Out of Whole Cloth
March 18, 2009
Please indulge me in a little glory-basking. I finished the Nani Iro Peonies quilt I started back in October.
It started as a simple whole cloth quilt. I had fallen in love with a piece of screenprinted linen, and I wanted to keep it in view all the time. What better way than to make a little wall quilt out of a yard of it?
I wanted to embellish it a little; almost, I suppose, so that I could say I had done something. I started by putting a little embroidered love onto Naomi Ito’s peony motifs. (Valdani perle cotton floss.)
(Oh look! There are remnants of the basting stitches still there. [Runs off to snip basting threads out.])
Embroidery, it turns out, is fun. Don’t know why I avoid it so assiduously.
This bit was particularly fun. I had the feeling that I was chatting with Naomi Ito. We were talking about how scribbles could suggest peonies. (“Right on!” said Naomi.)
From embroidery, it was not a big jump to applique.
All this handwork does take time. While I was stitching away, I was thinking about peonies. Before long, I had incorporated a couple of Personal Peony Memories.
Taking coffee cans of peonies to the cemetery with my great aunts Elsie and Carrie…
…in their mint green Corvair. (Never mind that I didn’t have mint green embroidery thread; that’s a mint-green Corvair.)
A murky photo circa 1915, inkjet-spritzed onto fabric, depicting my grandpa, Carrie, Elsie and baby Alice on my great-grandfather’s or great-great-uncle Frank’s lap, their mother standing there with her eyes shut, like all mothers in snapshots. Applique being slow also, I had time to think how Joseph has the same blurry intensity when he is playing cards with his sister. (Sisters must be defeated; that hasn’t changed in a hundred years, or a thousand.) I had time to marvel that I knew all four of these children well, fifty-some years later. And what a funny stove they had. And wonder who took the picture.
At this point, or probably before this point, I start to worry that I am wrecking Naomi Ito’s beautiful fabric. I also start to not care.
Much hand quilting ensued, followed by the usual euphoric rush of attaching the binding and sewing it down, by hand, in one sitting, last night. Tha-rill!
Too embarrassed to lay it down on the John Lennon memorial mosaic in Central Park– where I first saw rose petals on asphalt and thought, “Quilt!“–I did hang it in public, on a nearby pergola, tourists be damned. I live here, people! I need a place to photograph my FOs!
Because I know some quilters will be curious, here are full views of the front and back. I got the fabric at Modern Craft.
I’m very pleased with myself. I guess I’m a reluctant memory quilter.