Another quilter is missing from my life…..

On Friday, April 14th, while I was driving to deliver my last tax return of the season, I decided to pick up the phone and call my Mom.  She had been going downhill for the last few months and had pretty much quit answering her phone but I was hopeful that she would pick up this time.  Unfortunately she didn’t answer, but the head of the facility that she lived in did answer.  He told me that they had just found her in her room and that she had passed away.  Apparently she had ordered her lunch and was sitting at her table waiting for it to be delivered.  She passed peacefully as she waited.

Now, like many Mothers and Daughters,  my Mom and I had a bumpy relationship.  She grew up during the Great Depression and vowed to have nice things in her life.  The problem arose in that her “nice things” took the form of Victorian figurines and other frilly things.  I, on the other hand, enjoyed more organic and natural forms of art.  However, one thing that we both agreed on was the art of quilting.

Mom made her first quilt when she was 11 years old…..

   It was a HEAVY 9 patch quilt made with every fabric imaginable.  I am fortunate to own it now.

When times were tough, Mom quilted for the public to help make money for she and my Dad.   There were several other quilts that she made early in her quilting journey, including this “Friendship quilt” that graced her bed…..

As a kid, I used to love to look at the signatures and ask Mom who the people were.

However, once she and Dad left the farm and moved to “the big city” (Abilene, Texas), she started working in offices and her quilting was pushed to one side.

Then, in the 1970’s there was a resurgence in quilting associated with the Bicentennial Celebration, and Mom jumped in with both feet.  Her first decision was that I needed SIX quilts for my “Hope Chest”.  She started with a Balloon Girl that utilized fabrics from my dresses…..

She quilted her way thru a Double Wedding ring…..

……a Grandmother’s Flower Garden……

….she quilted a Bear’s Paw that her mother (my Granny) had pieced……

Next was a Broken Star quilt that she had started just after she had married but had never finished.   The white fabrics had yellowed with the years and she un-pieced it and put in new white fabrics…..

Her final offering for my Hope Chest was a gorgeous “Boston Commons”…..
All of her quilts were meticulously hand pieced and hand quilted and each took a year or so to make.  Because of the length of time it took to make a quilt, I never had any interest in making one!!!  However, Mom did teach me the joy of being busy with my hands and of being creative, so my creativity came in the form of Crewel Embroidery, Needlepoint and Counted Cross Stitch.  
When I did start quilting, Mom was so excited and she and I spent many happy hours looking thru books together and talking about the quilts that we would one day make.  These times are some of my fondest memories.
In the last 10 years, we made several quilts together, starting with “Mother-Daugher Flower Garden”…..
 
….and continuing on with “Flower Pots”…..

With each of these quilts, Mom did the applique and I did the setting and quilting.  It was a fun process to work thru them together.  Back in 2014, she was wanting something new to work on so I sent these blocks to her. 

She immediately did the applique and returned them to me and there they have sat.  It will be a fun challenge to work on this quilt “with her” again sometime soon.

So, I have said my Goodbyes to her body and her mind but my good memories of her are brought to my mind EVERY TIME I look at a quilt….what a wonderful legacy!!

Rest In Peace Mom……

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Quilter’s missing from my life…..

 

In the last few weeks, I have lost two sweet friends….both quilters and both from lung cancer.

The first was a woman who I have never met in person, however she encouraged me from afar by reading and commenting on my blog posts.  Her name was Maggi  Birchenough, she lived in the UK and I was looking forward to meeting her sometime.   I will miss her!!!

The second was a woman named Cathy Rowan.  Cathy and I met many years ago when she joined our quilting guild.  She was active in the guild and in quilting for a long time but had moved on to other things in later years.  She was an avid photographer and always took photos of our quilt shows.’’

Professionally, she was a Child Advocate in the Court system and many kids in our area owe their existence to her.

When we first heard that she was sick I asked guild members to provide patches to make a quilt for Cathy, but unfotunately we heard that her condition had worsened and that we didn’t have a lot of time.  So, instead, I put together a small lap quilt for her…..

