My grandmother passed away in December 2012. She was an amazing woman who lived a long, long life surrounded by the people who loved her. Born in 1918, she experienced the joys and sorrows in a country about to experience big change. Born into a rather large family, she moved to the big city, Hong Kong, as a young woman with an entrepreneurial spirit, she opened a corner store serving the neighbourhood. She fell in love with a musician, a married man though it was a strictly arranged marriage. Life can sometimes throw you a curve ball when it comes to love. As a young family, they survived tumultuous times ravaged by war where families were torn apart, idyllic childhoods were something of the past and many people had to endure difficult times. She did what she needed to do to keep her family safe, and together. Not only did she raise and take care of her 4(!) sons but the children of her cousins, neighbours and even the children of her husband’s first wife. My grandmother was incredible; her selflessness, strength, and love will be my inspiration for all time.
I’m not terribly fashionable but after I was given many of her blouses, I realized that a lot can be pieced together based on what we wear – favourite colours, patterns, fabric choices. I love how the cathedral block was able to highlight the intricacies of the patterns and colours, there was a richness and playfulness within these fabric choices yet also a conservative, calmness that reflected the different facets of her personality. This memory quilt is for my dad so in addition to his memories of their relationship, I hope this may serve to help us keep her in our family memory for generations to come.
This year I decided to step outside of my comfort zone and start to add more skills to my tool box. Not that I am bored with the other stuff that I do, hell no! I’m just fickle and need new things to entertain me. Ha! But really I wanted to expand my horizons and try something new and different. For those who know me, I love instant gratification, the faster the better. Hence my trepidation with doing anything by hand or gasp…slow.
In my efforts to broaden my quilting world, I joined another local guild over in the west Island of Montreal. They are the bee’s knees. Totally. Though my aesthetic may be completely different, I am amazed by the skills and techniques these quilters possess. Then came along Deborah Kemball Her work is quietly mind-blowing. Botanicals, tapestries, Oakshott solids. I was in love so I jumped in feet first and started a year long endeavour of learning hand appliqué. In retrospect, I should’ve started with dabbling with a block here or there. Instead, I’m in it with my heart on my sleeve. Twelve months, twelve blocks to make a 52″ square quilt of gorgeousness… well her quilt is, mine is going to take a looong time.
“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” ~ A. Einstein
Memory quilts are an interesting concept, one that I am not familiar with. Quilting is not a deep-rooted tradition in my family and I seem to have fallen into it serendipitously. My paternal grandmother passed away almost one year ago. We lived in different parts of the country for most of my life and though we were not close, I knew that our love was mutual. She was like a rock, the matriarch of the family. The woman who fell in love with a man with a complicated life, lost her husband through sickness, kept her immediate and extended family together throughout WWII, raised 4 boys as a single mother, and immigrated with them and their new families in the 1970s to find a new life in Canada. She lived a rich, full and long life to see her 12 grandchildren grow up and 16 great grandchildren born.
Though I was hesitant to ask for some of her old clothing, I did it anyways knowing full well that many of her belongings would end up at Good Will. Before I started, I didn’t realize how much you can learn about a person from just their clothes. Their favourite colour, patterns, even fabric preferences. Without going into minute details, here are some of the progress shots of my cathedral windows quilt using my grandmother’s blouses.
A little late on the bandwagon but finally some progress! Who needs to be judged anyways? I’m going to try to quilt this baby up myself as I need the practice. My MIL gave me this nifty teflon-like mat for my sewing table that is supposed to help the fabric glide effortlessly when FMQ.. I can’t wait to try it out!
Linsday sews tutorial for making 8 HSTs at a time! This technique totally rules. And did I mention fast? I’m a bit late on the Madrona Road challenge and for some reason every time a challenge comes along, I need to make HSTs – remember the 1 pound challenge from last year? Anyhow I’m excited to finally get this started!