One of the first quilts I made is a double bed quilt. I started it in 1998 when 1930s reproduction fabrics were all the rage. I chose a pattern called Nine Patch which was popular in the Thirties. I pieced the quilt top in California, quilted it in Scotland in about 2000 and finished it with a prairie point border in 2002 with more fabric I bought on a trip to North Carolina in that year.
A few months ago we noticed that the fabric at the top is beginning to fray and shred after 15 years of use.
I got my ‘precision’ hat on, measured up and made a cutting list.
It has been a very long time since I’ve done any quilting, like four or five years of a long time. I’ve really been enjoying myself! I’ve taken over the dining tables in our salon and have been ‘coming and going’ to the work over the past few weeks.
When I culled my stash a few years ago, I’d got rid of most of my print fabrics. D’oh! So I had to order a pack of 50 different 5″ squares from the States, which pretty much matched my original fabrics. I turned most of them from back to front, so they would tone in better with my gently faded quilt top.
When I made the quilt, I ‘stitched in the ditch’ around all of the seams, but didn’t quilt inside of the white squares and triangles. Now that my repairs are made, I’m thinking of quilting those.
My quilt is called ‘Nellie’s Nine Patch’ named for my mom Nell who was a girl in the 1930’s. On the back of the quilt is her school picture, probably from the 5th grade when she was about 10 years old. I printed the photo onto fabric back in the very early days of printing onto fabric. I used Bubble Jet Set to prepare the fabric, then ironed it onto freezer paper to stabilize it. In 2001, I didn’t have a computer at home, so I used the one at the little library in Haddington, Scotland and the nice ladies who worked there very kindly let me use their printer for this first experiment. You can see how much the photo has faded over the years.
Just below her photograph is a very faded poem that she and I found on a sundial in 1976, when we were on a trip Back East together just four years before she died from cancer.
Time flies, suns rise
Flowers bloom and die.
Let time go by and shadows fall
Love is forever, over all.
I’m planning to print her photo onto sheer fabric and stitch it over the faded one. I’ll also revive the poem.
There is something very poignant about the fading of the photograph and the words. It brings to my mind the fading of memories and that remembering keeps people, things, and places alive. One root of ‘memory’ is the Serbo-Croatian word mariti “to care for”. Perhaps to remember a person is to care for them.