Friday, 17 May 2013

May Update (And Some Sewing Too)

I haven't been posting as often as I'd like. But I've been doing a lot of traveling... Sadly, my father is not well, and lives in the UK, and, well... I don't. So I've been getting to know the ins and outs of international travel, and more importantly have been spending some quality time with my parents.

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:

Close Up

Whole Piece
My parents asked what I was going to do with it. I admitted I didn't know - a wallhanging, perhaps? A pillow cover? My mother said, It should be the centre of a quilt. I think she wants one of her own :) since I just made one for Daddy who won't let it off his lap long enough to be washed! I enjoy the hand-stitching very, very much, and see this as the beginning of a long, treasured, slow-stitched process.

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.


Marla said...

I like the geese around the tree. I imagine them as extended family and friends. That dotty fabric on the pouch is super.

Design Originals by KC said...

You should get your blog out there in blog hops or linky partys... your stuff rocks and you are like a hidden gem... and I found your blog! Yay for me! Love the family tree quilt... love that you know how to put such a professional looking zipper on that lined case and love that you took time to blog about it! New subscriber :) Kathi

audrey said...

How sweet that you shared your enthusiasm with stitching with (young) fellow travelers! They will never forget their flight I'm sure.:) Love your tree quilt and the story behind it and the new stitching.

Susan Owenby said...

Fantastic! I love both the quilt and the embroidery project. I'm sorry to hear about your dad, I hope he does as well as possible.

Live a Colorful Life said...

What a precious quilt you made. How special to pass along the hand stitching lesson.

Mama Pea said...

I'm very sorry to hear about your dad's illness, but I enjoyed your story of the quilt and practice piece very much. I also loved your story about the kids on the plane. How cool. Had my daughter been sitting by you, she would have asked to try as well. She always does that to me when I'm working on something. How lovely that you took the time and energy to do that. I hope your father is well soon. I know you'll come up with something really neat with that piece you're working on now....and your mother will love it.

claudia said...

Those kids will remember their flight with you forever! That is a special gift you gave to them.
Love your family tree. It is wonderful! The new beginnings of a quilt is great. Your Mom will cherish that as your Dad cherishes his quilt.

Dee said...

What a fun post to read this morning! Thank you for sharing it with us! I love the Family Tree idea and quilt and the handprints of your parents. So precious! I helped teach inner city boys how to crochet while waiting for games at a basketball tournament...they concentrated so hard on learning, they were sweating! Thanks for the prayers for my mom! I love it!

Kathleen OGrady said...

I just found your blog through Quilt Story Fabric Tuesday link-up. Your Family Tree quilt is exquisite! You did an amazing job on it. everything about it, the little flowers, the hands the tree truck. The story behind the quilt, just love it. Very impressive! Your little zip pouch is very sweet also, nice colors. Sometimes those little projects are more work that the big ones....but still fun.

Ali said...

I love the tree quilt, so personal. Really nice that your mum & dad's hands interlinked too. Sorry no suggestions though as to what to make.