Saturday, July 07, 2007

Grandmother's garden

I have been working on this old crinkly thing on and off for years. I found the pattern in Australian Patchwork and Quilting and was drawn to it because it had lots of interesting techniques and effects. The applique is done with batting underneath, and it is all appliqued to the background and a thin layer of batting. When all the appliqué and embroidery is done, there will be another layer of batting and a background fabric, and I'll quilt through all layers. Parts of the quilt will then have three layers of batting! Add to that mini yo-yos for pine cones and apples, buttons, french knots and beads, and it should eventually become quite an interesting quilt.
I have yet to add the vine with leaves and yo-yo flowers in the border, and you will notice that I have kept one square empty. I started this to have a long term project to bring to my quilting group, and it has been met with a lot of interest from the others - what will be added next? I have adapted the pattern and added ideas of my own along the way, for instance the 3D palm leaves that are only stitched to the middle, to add further interest. Sticking to the pattern? Where's the fun in that? Now it has been left hidden in a drawer for quite a while, and that empty square is the reason for that. The quilt is called "Grandmother's garden" and that square is where the grandmother is supposed to be...

This is the grandmother in the pattern. She's not my kind of grandmother, though. I thought at first that it was made so that the jacket could be opened, but that was not so. Well, I could do that anyway, I decided, Then it was her hair. Nah, didn't fancy those buttons. Maybe I could use some doll's hair or something? And those poor feet in those huge shoes - no, that's not what I wanted. Not that there's anything wrong with the design, for a country craft look it is fine, but with my starting point of a Tuscany fabric line, I have been thinking more along the lines of making a colourful mediterranean woman. But I have been stuck when it comes to what she should look like, and how I would make her.
Then I started thinking about my own grandmother and how she loved gardening. Her garden used to be a riot of colours and she'd use any empty vessel she could come across as an excuse to plant something new. She would have loved the idea of a container garden.
I have been playing around with different ideas on my computer lately. One problem is that the square is a bit brighter than the rest, so I was thinking that I might use a layer of organza to tone it down. Then the idea of adding images occured to me. Maybe a garden, or a Tuscany landscape printed on fabric and my grandmother placed on top. Maybe even a photo of her? Like this one, where I have placed a Tuscany landscape in the background?

The photo is too stiff and formal for what I have in mind, though, so I'll see if I can find a good snapshot of her, looking like her jolly old self, the way I remember her from my childhood. And maybe I'll appliqué a dress on top of that picture... hm, this is getting interesting... I'm off to play!

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