed alone and as part of the whole.  There are still several squares out in the world, yet to be stitched and returned.  I suspect some of them may have been lost...or set aside because "life happens"...but this is the ongoing part of this project.  My dream is to have several grids -- several mobiles -- of hanging squares, made from the kits that will be available at the exhibit when it opens in Lacombe in October and at every venue at which it shows.*

As for MOB III...there is one stump sock left to knit, and then they will be "stuffed" to give them shape and form, and prepared for display.

There will be periodic posts -- likely monthly but perhaps more often -- as the assembly process moves forward.  It's not long before the installation, and there is much work to be done.  Onward and upward!

July 29, 2016 - Left hand

Next Stop: August 9, 2016...

*If you wish a kit in order to 'make your mark' for MOB II, please contact me directly by e-mail.  And thanks for your support!

June 29, 2016 - The Saga of a Stump Sock

This month has seen the arrival of some precious gifts...

First, the socks!  MOB III is now nearly complete.   My hope was for nine socks, and seven are now finished, thanks in large part to my knitting friends from Ravelry and SAQA.

Here they are so far...with particular thanks to Anne, whose sock arrived some time back and wasn't acknowledged...and with thanks to Bev, whose sock was sent twice before it found its way here!  Oh...and the three in the back row?  These are the ones I've finished so far.  With another being knit by a friend from Calgary, I need to knit only one more to complete the set.  :-)

Collected stump socks - June 29-2016

Here's the story of Bev's sock, which boggled my mind!

  • Sent to me the first time...landed at Customs on May 5...and was sent back to her as "undeliverable" -- even though the address was correct.  Sigh.
  • Sent again June 2:
    • Departed Post Office in Colorado - June 2 at 6:26 p.m.;
    • Passed through "USPS Origin Facility" - June 2 at 10:45-10:47 p.m.;
    • Passed through "USPS Facility" in Los Angeles - June 4 at 10:14-10:35 a.m.;
    • Processed at "ISC" in Los Angeles - June 5 at 10:43 a.m.;
    • Arrived Los Angeles (location?) - June 6 at 1:06 p.m.;
    • Departed Vancouver, B.C. - June 7 at 8:11 a.m.;
    • "Processed Through Facility" in Canada (probably Vancouver) - June 7 - 10:43 a.m.
    • "Customs Clearance" in Canada (Vancouver?) - June 7 - 10:43 a.m.;
    • "Customs Clearance processing complete" - June 7 - 11:10 a.m.;
    • Arrived Mirror, Alberta Post Office - June 10 - 12:03 p.m.
Seriously?  Colorado is just about straight south of Alberta...well, southeast but not "east" by much... so it's anyone's guess why the sock had to travel here via the west coast of the continent (LA and Vancouver, B.C.).  Bev and I are both relieved it finally arrived!

Another gift surprised me on Tuesday this week: I was given a box of unused, still wrapped insulin syringes.   I had been longing to add syringes to MOB I...but had no idea how to acquire any, as I am not in need of them myself and had returned all my husband's to the pharmacy when he died. (Unused and still sterile, they were donated to those in need.)  And out of the blue -- !  So now to plan exactly how to use them tastefully...I believe they will add impact to the statement of this piece.

As for the "main event" -- MOB I -- here's how it looked after stitching yesterday:

Next month's report will be the last before the finale of MOB I (August 9)...stay tuned -- and thanks for your continued support!

May 29, 2016 - It's All Coming Together

April and May have been busy, exciting months for yours truly!  In mid-April I shared a booth with my photographer daughter, Gina, at the Lacombe Art Show and Sale -- and sold my first large landscape.

Having been part of this Show for a few years now, I've had the opportunity to get to know Maureen MacKenzie from the City of Lacombe, who is on the City's Art Committee and responsible for coordinating that annual event.

Remember that meeting I mentioned in my last post?  Well...when Maureen and two other members of the Art Committee met with me for lunch...and they agreed to host the debut of the Mark on the Body Project as an installation in the upstairs gallery at the Lacombe Memorial Centre!

