Monday, January 7, 2013

A Flower Garden for Cold Nights

Grandmother's Flower Garden

I wanted to share a glimpse at one of the many WIP's I have going, this one something I have been picking up during quiet nights at home around the holidays lately. Sometimes I get so ashamed of the vast number of planned projects I have going, but I am learning to cherish the joy I get out of pondering over each one and the satisfaction of crossing each one off my list at its own appropriate time, rather than worrying about what others will think.

Alas, I was an over achiever with plans and dreams that went beyond the scope of my own hands and time, even in grade school. My granny was the person who taught me to sew then when I went to stay with them for a couple weeks each summer as a kid. After lots of crooked hand stitches on fabric scraps, she and I poured over all her quilting books and she let me pick out a block to work on. The one that had caught my eye was Grandmother's Flower Garden, which seemed appropriate besides being intricate and lovely. A story + detail + aethetically pleasing = right up my alley! This was in third or fourth grade I think and I remember her gently trying to tell me that it wasn't exactly a beginner's block, but being the good and encouraging sport she is, she showed me how to use a template to cut out lots of little hexagons and I got through a nice little stack of them by the end of that visit, lopsided as many of them turned out to be. We've laughed at them since but at the time, I remember her telling me they were beautiful no matter how long they took me or how uneven my stitches were.

Grandmother's Flower Garden
Fabric from the dress my Granny made my first china doll,
fabric from my Grandpa's and husband's old shirts,
fabric from my 5th grade halloween costume (a "Laura Ingalls Wilder" dress) made my my mom,
fabric from my favorite pajama pants in college

Granny is a firm believer in the value of a quilt sewn by hand, nevermind the fact that you could make several by machine in a fraction of the time. She has made such quilts on the machine, and so have I, but when it comes to REAL QUILTING, only hand stitches will do. I never cease to be grateful for being taught that from the start. While I love working with my machine for so many projects and appreciate what modern quilters do (myself falling into that  category I suppose), I sometimes get a little sad reading blogs where people churn out a bajillion different quilts a year by machine alone. At a certain point of saturation, do they mean the same thing? Personally, I think there is a difference. One is no less valuable, but there is a difference in that value and that difference is why I'm ok with admitting that I'm working on blocks by hand for a quilt I started in grade school. It's not in fashion, and I think I love it all the more for that.

I really started adding to this pile back in 2008 when I took up sewing again after college and every year since, I add a few to the pile. Once I have enough for a queen size quilt, will put them altogether, perhaps with sashing, I'm not sure yet. Sometimes I pack them into the car on visits home to show her and we lay them all out and marvel at the stories each little scrap holds or my own stories of when and how I worked on each one. Each block combines some of her material that she gave me back in grade school, and some of my own that I have stashed away. I've finished 7 for 2013 so far and will pack it back away again in my sewing room soon as I need to get back to orders and school, machine. Until next year!

1 comment:

Meeling said...

Gorgeous Kat!! I love all the colors and how they stand out against one another yet match at the same time.