Friday, October 21, 2011

Grandma's Blues, Part III: My Turn


There seems to be a good deal of groaning out there in blogland about UFOs (unfinished objects) accompanied by strategies of how to conquer this problem. The number of unfinished quilt tops and quilt blocks found in antique shops, on ebay, or at craft fairs attests to the fact that UFOs have always been around. Could it be that we are fighting a losing battle ? Are UFOs a part of life, and maybe, a good part at that ? I have UFOs from my mother and my quilting grandmother, and although I may have no idea what I’m going to do with them, I love possessing them and imagining the possibilities.
An example would be the sixteen blocks my mom made with 5" squares--with an extra one hundred red squares cut out and ready to go.
Oh, Mom! That's pretty flamboyant! A tough call. I’m still waiting for inspiration. Maybe something could be done with the red squares...?
And look at this! My mom cut hundreds of 4 1/2" squares and arranged them by color groups, apparently to take care of leftover fabric in her closet. I can imagine my mom standing over the fabric with smokin' scissors!
As noted before, she was not really a quilter, but she took tailoring classes and sewed a lot of our clothes, consequently resulting in an accumulation of fabric. Once she cut it up, she could condense the mass down. She probably had a plan in mind, but just never got to it—it was an ambitious project. I remember some of the clothes made from these fabrics that date back to the 1970s, including some polyesters. I'm glad polyester went out of style.
A surprise: twelve different blocks with traced cute-sy animals--my mom was not the cute-sy type (me neither). Go figure...Ok, I'll leave these to my grandchildren.
       My grandmother’s blocks and fabrics interest me more. They tickle my imagination and everytime I see someone’s work with vintage blocks on the internet, I pay attention. The fabrics must date from the 1930s to 1950s.
There are two sets of blocks intended for quilts and then there are a few orphan blocks, all hand pieced. I feel somewhat obligated to make two traditional quilts for my two grandchildren, as these would be from their great-great grandmother. On the other hand, the orphan blocks are fair game for experimenting. I'm still ruminating about it.
        I also possessed some fabric and one hand-sewn block with which my grandmother intended to make a quilt. I decided to finish her quilt, which now bears the name “Grandma’s Blues” ( 54"x 72 1/2", 1m36cm x 1m84cm).
The blue centers and the blue background for the wreath were her fabric. The lower left hand block is her hand pieced block. 
In addition, I used fabrics from a dress and a skirt that my mom had made for me. 
My grandmother would've hand quilted this, however, I made the decision to machine quilt after having hand quilted several projects. You have to choose your battles--I wanted more time for hand appliqué.
        The year was 1987 and I was on the threshold of my adventures into art quilting. My grandmother didn’t actually teach me to quilt, however, because of her quilts and her unfinished blocks, she inspired me to quilt. She gave me permission.
       And then, other interesting items await me peacefully on my stash shelves or stowed away in drawers. There are gloves, table linens, and doilies.
I finally found the courage to use some of the most stained doilies in an art piece.
This is a work in progress that has a good deal of hand stitching. A leaf pattern has taken over.
Unfinished projects are a bit like throwing a bottle with a message into the ocean. I think I’ll make some interesting blocks just to leave to my grandchildren. Who knows, maybe they’ll find the message…or maybe someone else will. 
_______________________________________________________________


NEWS FLASH: The last two Gadaffi-controlled Libyan cities have been liberated and Libya's dictator, the atrocious Muammar Gadaffi has been killed. We are thankful.
      It would seem that Tunisia's former dictator, that vacuous thug, Ben Ali, is the most intelligent of the dictators. He managed to sneak off and hide in Saudi Arabia with all his stolen money. Egypt's Mubarak is in prison, and now Gadaffi is dead. Yemen's Salah is begging to get out, but he hasn't figured out how to do that and keep all his stolen money and his life. Syria's Assad must be sweating. Things look grim for dictators these days. Not that things are much better in the liberated countries: It's extremely difficult to change a whole system and the persistent economic problems contribute to disorder. 
      Tunisia is in the spotlight again because it will be the first liberated country to have elections for a constitutional congress (a body in charge of creating a new constitution and government) on Sunday, October 23rd. Over 100 parties have sprung up making it difficult to choose when voting. We pray that all goes well.
      And, on a lighter note, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the readers who visit this blog, who leave comments, and/or become "followers". I so appreciate your visits, your thoughts, and the dialogue. This blog is my window on the world and I thank you for stopping by. 

33 comments:

Connie Rose said...

WOW, Gadaffi's dead, this is the first I've heard (I don't "do" news in any way). That's fantastic news for the world and the region!

I love what you've done with Grandma's Blues and the doily quilt, just wonderful!

Have a great weekend, Nadia. xo

Debbie said...

A wonderful job you did in creating Grandma's blues. A very special one. All the old linens and gloves....love what you did with some of them. I began as a crazy quilter in the 80's and did various wall hangings with family vintage lnens and a set of gloves. I still have a drawer full that never got used.
Stay safe...the political situation worldwide is so on edge.

Judy Alexander said...

You are so lucky to have so many treasures from your mom and grandmom. Love what you have done with them.

bj said...

And thank you for blogging so that we can peek into your creative world :o)

MosaicMagpie said...

I always enjoy your informative posts. The blues turned out great. Those gloves and doilies will be perfect for a project one day. You will see something that will inspire you to dig them out. The stained doilies are great with the coffee cups and all the leaves!
Deb

American Homestead said...

