Tuesday, December 01, 2009

I mentioned my Grey Havens quilt, and then realised that I had never posted a picture of it. It's a quilt I made after my Mum died in 2006; I just began making the blocks, and realised afterwards that it was my 'mourning' quilt, lots of blacks and greys. It's a block that is sometimes called Lost Ships, and that reminded me of the Elves in Lord Of The Rings, taking their ships to the Grey Havens, which is how they depart Middle Earth. So I called my quilt Grey Havens.

Once I knew it was a mourning quilt, I wanted to make it even more significant, so I used fabrics that had a lot of meaning and memories invested in them. (More of that here.) And I even extended that to the backing. Here is the pieced backing, of 10"squares. There is a cross of light fabric on the left, with a darker square in the middle. Those two fabrics are pieces of a dress of Mum's, and a pyjama set of Dad's.The dress was a purchased cotton sundress that I remember Mum wearing when we were very small. I recall watching her iron it, in the days when laundry had to be sprinkled with water from a sprinkler bottle, which was a plastic bottle that had a wide perforated top. All the ironing was damped down, rolled up tight and stacked in the laundry basket, covered with a towel. Then Mum worked her way through it all, piece by piece, and the iron made a satisfying sizzle as it hit the damp cloth. No steam irons in those days.

Around about 1965 Mum made Dad a set of pyjamas and a shave coat from this fabric, cut out on the kitchen table while we watched, fascinated; then sewn together on the machine I still use for a lot of my piecing. The actual pyjamas were worn and discarded. I thought the material we had were the scraps from that, but when I cut this square out I realised that the pieces were a set of pyjamas for my elder brother that had never been made up. One of Mum's UFOs. Life got terribly busy for her once our Dad died, and many items of clothing that had been cut out had to be abandoned as she went out to work. And we grew too much to make finishing them worthwhile, so there they sat, and still sit, in some cases. When I saw the pieces for those little pajamas it made me remember when my brother was that small, and how much Mum loved to sew, and how much she loved to provide for us.

I guess some of my UFOs will be around for my children and grandchildren to find, and I'm OK with that. I hope they'll remember me and my quilts for a long time.

9 comments:

*karendianne. 5:01 AM  

Lovely post. Beautiful "Mourning" quilt and the backing is honor filled as well. It's touching to read about the fabrics and the memories. I do believe your children and grandchildren will be as blessed to have similar memories. I think you can trust in that! Gosh, really lovely post!! *karendianne. www.leehaven.com

Karen 5:54 AM  

Such a beautiful quilt...and the meaning and love shows through. Thank you for sharing
Karen

SueR 5:59 AM  

That was such a heartwarming story. Reminds one of one's own childhood and family. Thank you for sharing your memories.

Debra 7:10 AM  

amazing and lovely. I'll bet it gives you much comfort.

pdudgeon 7:10 AM  

that's a beautiful quilt, and a timely post for me. thanks so much for posting.

Kathi 8:13 AM  

Such a touching story. I love those 'historical' family connections. To have a quilt that evokes so many memories is a blessing! Thanks for sharing it with us.

Brenda 1:25 PM  

A lovely post and a lovely quilt. The memories within will make it all the more special

Shasta 5:51 PM  

Another beautiful quilt. and a lot of great memories to go with it.

Meggie 12:44 AM  

Having read of the Grey Havens Mourning quilt, I find the story fascinating. I turned to plants when my mother died & wanted to grow living things. I longed for another grandchild & there was one, but it was not to be born. The grief seemed doubled, somehow.
Sadly, all the plants but two, I grew so successfully, are gone. I love the two that survived.

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