Inspiring Quilters, Stitch by Stitch
I just got back from a wonderful visit with my grandchildren in Georgia. They had an end of the year school picnic where I was the face painter...it was really fun and I did a fabulous job if I do say so myself. Now seeing them is always a joy but this trip there was an added surprise from my aunt I haven't seen in years. Aunt Merci (her 1st hubby was Filipino and could not say Marcy so she had her name changed to the way he said it)..anyway, Aunt Merci had to put her mother in a nursing home recently. I never really knew her mother very well but I remembered her. She was a quilter and when Merci discovered my passion for the craft she gave me all of her mother's quilting stuff. BINGO! I scored big time!
Of course I got fabric, tons of books, magazines that date back to 1989, notions, and patterns but it was the UFO's that made me feel really connected to this woman I barely remember. It was the way she had everything organized and stashed; her "quilt closet" looked exactly like mine. All of her patterns were carefully organized...even some old brown paper bag cut outs were in envelopes with chicken scratch instructions only she can understand...but so can I. It's been really amazing going through all this stuff. It's like Christmas where I just keep finding all kinds of goodies. Some of the books are so good I don't know which one to begin first. Absolutely, hands down the UFO's were the best thing. As I go through them (which I've done about a million times since Saturday) I feel the energy of her through her choices and styles. I know why she picked certain colors and patterns. Some were things I've never tried like a bow tie baby blanket and a hexagon paper piecing she started....both I will be finishing and donating to St. Jude Children's Hospital. There are pieces she made but placed where you know she had no intention of using them because it was a bad idea but still...she's not throwing the one ugly bow tie piece away. I have a shoe box of those kind of blocks I've made; just some hideous things that you actually laugh out loud when you look at them. I bet other quilters keep theirs as well; we should have a "biggest mistakes ever" quilt contest one day. Can you all imagine that? Gee's Bend gone wrong. We could later donate them to a place that they won't care how ugly they are.
Merci tried to find a special fabric she had chosen once for her mom to make her a quilt. Her mom never got around to it for whatever reason but I finally came across the fabric she described. It's the one thing I have to say "what was she thinking?" Maybe she asked herself the same thing which is why she never finished it...that's mostly why I end up with UFO's...some sort of quilter's block. Anyway, the pieces are cut strangely but I think I can figure out how to make something beautiful out of them. It's definitely going to be a challenge but my aunt Merci will LOVE it. I can tell that this particular fabric really caught her eye. I think we quilters can tell a lot about each other through our bodies of work without ever meeting. That's why quilts are so amazing to me, they're art is rich in historical matter and very telling of the times in which they were made and the people who made them. I wonder what people in the future will say when they find ours in the attics of estate sales or whatever. I bet they'll think T-shirt quilts will be a real find. lol... I laugh but what if Mozart had shirts with his concert dates on them....think about it. lol
Merci's mom was a simple quilter who really enjoyed the old fashioned piece quilt patterns and doing them by hand. I appreciate everything about her and will enjoy all of what I inherited from her for years to come....literally.