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Blogger’s Quilt Festival Hurray!!

May 18, 2011

Welcome welcome! *huge grin*

Phew, I’m just sneaking in there by the skin of my teeth, so I’m really happy you’ve popped by!

My quilt is actually a special placemat I made for my dear great Aunt, on her 85th birthday last year.

A few years ago my Great Auntie Gisa handed me a beautiful, very old tea towel from her mother. It was hand woven in my great aunt’s great grandfather’s textile mill in Germany, and bears the hand embroidered initials of her mother – E.P. She requested a hat, so that her mom could always be close to her. I made the hat which she happily wore until it literally fell apart. I remember that I just couldn’t bear to cut into the beautiful edging with the initials.

I thought about making a special placemat for my Great Aunt, and decided to feature her mother’s initials so she could dine with her mom every evening. *tears*

As usual, in the waning hours of the evening before before her brithday party,  I hopelessly dug and scrounged through my ridiculously unorganized stash, and by the grace of all that is holy I FOUND THE TEA TOWEL! *choir of angels*

It needed a nice, gently textured fabric to frame and contrast. Something simple yet beautiful to highlight the quilting. I pulled a gorgeous, light mushroom linen and a small bit of ivory lace. My aunt loves lace.

Now this tea towel must be well over a hundred and fifty years old, and is incredibly soft and supple. Not an ounce of stiffness anywhere. There was some yellowing near the centre, but this bottom edging miraculously remained unstained. I decided to stabilize it against some good quality quilting cotton and then got to work.

Oh – did I mention that I had also decided to make 5 more placemats that evening? We were also celebrating my Mom’s birthday and her sister had flown in from Greece for the party, and well I figured all 3 ladies deserved a pair of placemats! Yeah, I’m nuts. I can admit that now. Oh, and by the morning of the birthday lunch, I was only halfway through this first placemat. *cringe*

As fast as my little machine would let me, I framed out the vintage strip, topstitched a bit of lace, and quickly quilted in my freeform feathery design. Oh how I wish I’d had a lot more time to really do a good, smooth job. *cry* 

It turned out well enough, and I even managed to add in a little singing birdy into the quilting:

I backed it with a piece of beautiful embroidered white linen..

I used the same white linen for the binding and I handstitched it down as we sped down the highway to the restaurant. Oh lordy, I’ve never blindstitched so fast in my life! As luck would have it, even after losing my needle in the car somewhere, I found an extra needle in my pin cushion and tied off my final knot as we pulled into the parking lot. *phew*

She loved it of course, and my mom – with tears in her eyes – said that I couldn’t have created a more perfect and meaningful gift.

I managed to get 4 placemats quilted and trimmed that morning, but this was the only one I managed to bind. Mom and Auntie Gisa had to relenquish their other placemats so I can finish them.

Here we all are at the restaurant:

If you’re a regular follower of my blog, then you would know that my Great Aunt passed away earlier this year. This special placemat now hangs in my fabric cabinet, a little crinkled from the wash,  where I can see it every day and imagine my Great Aunt and my Great Great Grandmother sipping their tea in my studio with me.

Thanks so so much for stopping by and enjoy the rest of the festival!

11 Comments leave one →
  1. May 18, 2011 10:36 am

    Such a beautiful piece and a beautiful story – so glad you shared this for BQF, Sonja!

  2. May 18, 2011 11:04 am

    Such a lovely story and a beautiful placemat. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Heide permalink
    May 18, 2011 11:40 am

    Here I go again – tears in my eyes
    Love ya!

  4. May 18, 2011 12:47 pm

    Lovely story Sonja, I have a few very old teatowels I intend to quilt as well. Great inspiration. Well done on making the blogger’s quilt festival.

  5. May 18, 2011 2:19 pm

    It is beautiful, and the story is wonderful! I am glad you were able to keep it to reflect upon for the many years to come.

  6. May 18, 2011 4:16 pm

    What a lovely piece and a lovely story. And lovely work too!

  7. May 18, 2011 5:51 pm

    Very special and so full of meaning. The quilting is absolutely beautiful!

  8. Anna permalink
    May 18, 2011 7:35 pm

    You are the sweetest person I’ve ever met. Your thoughtfulness is astounding. Your family is blessed to have you in they’re lives. I haven’t met many people like you. I can count them on one hand.
    when I read your posts you really lift my spirits. Big hugs to you!

  9. Sara permalink
    May 18, 2011 7:36 pm

    beauty through and through;)

  10. May 18, 2011 7:42 pm

    Wow, now that’s a great quilty story for Festival !

  11. Penny G permalink
    May 19, 2011 8:43 am

    Making special things for special people is the gift we have been given as quilters.

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