Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Grandmother's (emotional) Choice

A friend asked me about an upcoming BOW (block of the week) quilt along.  I missed out on the previous Barbara Brackman Civil War series, so I decided to join in.

The series starts on Saturday, September 1.  That date sticks in my memory because it would have been my mother's 74th birthday.  I kind of noted that and moved on.

One of the threads on the group page asks what fabrics we would be using.  I had not yet decided but I knew I wanted to make a quilt from stash rather than buying anything new, traditional or otherwise.

I decided on bright rainbow colors.  This is going to be a happy quilt.  There are two options for the number fabrics for the block colors.  The first calls for one yard of five colors of fabric: one dark, medium dark, medium, medium light and light.

The other option calls for FQ's for each of the hue categories, so you have 20 different fabrics.  That would be my choice since working from stash,  I would be a lot more likely to have FQ's on hand.  And minimalism is a concept still new to me.

I started pulling solids and tone on tone fabrics.  I have accumulated a lot of solids.  I thought about making it of all solids, but didn't want the quilt be mistaken for Amish. I added in tone on tones and some that are a tone and white.  As I pulled I noticed I had the whole rainbow except for red... I chose to skip red.

Not surprisingly, my selections were a little heavy on the blue end of the spectrum.  That's just a fact of the way it will always be, folks.  Blue and his close friends are--and always have been--my favorite.

Donnie, Mom and me
a Polaroid moment
As I worked, I thought about Mama.  Maybe I would make this quilt as a tribute to her since the group started on her birthday.  Her favorite color was blue too.  That's where I learned to like it!  I never had a pink or purple girlie colored room, it was always blue (except for that moment in high school that I asserted my opinion and had it painted green.)  I grew up with Robin's egg blue walls and loved it.

I lined up the fabrics to take a picture to post on the fabric selection thread.  I downloaded it to my computer, edited and decided to put the name of the BOW on my picture.

"Grandmother's Choice."  If I had read the title before it hadn't stuck.  I only remembered was that it would be a history of women's suffrage.  I'd chosen modern colors as a tribute to women of the past.

As my mind wandered around, I remembered thinking of mom as the unlikely feminist.  She was always telling me to assert myself and that I could do anything I set my mind to.  Those notions and a half dozen others qualified her.  But if you suggested to her that she was feminist, one of two things might happen.  She would laugh loudly in utter disbelief or she might "bless you out" for even suggesting such a thing.  In her mind, the term had extremely negative connotations.
silly kids--he was 20 and she was 19

During my pregnancy for Meredith, Mom had almost insisted that her grandmotherly name be nothing other than "Grandmother."  My daddy thought it was stuffy to be called "Grandfather" so he would not play along.  He opted to be "Papa."  Both choices fit their personalities.

Suddenly, all of the thoughts and colors swirling in my head came together.  The Grandmother's Choice's QAL was starting on my mother's birthday, I had chosen a lot of our favorite blue colors, and notably, there was no red.

Dad thought she looked best in red.  Whether it was in style or not, she wore  black, white (or black and white) and red.  Mama almost always wore red nail polish and lipstick.  The color red  would be absent from my quilt on purpose.

My voice quivered as I relayed all of this information to Byron.  All of it kind of took me by surprise.  I'd been thinking of Mama since next week is the third anniversary of her homegoing.  wow.  I guess this project is a tribute that will mark another layer of healing.

aren't they pretty?


  1. You're going to have a beautiful, healing quilt...

    *reaching for a tissue*

  2. Hi Teri,

    You've chosen some beautiful colors to make a lovely quilt as a tribute to your Mother. Thanks for sharing your story and I look forward to seeing your blocks each week.


  3. That is just such a lovely story-it brought me to tears! I think it was destiny that you join this group!
    I luv your color choices and the quilt will be beautiful, just like your mom!

  4. Teri i shall look forward to your weekly blocks, I went all "goosey" reading your story, sometime we are guided in our choices, this seems to be one of those moments for you

  5. Thanks so much for sharing your story. I look forward to seeing the final quilt.

  6. I love how all quilts tell a story ... yours has a story before the first stitch is sewn! It will make working on it all the more wonderful, I think. :)

  7. Thank you all for your wonderful comments and encouragement.

  8. What a beautiful memory this quilt will be. I pray that it is healing and comforting for you.

  9. Your colors are lovely! I just joined about 5 minutes ago. I will put you in my FREQUENTLY READ bookmark folder and check back. I hope this quilt is a comfort all the way through for you.