Love looking at your "pieces" of family history.
And all the best for Tunisia...
Ellen from American Homestead

Ms. ∆×∆p×≥h/4π said...

My dear-You may be the ninth wonder of our world! Your quilt works are wonderful wonderful--Grandma's blues--yum--and the art piece with it's doilies and teacups--AND shadows too--perfect.

Thank you for the update on current events--Let us hope it is true that dictators are out of fashion, or on the way out. But it is wise to remember always--grain of salt for the next wave of government. I am happy you are safe, and grateful for your blog.

Peace and pleasure to you.

Nifty Quilts said...

Oh! So many treasures. I love what you've done with the blue quilt and the tea cups--brilliant! I like your idea about leaving some blocks for your grandchildren.

It's also very interesting to hear about the news there from your point of view. Best wishes on election day.

Teodo said...

For Gheddafi all the world is thankful.

You have a great treasure. Your mom is very good, I love all-
Peter Pan book is fantastic.
ciao ciao Linda

Anonymous said...

Love your blog!

Check your Facebook messages.......!

norma said...

I love that teacup quilt! At fist glance I thought you had photographed teacups and a pot sitting on your quilt and then I realized it was masterful patchwork with wonderful shading and shadows.
There's always so much to read in your posts. Keep up the good work.

Els said...

Wow Nadia, you did a wonderful job on "Grandma's Blues"! It's beautiful (though I'm not really a traditional kind of person) Yours tea set is going to be great, love it !
Have good stitching days ;-)

Anneliese said...

How love your doily quilt!!!!
It looks great with the teapot and cups.

aracne said...

It hasn't been long since I visit your blog, but I haven't lost one single post. Your creativity has multiple facets, I am inspired and I admire your work.

Yvonne said...

Your tea/doilies quilt is gorgeous and I love how you've put together Grandma's Blues. So many treasures you have!

Alicia said...

very interesting. Glad I found your blog!

Linda Teddlie Minton said...

Nadia, I love what you have done with your Grandmother's Blues, and the doilies! You are so creative. Thanks for stopping by my blog, I will be watching yours too. Fascinating!

Tonya Ricucci said...

I love all those orphan bits. I WISH polyester had gone completely out of style. I'm horrified how many of the shirts for sale are made out of it. so wonderful to see the dictators falling - I just hope no more people die and the transitions can be made peacefully.

susan christensen said...

Hi, Nadia - 'Granma's Blues' finished up beautifully! I love the work in progress with the old linens, too. AND thanks for sharing news from your part of the world. I love your blog, sus

Karen said...

Grandma's Blues is beautiful and I think UFO's are just as special as finished quilts.

Judys Fiber Art said...

Thank you for leaving a comment on my blog. Although I am not a quilter, I have a great appreciation for all of my grandmother's quilts and hand made items. I have many of them and have used them in small collage works. Enjoyed reading your comments about world affairs. These are challenging times we live in.

KhadijaTeri said...

Thanks for finding me! I've added you to my link list on my sidebar.

Oh... how nice to read your blog. I've been thinking about writing a quilt story. Before the war there was a group of ex-pat women quilters who got together a few times a week to work on their projects. They did some amazing things! Unfortunately they had to leave everything behind when they left as they were only allowed to take a carry on bag. All of their lovely quilts have been lost forever.

Your quilts and other works are beautiful. I packed a handmade quilt that my grandmother made for me in my bags when I moved here. It's a treasure!

anne said...

please, how do you use the gloves? I have used some in an old family dressfor memory. And I have a questions to ask for you (a quilt's photo to submit on your email; I don't know how to mount the blocks. Thanks. I love your blog!

Barb said...

Just love the quilts from the past and that blue one you finished is just amazing....and your art piece..wow!!

Anonymous said...

Mom mom mom, I absolutely LOVE love love your latest chef d'oeuvre with the teacups and the writing! OMG! I'm totally going gaga goo goo over it. Do you realize how much you have changed colors? I'm almost worried your wild crazy days are over!

Kit Lang said...

Love the cups/doilies piece! Looking forward to see what develops. :)

Sandy said...

How wonderful to have things from your mother and grandmother. I like how you are using them.
The world is an unstable place no matter where you are although it's better here. All we can do is hang on!--and get lost in our art. Thanks for commenting on my blog.

Jacky said...

A wonderful quilt you have made using the old doilies etc. I love the tea cups and teapots...you are so clever. Did you colour/design the fabric you used yourself?

You are very lucky to have the handwork of your grandmothers. Such treasures.

Jacky xox

Ati. said...

The rests and pieces you have from your mother and special those from your grandmother are great! The blue quilt looks só nice. I hope to see the other pieces in a quilt too, one day.
I do LOVE the art quilt you are making ! The old doilies couldn't get a better place!

Vivien Zepf said...

I'm absolutely in awe of what you've done with your vintage linens and lace. Your quilt tease is spectacular and I'm anxiously awaiting a peek at the whole quilt.

Myra said...

Oh what wonderful UFO, goodies and treasures you've got there from your Mom and Grandmother!! So far you've created well with some of them! Good for you! 8-)
Thanks for visiting my blog...

Manda said...

Wow you have some beautiful old pieces there. It must be lovely to have things from your grandmother and mother and know that you have shared a love of fabric & creating with them! And I love the teacup quilt!

Colours and Textures said...

I love the teapot quilt.