Looking Back…

I’ve been back from a unplanned trip “home” for just over four weeks now so I guess it’s time I got sorted and posted some pictures I took while I was there.

My Mum died suddenly following a massive brain hemorrhage while she was on holiday with my dad in Portugal. Four days later I was on my way to the airport for a First Class flight (thank you Bridget) from O’Hare to Heathrow…

It was obviously a sad time but really it it was a good time too. We are all going to miss my mum but she went the way she lived… fast… and now we have to pick ourselves up and get on. That’s what she brought us up to do.

So, I was able to hang out with my dad, spend lots of time with my sister and see my brother and his family for the first time in a while.

I also got to thinking about the quilts I made when I was first starting out on my adventures and to renew the acquaintance of several of them…

My dad collected ducks…(He seems to have completed his collection as there are only so many ducks you can have in one house) and “his” bathroom is home to a good few of them so of course it seemed appropriate to make him a duck quilt. I think most of the fabrics were from Wal-Mart (can you believe it?) and the actual duck motifs were cut from a remnant which explains why they have varying amounts of border to them. I was still very wary of machine quilting so the quilt has a minimal amount of hand stitching. All those triangles were a real labour of love.

I soon discovered the joys of amassing fabrics  and my mum wanted a quilt to hang on the half landing on the stairs so I made this next quilt. It was one of my first rather organic designs that grow as they progress… I think I started with the butterfly border fabric and wanted to try some sort of colour wash effect. I had also just made a scrappy foundation pieced strip quilt so I included that technique and some four patches… Then there are the fused butterflies with blanket stitch edgings and some very dodgy free motion quilting in nylon thread… I still like the overall effect from a distance! And it’s still hanging in the place it was created for.

When Schley Brandt first came to the area she taught a stained glass window quilt at Stitches and Stuffing. That’s where I made this next quilt which graces the dining table when it is not in use at my parents’ house. I chose a William Morris inspired print for the border and was very pleased with my efforts. I quilted in the ditch while my parents were in Chicago for the day one time they came to visit so that it would be finished for them to take back. I managed to quite successfully pick up the colours in the Chinese rug from memory.

My sister Bridget has several of my quilts at her home  which I found in various interesting places… This one was on the back of a chair in a spare bedroom currently used as a store room… Sheila and I bought kits (Bittersweet Autumn by Quilt with Judy)at a local quilt show and both made several wall hangings of different sizes using the hand dyed wools and interesting cotton fabrics included with the pattern. I remember cutting out the leaves and using fabric glue to baste them on the blocks before machine blanket stitching around them all.

There were 2 quilts in the pink room. The first one was made from a Jean Wells pattern in her book Everything Flowers – Quilts from My Garden. I had bought the book and suitable fabrics but not got round to the quilt until one day I was in Pieceful Heart Fabrics and realised that Connie Pomering was offering the class the next day and still had a space. That was in the days before I was teaching there and I had a wonderful day making blocks before I went home to put them together and complete the quilt.

Bridget has it displayed tucked into the doors of an armoire… upside down…

Here is a close up, right way up showing the beaded centres and free motion quilting on the flowers…

Across the bed in that room is a topper I made for Bridget’s London apartment that she brought back to Thornden. It has drunkards path blocks in lots of shades of purple with silver highlights…

Here is a close up to show those silver lame squares and the combination of machine quilted feathers and big stitch hand work. I seem to remember this was another quilt that just grew from an initial idea until I finally decided it was finished. I did most of the piecing at a Riverwalk Quilters Guild retreat in Oakbrook which kept me focused and on task better than being at home…

Bridget seemed pleased to have found a use for this M’Liss Rae Hawley designed quilt from her book Everyday Embellishments on the floor in her closet. Enough said. Better than it being in the rubbish bin I guess.

So, now I am home. My dad wants a new wall hanging for Christmas. I have some ideas which I’m letting sit for a while. I’m trying to get back to the gym. I did get to yoga on Tuesday and I’m planning on going again today. I made some samples for PHF and took pictures I will post in the next few days.  I’ve also finished a couple of African Folklore pieces which are waiting to be assembled into something, or mounted in a suitable fashion.

Always an adventure… sometime difficult but always interesting…

(NB english spellings used today in honour of my heritage… american next to honor my future)

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