June 03, 2007
Mom also finished a quilt last week, this gorgeous crazy quilt that she gave to my sister. The cranberry velvet is from her Christmas dress. (My sister and I finally convinced her to retire it a few years ago. It was incredibly out of date.) The silk - blue, pink or lavender depending on how the light hits it - is left over from the chairs Sister made us. She says she bought the black velvet with pink flowers new, but both Sister and I remember a dress made out of that so it still has memory to us. The rest are from thrift store finds, with a bit of new fabric thrown in for the brighter colors. She also did the traditional embroidery. Plenty of herringbone stitch, a spider for good luck (top left), the symbol from her Women's Retreat (bottom centerish)... I'm very impressed, to say the least. Its breathtaking and so very soft.
Her time to completion was significantly better than mine... sort of. She collected the fabric several years ago, intending to make this quilt as a Christmas gift for Sister. However, neither of us actually knew how a crazy quilt was made and she was not happy with her original attempts at the squares. She abandoned the project for years, but never got rid of the scraps either. We each found a description of how to make a crazy quilt that made sense (using foundation blocks) and she thought about it again, but still didn't break it out.
But then we went to see the Gee's Bend Quilts exhibit at the Orlando Museum of Art. The quilts were beautiful and amazing, but far from perfect. They had wonky seams and sides that went beyond wavy to oceanic. Where they'd run out of fabric, they just threw something else in. Lots of feeling, but not much consistency. And we loved them. We left talking about working less for perfection in our quilts and focusing on the movement and color.
So, when Mom went on vacation a month ago, she broke the velvet and silk back out to try again. Ironically, she still wasn't happy with the first squares that she made. She even thought about putting it away again. However, Sister stopped by the house and looked at the squares. Her artist's eye saw what it would become and convinced Mom to keep going, swearing that it was all going to come together. (My favorite part of this little wrinkle is that she had no idea the quilt was intended for her!) So, the Gee's Bend quilts firmly in mind, Mom kept going.
It's apparently addictive, because she went three weeks from start to finish. Yes, three weeks from getting the scraps back out to having a bound and ready to use quilt. And don't forget that she embroidered it. I told you it was an impressive time to completion! So, on her birthday, she showed it to me and Sister was there admiring it - again. She oohed and aahed over it each time she saw it. Mom says "Well, if you love it that much, it should probably be for you." And chaos ensued.
It was the perfect set up for giving her the quilt I'd made for her.
(Mom will be so thrilled that a posted a photo of her in her circa 1980 gardening/house dress. Twice. It was a hot day, she was working in her yard and she wasn't expecting a series of photo ops.)