The exhibit will go up October 20 and run till November 17, 2016.  It will be visible from the foyer...just enough to entice a short trip up the stairs (or on the elevator) to see it "up close and personal".  There will be an official Opening Reception on Wednesday, October 26 (time to be determined)...complete with media etc.!!

Needless to say, I'm over the moon!  I've connected with the Fundraising and Development Coordinators from both the JDRF and the CDA for this area (Central Alberta/Red Deer and District).  Both are excited to see the installation and will be invited to the opening, as will Gracie and Deb, managers of the two galleries in which I show my miniatures.

And I'm now working hard with my SAQA Mentor, Bonnie Jo Smith, to prepare my Artist's talk and a book to accompany the piece -- and I'm knitting away on my third stump sock as well as doing my daily stitching on the main piece.

May 29, 2016 - Left Hand

May 29, 2016 - Abdomen & Thighs

While I work away, my band of loving volunteers are working too.  You saw Lia's sock last month...This month one arrived from Sharon:

In addition, MOB II squares are once more coming in...

Newly-minted squares from Monika and Jo V.

And more have been sent out to volunteer stitchers I met while in Stratford. ON on the Victoria Day holiday weekend...and at Olds. AB, while at a stitching workshop with Monika at the College.

I have on hand another dozen MOB II 'kits' for anyone who would like them; there will be even more available at the installation for folks to work on during the opening or to take home, stitch and send in to be included.  These will be hung as a mobile (or two) so that people can walk around and see them from front and back.  (If you are interested, please contact me at

I continue to hope that this work will dispel the myths that surround both types of diabetes, and will play a part in increasing financial support for the important research going on here in Alberta -- and around the world -- to better treat, to prevent and ultimately to find a cure for T1D.

Thank you again, Gentle Readers, for your encouragement, your prayers and your support.  By the end of next month, stitching on MOB I will be in the home stretch.  See you then!

Time is Marching On

Just a few days more than three months from now, the stitching for MOB I will be finished, based on the deadline set out from the start.

April 29, 2016 - Abdomen and Thighs

When first envisioned, I thought that would be all there is to it -- but as those of you who've been following along know, the Project has taken legs (ahem) to speak -- and I've not waited till the last MOB I stitch is stitched to think about how and where and when the Project will make its debut in the wider world.

April 29, 2016 - Right Hand

Seeing how poorly some of the stitches show on such a wide, white background, for instance, I've already determined that the finished MOB I will be shadow quilted a short way out from the image, then trimmed and mounted on a dark background, cut away in the back so that the stitching can be viewed from both sides.

April 29, 2016 - Left Shoulder and "Air"

Thanks to wonderful volunteers, MOB II: Making My Mark has been launched; I've received over a dozen finished squares and have about an equal number 'out there' that I hope to have in hand by the end of July so that the installation can be launched with a decent number of them.

Earliest Returns - July 2015
I've decided this will be the participatory part of the installation, and am preparing a stack of 'kits' for participants to do at each venue where the Project is shown.  I'll include self-addressed envelopes (with stamps, in Canada) for those who want to take them home to finish and send to me.

And then there's MOB III: Dance of Hope (working title)...with now five volunteers knitting stump socks...

Lia's sock...soon to be here!

And with two of my own now finished...

My own second sock

Since mid-April I've been working with a mentor (volunteer) provided as a service through Studio Art Quilt Associates (SAQA), the international studio quilt art group to which I've belonged for nearly a decade now.  She's been giving me insights into the process of preparing for an installation, including polishing the Project's back-story, creating proposal packages and the like.  I began by creating my own hard-copy folder:

And...I've managed to procure a meeting in ten days' time -- with people representing my first potential venue...

I'm both excited and terrified!

For the first time ever, I'm linking this blog to Nina Marie's Off the Wall Friday.  See you next month!