During my most recent visit, I carried with me a small sandwich of natural muslin and batting, and a bag of embroidery threads, just in case I had some moments of peaceful sitting, when I could work on a quiet project.
It came to me, one morning, what my project would be.
See, I made this quilt a few years ago, to celebrate my parents' 40th anniversary. At the root of the trunk are my parents' names embroidered in gold thread; each branch has the names of a sister and her husband; each hand-leaf is the actual outline of a grandchild's hand, embroidered with their name, and sewn on the "correct" branch! It was an epic project, took me 5 years from idea to completion (in my defense: I did give birth several times during those 5 years...)
This quilt hangs in my parents home, so I saw it daily during my visit, and one morning, sitting in the sunlight by my father's bed, I realised that we don't have my father's hand-print on it. I quickly traced around each of my parents' hands, and cut out their handprints to use as a pattern. I traced around the paper patterns using a regular pencil onto my muslin and got stitching.
Here's what I've got so far:
True story: on my flight back home, I sat next to 2 little kids who were pretty adorable (not mine :) and when I whipped out my hand-stitching, they demanded to be taught how I was doing it. On the scrappy edges of my sandwich, I taught a 10 year old girl and a 9 year old boy how to back-stitch. I explained how I traced hands onto muslin, and they are so excited to go home and make their own! Yay, passing sewing on to the next generation!
And, a finish! This will be a birthday gift for a colleague (shhh, don't tell).
The floral is from a piece of fabric I bought in Liberty's about, errm... 25 years ago! (Oh lordy! I ain't getting any younger!) I didn't photograph all the ways in which I messed this one up, but let's just say that I unstitched as much as I stitched... But she's finished now, and quite lovely.