Heirloom Poppies

heirloom doily for a pillow

This week’s pillow commission required extreme care.  It required symmetry and therefore measuring.  It required keeping fabric that wanted to crinkle, flat.  It required being able to FIND the doily.  My iron had to be pristine at all times.

Hole before -- muslin scrap slipped under, no glue

There was one minor flaw in the doily — the round hole shown above.  It wasn’t that noticeable until one placed the doily on the coral-colored silk, and then it was VERY noticeable.  I didn’t want to use a glue-product like WonderUnder to adhere a teeny piece of muslin under the hole, so I stitched it carefully — without turning under the edges because that would have required enlarging the hole.

Hole after -- edges left raw to minimize size of tear

Long ago, I learned that white-glove production is not for me.  Professional curtain-making was a casualty of this recognition.  I tried it briefly.  Loved the design challenges, fabric selections, and money, but couldn’t stand the sweat and worry.  And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, then you haven’t seen what schmutz on an iron can do to a fully-assembled white linen Roman shade — in about four seconds.

Exquisite embroidery -- tough to iron flat near its contours

I am hoping that my small quilting stitches don’t detract too much from the beautiful embroidery of the poppy.

Light quilting to anchor doily to silk

The process of working on this pillow has heightened my appreciation for working congruently… working in a style, palette, and scale that is in accord with one’s basic wiring and temperament.

For instance, do you plan or jump in and clean up your messes afterwards?  Are you a designer who makes sketches or who doesn’t?  And if you do, are those sketches made prior to taking a stitch and/or during construction?  Do crooked lines bother you?  Do straight lines?

What do you do if you are an improv quilter and suddenly must meet specific demands imposed by a commission? (this week’s rub, for me).  And, given your basic disposition, how do you tolerate being on a learning curve?

Coral-colored silk a winner with the poppies

There are fiber artists out there, by the way, doing unbelievably beautiful things with antique linens.  For an exquisite use of heirloom cloth, please visit Kaye Turner’s blog.

Yesterday, when I finally got back to ‘doing what I love’, I found myself stymied again, because this huge Global Warming quilt will not let itself be resolved.

Iteration 735! Horizon re-emerging

Pitbullish about its size, I am resisting the temptation to break it into smaller pieces.  I could easily create four smaller quilts.  It keeps morphing this way and that and I truly can’t tell if it’s getting closer to resolution or not.  Last night I lay in bed counting on my fingers how many BED SIZED simple geometric quilts I could have made with the time I’ve spent on this.

What I have decided therefore, is, to piece it up in its unresolved state and then to ‘paint’ with applique to bring the thing into harmony.

blue edge near top needs broken up

brown edge near middle needs disturbed

another Global Warming "spawn" quilt

13 thoughts on “Heirloom Poppies

  1. kaye

    Well, I think your pillow is glorious. Thank you for the link and for your kind words x
    I’m still working (very!) hard on self-acceptance too, if that’s any consolation…

  2. grace Forrest~Maestas

    my immediate thought…Well, Of Course! it’s a global
    warming quilt. or a term i like better …. climate change
    and it’s consequences quilt….. (because the desert
    has felt like the mid west this year, ongoing….)

    but anyway….Of Course!
    what IS resolved about probably irreversable damage to
    the planet and all the children wandering about on her
    surface generations to come?
    so maybe the borders can just be prayers, or hopes,
    or whatever we call what we do when we are sad

  3. deemallon

    grace, your comment is like a light going on… I’ve been making strips of fabric with prayers on them and NEVER thought of bringing them to this quilt… I’m going to mull on that. thank you!

  4. grace Forrest~Maestas

    oh…mull then…please do mull. and i will look forward
    to whatever the mulling brings…. a border
    or something else entirely
    as my little neighbor boy always ends every conversation
    “you never know”
    he’s six

    my GREATgrandson is 7months.

  5. deemallon

    omgoodness! I ‘took’ you for a young thing. don’t ask me why. how lucky to have family like that!! will I live long enough to see same?

    “you never know”!

  6. Deb G

    Oh my! You and I are very much alike in our approach. 🙂 One thing I’ve struggled with, and resolved, is whether I’m just being lazy by not working more on matching the corners, making even stitches. Decided a long time ago, that while I can admire people who have the ability and desire to do this, and love some of what they make, it’s just not for me. I like crooked corners, I like inconsistency…it speaks to me of what the world really is. And I want to spend my time having fun making what I make, not stressing about it. Grace’s idea is a very interesting one…

  7. glennis

    a couple of things-

    pillow- it is always a challenge to handle and rework someone’s cherished textile into something new- the stress that you might damage it, irreversibly harm it, etc.. but then again i don’t think anyone would put it into your hands if they didn’t trust…and want your energy added to what was already a cherished object in their life. kind of like a prayer.

    the border on the “spawned” quilt does allow for some quiet time. a place to rest and consider.

    i live on the edge of the learning curve and very much enjoy the energy it adds to what i do. seems that once i have conquered the edge, i look for a new one. kind of like surfers looking for a new wave-
    another reason i like working with kids, they like to ride the wave.

  8. grace Forrest~Maestas

    well…my daughter (the grandmother) just turned 37.
    she had the mother of the 7 month old when she was
    16. So…I am not quite older than dirt yet….i’m 64.
    maybe i also am a “young thing” too because I had the
    good fortune to come of age in the 60’s. That leaves
    it’s strong imprint.
    whether or not you feel the border of prayer and hope
    works with this particular quilt…
    I like very much that the question arose for you and
    it caused in me the response….sets into motion things
    i want to try with something of my own….that issue
    of how to we Live with things so heartbreaking, things
    that in our own minds could be resolved. and wanting
    that so much for our babies that seem to continue
    so, thank you dee

  9. deemallon

    glennis — you pegged part of what was difficult about the textile commission — so truly one-of-a-kind, and not mine, etc. As for learning curves, it sounds to me like you embrace being a beginner and learning new things more than your comment indicates… And, I agree about kids. Their freshness is so wonderful to be around.

    and grace — at 64 you’re a peer! I assumed you had to be in your mid-to-late 70’s to have great grandchildren. I had my kids in my late 30’s and do not have longevity genes from either side of my family — hence my comment… BUT! I’m working on noticing the ways in which my health/life is different from my parents, so that I might live to see, not GREAT grandchildren, but grandchildren, anyway. Hope you’ll post some pix on your site.

  10. Carolyn

    Just popped over to say “hello” … and thank you so much for your lovely comment about my Erosion Bundles. So sorry it’s taken me a while. I’ve only just finished cottage stuff and have a little time to visit everyone :o)

    Your poppies are gorgeous!

    Hope you had a lovely weekend
    Carolyn xo


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