Cathy's Quilt - final

When I took the quilt to her, she was so excited to get it and kept saying that she couldn’t believe the guild still remembered her….how could we forget her!!!

We talked aboult quilting and she told me about the favorite quilts that she had made, including a beautiful White-on-White hand quilted one.  She also remembered with fondness the people who she made quilts for and I know that those lucky recipients remembered her just as fondly.

She passed away 2 days later and I am happy that the quilt brought a bit of brightness into her life.   She was a woman who spent her life helping and she will be greatly missed!!

Goodbye to a special friend…..

Today I attended the funeral for a wonderful quilting friend, Nancy Bruce.  

I don’t remember exactly when I met her, but I got to know her best during our time together working with the Charity Bee of our local guild.   This group makes quilts that are given to organizations for either their use or for fundraising efforts.

Nancy was a key member of this group, always coming up with ideas for new projects or heading up special quilts that were being made.  One of the last times that I saw her, she was picking up the guild Raffle quilt to sew down the binding…..a job that SO many of us hate to do but one that she was willing to do, even in her cancer weakened state.

She LOVED to paper piece and often laughed at my dislike of the technique and inability to do it efficiently. 

She has a quilt entered in our upcoming show and, fittingly, it is a paper pieced neighborhood of houses…..

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To give you some perspective, the ENTIRE piece is only 12 inches!!!   Those trees in the corners are TINY!!

 

She was always making quilts for other people and I loved this jungle quilt, and yes, that is Nancy happily telling about the quilt and about the person it was made for…..

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And here is another photo of her happily showing a quilt made from a new technique that she had just learned……DSC01326

She loved giving gifts to her friends, especially to celebrate Christmas and I will always cherish my favorite pin cushion with it’s spunky button on top…..DSC04142

One year she gave us Angel ornaments but mine never made it to my Christmas tree.  Instead it was  hung on my design wall and became my quilting angel. 

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Well, it is still my quilting angel, but now it has a name…..Nancy.

I will miss you!!

Quilt From a Friend….

 

Two years ago my friend, Pat Kools, passed away.  Since Pat was so active in the Charity work of our guild, her children decided to give us a bunch of her quilts that we could either use as charity quilts or sell and put the money towards the charity projects.

I was fortunate to purchase one at our last quilt show…..

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This simple little piece is hand appliqued and hand quilted,  but there is very little quilting on it.

My original thought was to add a lot of quilting in the background, but as I hung it up to photograph I realized that it hadn’t been basted well enough and that it would never hang flat.

SO….now I am thinking about taking out all of the quilting, re-baste it and start over with hand quilting and possibly add some beads as well.

We are spending 5 weeks in China later this year and I believe that it will be the piece that I take with me. 

I am looking forward to working on this piece and will enjoy fond memories of my friend!!!

Saying Goodbye


On Friday, I attended the funeral of a wonderful lady named Pat Kools. She had been a member of our quilt guild for a long time and I had really gotten to know her in the last 3 years as I attended the Charity Bee.

As I thought about her, the words that came to mind were quiet, kind, concerned, willing, and ready to do whatever came about. She was 70 years old, but I never heard her say “Oh, I could never do that”. Instead she would say, “Now how did you do that?…..I want to try it myself”.

She took my “Photos in Quilts” class back in the Fall and her next big project was making quilts for her two kids. She was kindly waiting until my tax season was over so that I could help her with the computer bits of the quilt. Unfortunately, she didn’t get to make those quilts, but our guild is hoping to make it for her.

In our Bee, she was the one who would volunteer for the ugly jobs and then stick with them until they were done, even while the rest of the group was moving on to the more “fun” activities.

At the funeral, the Priest compared Pat to a small flower in a garden….one that you dont really notice when it is there, but REALLY miss when it is gone.

Pat Kools, you were that beautiful flower and I will miss you!!!!!