Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Quilts on Tuesday-By Another Hand

So far, all but one quilt I've shared has been one my mother has made. This week I'll show you quilts from other people. As most of you know I have a special love for tie dye. Batik is another of my favorite ways for fabric to be designed. When I lived in Trinidad I was able to buy some really beautiful and good quality batiks for far less than the cost in the US. I took advantage of that. I have a batik dress I made from fabric purchased in Trinidad that is still a favorite. One day I wore it to church. When a quilting friend there saw my dress she immediately started salivating and asked where I got the dress. When I told her she begged me for scraps. In fact, she went so far as to check my hem and ask me to shorten the dress so she could have more. If you know anything about fabric prices in the US you know buying enough batik to make a below the knee length dress ain't cheap.

I handed over some of my scraps and then my friend asked when I might next be traveling back to the island. When I told her I planned to go that summer she very sweetly implored me to take money from her and bring back batiks from Trinidad...pretty please? I thought she'd weep when I told her I'd be perfectly happy to do so and countered with my own request for some small thing made from a few of the scraps of whatever I brought back. A deal was struck.

When I went into the shop I knew had the largest selection, hauled about 10 bolts of batik cloth to the cutting table, and asked for only half a yard of each the clerk was perplexed and had to ask what on earth I planned to do with such pieces since they were far too small to make garments. I told her the story and because she was so "flattered" that Americans would make a special effort to come shop for batiks at her store for the deals, variety, and quality she excused herself for a moment before returning with an armload of "special" batiks from the back room. Yes, she smelled a sale. Yes, she made the sale...when she offered me a "special" price that stayed within my friend's budget. My friend was ecstatic with the selection I provided her.

Flash forward to Christmas. At my church we have a secret pal group. At the beginning of the year you pick a name out of a hat and for the year you send anonymous notes of encouragement to the woman whose name you choose. At Christmas we all reveal ourselves with a small gift exchange. Imagine my surprise when the gift I received was from the woman I had done the batik shopping for.

Isn't it beautiful? We shared quite a giggle over me having carried back the materials for my own secret pal gift. I treasure it though. Sadly, she is no longer with us but my little wall hanging is a lovely reminder of her sweetness and her skill.



Next is a quilt that was cross stitched by my paternal grandparents. In their later years when their physical health did not allow for much activity they'd spend many hours doing embroidery. Yes, my grandfather did too. After his mother died when he was a child he lived with his grandmother for a time. She taught him how to cook and sew and do needlework. He produced work as fine as any woman...better than many, in fact. He could fix a diesel engine, plumb or wire a house, coax crops from the earth, and sew or embroider with skill...but I digress.


When I graduated high school my grandparents filled my cedar chest with hand embroidered tablecloths, kitchen towels, and pillow cases among other things. They both died before Diana was a year old. A few "works in progress" were found among their things. Unbeknownst to me, my stepmother salvaged one before my father went through the house indiscriminately throwing things away. She paid a quilting group at her church to bind and quilt the top my grandparents had embroidered and it was my Christmas gift the year after their deaths.
Here you can see a close up of both the hand quilting and the embroidery. It's one more treasure that holds special memories of loved ones.


Finally, among the "works in progress" my stepmother also found some long ago completed works. She and my mother looked through what had been saved from my father's fit of declaring things garbage and were able to identify the source of most of the quilts. This one remains a mystery. It shares some of the fabrics my mother used in her first full sized quilt but it is not one she made. Mom's best guess is that my grandfather may have decided to attempt making a quilt around the time she did but it's really only a guess...although it's based on knowing he enjoyed sewing and my grandmother did not. It's just a little too small to properly cover a twin sized bed so we use it to curl up with on the couch.

A quilt is a hug from someone who loves you.

17 comments:

G-Man said...

Who knew that quilts provided a plethora of posts?
:-)

Cocotte said...

I love the gift from your secret pal. And what a great idea about the year of encouragement.

barman said...

Wow those are all beautiful and such memories attached to them. Doesn't it make them so special? The secret pal thing is such a clever idea.

Queenie said...

Lime what wonderful tales each of gifts,guilts tell, I'm totally fascinated with them. You have some fantastic treasures (just like your granddad), its good to know you appreciate them...

Suldog said...

Lovely, and obviously full of love. And the last line is true and heartwarming.

furiousBall said...

that black one is awesome!

S said...

Loving that batik quilt!

Casdok said...

A lovely story of your friend.
And am very impressed with your grandfathers skills!

Ella said...

these posts are driving me mad to make my own quilt!!

Balou said...

What a great collection you have. I love that they each have their own story.

Cooper said...

So where's the dress????

Beach Bum said...

Nothing beats the feel or warmth of a hand made quilt. My sister somehow ended up with the quilts that got handed down from our grandmother to our mom after our mom passed away. Sort of wanted one but the passing down amongst the ladies of the family fits so left it alone.

citizen of the world said...

Both beautiful. I love it that your grandparents embroidered together. And you can't go wrong with batiks - that is a fantastic quilt.

Breazy said...

I love them all. I have one like the last one pictured. I love anything passed down through families whether it is my family or not. I love to hear the stories behind the item. Thanks for sharing!

Mona said...

That is so beautiful , specially the one with grandad's embroidery!

You have quite a collection there!

jillie said...

Those quilts are BEAUTIFUL! I use to have a quilted throw that would go over the back of the couch that was my grandmothers years ago. I use to play with it in the play room in the garage. Needless to say, I ruined it. But what did I know at 10/11 years of age??? I could kick myself for all of the things that I've damage as a kid.

Hope all is well Lime

;o)

KFarmer said...

You have many wondeful treasures :)