Tuesday, May 11, 2010

ABC Wednesday: Q for quilt


We didn't live with my maternal Grandma, she came to visit frequently and to help Mum when she gave birth to my younger siblings. She came to cook for Mum's confinement month, that is the whole month after a woman had her baby.

Grandma made one patchwork quilt for each of her three daughters. As a kid, my immediate younger sister Margaret and I had fun looking for her Chinese stars. Her stars were very unusual. It has 21 pieces of tiny squares and triangles cleverly stitched together. She didn't make many stars as it was very difficult to make.

In 1975, my nephew Wayne was born. Grandma came to visit. Sister Elizabeth requested her to make a patchwork for her first great grand son. Grandma was hesitant. Her heart wanted to make it, but her head told her that she was in her 80s, it would be impossible to make one as she was just visiting Elizabeth.

I told her, "I will help you."

So we did, grandma and grand daughter pair. She did the cutting and supervision, and I went on my mum's old manual Singer machine.

"Not so fast, Not so fast," she kept telling me.

But I went went ziz, ziz, ziz, ziz as I pedaled along. She admonished my 'fast hand, fast leg'. I had commited myself to help her, I didn't have 6 months to help her. Times I made a mistake, she wanted me to unpick it.

I said," No way, it is only for a baby."

We finished the quilt in a matter of days. I blackmailed Wayne, because he is the only great grand child that Grandma made a quilt for.

Despite the hectic time, I learnt an invaluable skill. I could make a Chinese patchwork quilt. At that time, I vowed that I will never make another one, too old fashion. Now, I am glad, because I am probably the only grand daughter of hers who has inherited her skill.

Fast forward to 1990, I saw my good friend O's light blue quilt on her bed. It was so beautiful, I was reminded of my grandma's quilts. I came home, and made a quilt for D. I made nine Chinese stars, and the rest, I basically used squares. I made this queen size Chinese quilt in 3 days over the weekend. I didn't have much sleep. This time ziz, ziz, ziz, ziz on my electric Janome machine was reminscent of the time with grandma.

The water engineer was a gem, he babysat D 5, and G 2. He took the girls shopping at Farmers Trading Company for D to choose a backing for her quilt. She chose a lemon colour and I asked her why she didn't choose a pink.

The reason why I sewed frantically was I had to vacate my sewing room. Our friend J was coming to stay with us. He was our very good friend, and was an Engineering post graduate student with the water engineer at Auckland University.

D still has that quilt. I told her not to use it. It is unlikely that I will ever make another one. (Who knows, may be when I become a grandma, I may do it.) She wanted to frame it, I told her it was too big, not until she was successful in her career and has her own big house.

***This is the quilt I made for D, you have to look carefully for the stars. You will understand when my sister Margaret and I had fun looking for them.***


magiceye said...

wow that is beautiful!

Kate said...

Wonderful story, Ann! Quilting takes lots of patience and is a true labor of love, whether it's done quickly or painstakingly slow. You're lucky to have had your Grandma with you!

Ah Ngao said...

i have them too when i was very young - the longer you use,the nicer it smells

MadSnapper said...

thanks for stopping by my blog. I lost my mother when she was 63 so we share that. beautiful quilt and story

alicesg said...

Your story reminded me of my paternal grandmother. She hand sewn a quilt for me when I was very very young. And she only sewn for me cause I am her favourite. Quite sad mom did not keep the quilt and threw it away when it was old and torn. I was too young to think of keeping it.

rainfield61 said...

I think we have them during we were young. We belong to the same generation.

Tussy said...

Good teamwork, beeautiful one.

My Bangkok Through My Eyes
Thailand In Photo

Lois said...

I enjoyed the story! My grandmother made quilts for all of us too.

jabblog said...

I have a feeling that you will be making more quilts one day. Beautiful work!

Roger Owen Green said...

Indeed a lovely quilt and lovelier story.

On behalf of the ABC Wednesday team, thank you! - ROG

EG CameraGirl said...

What a fun post! Neat quilt! I have only made one quilt. I do NOT have the patience to make another. ;)

Jama said...

It's a lovely quilt! I simply do not have the patience to do sewing, crochet I don't mind sitting for hours just not sewing.

Quilling are never popular here, the only place I see selling the strip of papers is at Spotlight in Plaza Singapura. I had a hard time looking for the right thickness .

Jay said...

American quilts are so beautiful!

I love the story of you going 'ziz, ziz, ziz' on the sewing machine! We always want to run before we can walk, don't we? LOL!

Ruth said...

Lovely! Quilts are a work of art. Our local art gallery has a quilt display each year and they are amazing. I could never imagine having the patience to make one.