Thursday, April 14, 2011

My life in Symbols

Hi. My name is Wilma, from Wilma's World. Thanks to Madam Samm for having me here today. 

Just FYI, I have been quilting since 1978, when my sister sent me templates for a Mexican Star Quilt, and I cut them from blue jeans and sewed them together like you would sew a torn seam. It was too think to quilt, so I tied it. ( Old picture, it's on a waterbed!!!!) I went from strictly all hand piecing and hand quilting, to machine piecing and hand quilting, to machine piecing and quilting with a Juki on a frame. Quite a transition.


Like so many others, I wasn't sure what to talk about in this blog post, and had many different topics to choose from. But I chose this: My life in symbols.

A few years ago, I was challenged to make a self portrait quilt. What came to mind was a mosaic picture of myself or a piece with my picture on it somewhere, but that just didn't seem to tell much about me, except what I look like. So I went another direction. Here is what I made. I will explain each aspect, and hopefully you will learn a little more about me.



The background is the sky, as well as Tarheel blue, for NC.

The center square shows the things that are in the forefront of my life. The large AT symbol stands for the Appalachian Trail, of which I am a lover and supporter. I love nature, it brings me down to earth and makes me feel very humble. I think that nature also guides me in my choices in fabrics and colors, I don't look at the pattern per se, it just has to be pretty and make me feel happy.

The little red cross denotes my chosen profession, nursing, from which I retired in December after 32 years. ( I just can't say "retirement" enough, to which my regular blog readers can attest.)

 The infinity symbol, with the D (Dave) and the W (Wilma) is for the enduring relationship I have with my husband. ( 38 years). He totally supports my quilting and is probably responsible for 80% of the spending I do on fabric.

The elderly people represent the fact that we live with Dave's elderly mother, who is 89. When I made the quilt, his step dad was still alive too, and was the reason we had to move in here.

The sun. Well, what can I say. I love the feel of the sun on my face, even in the dead of winter.  I might have a few blemishes on my skin from earlier years, but if I couldn't go out in the sun, I might as well hang it up.

The little person on top of the mountain represents my love for hiking. At first glance of my physique, you wouldn't think I ever got off of the couch, but we hike at least once a week, weather permitting, for anywhere from 3-6 miles. Living in western North Carolina there is no end to the trails available. And the views from the higher elevations are spectacular. I always feel like Rocky when we get to the top. I even love hiking in the winter mainly because there are NO ticks and NO snakes. 

The little waving quilt tells it all for me. Quilting is in every aspect of my life. If I see a pretty view, I think what a beautiful quilt it would make. I can't imagine my life without fabric and quilts. I have made at least 1 quilt for each of my family members and friends, and have dozens in piles here at home. My sister asks me what I am going to do with them. (Hmmm. I always thought that when the electric grid fails, I would trade them for food. Without electricity, people will need quilts for warmth......right? ) 

The symbols in the border show things that have shaped my life in other ways. 

First, I am  Buckeye at heart, always will be, even though I have come to love NC. Where you are born and bred is where your roots are, it can't be changed.

The ecology symbol represents my passion for this planet, and making it sustainable for all of our generations to come.

The dove....well everyone wants peace, don't they??

And golf. We all have to have one cross to bear, lol. I love golf, but it is a fickle friend, and messes with my head all the time. But it is outdoors, most of the courses are beautiful, and it is very good exercise. 

So, this little wall hanging holds much more information about me than a picture ever could. Hopefully someday someone in my family will pull this out and have great insights into the life of Great Great Grandma Wilma, the one who made all the quilts. And with no picture, they will assume that I am beautiful!!!

I challenge you to make a self portrait quilt for yourself. Future quilting generations will be glad you did. 

Later,
WilmaNC

41 comments:

  1. What a wonderful self-portrait, Wilma! Wow! Thank you ever so much for sharing it ... inspiring :)

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  2. Thank you for sharing, Wilma - this is very inspirational!

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  3. This is very neat. A great idea.
    I am hosting "May for Me" on my blog next month. I am going to blog about this cool block with a link to you because it is fantastic!

    PS...I am an avid hiker. I had a set back in my hiking when I had a surprise baby at 41 and spent most of the pregnancy in bed. But the great news is...he's 15 months old now and he hiked a mile long trail today without being carried. I am so excited! Come winter he can really hit the trails with me. Time to teach him to geocache!

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  4. Very interesting symbol quilt. Thank you for sharing.

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  5. Well, you are full of surprises. This is not a piece I have seen. A beautiful self-portrait, with lots of thought and meaning - and yes, it is you. I think it is great inspiration for others - wow, what should I do? THank you for a great post.

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  6. Clever idea! I am wondering how long it took you to come up with the design....it looks like you really thought it out well..

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  7. I love your jeans quilt, and for a first time quilt that is absolutely amazing!

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  8. Hi Wilma, great to see you here. Love the self portrait!

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  9. Good Morning Wilma...I sew enjoyed this post...this is a great description of you, I love your interpretation. Mine would certainly have coffee on it and ruffles, and wires and technology all around me...Oh and I suspect I would be sitting on some fabric....or scratch that all together, I need to think about YOURS more lol...loved this.....

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  10. Great post Wilma. So refreshing!! Making quilts is fun but telling of ones self without pictures is neat. Keep on doing what you are doing, as it works..
    And the jeans quilt looks neat on the bed.

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  11. Loved your post. Last December was the first I had spent time in western NC. We did lots of hiking and the scenery was definitely beautiful!

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  12. When I first started to read this my immediate thought was ~ I don't think I could ever be creative enough to make a self portrait quilt ~ after finishing I know I am not as creative as you! WOW! This was a pleasure to read, thank you for sharing!

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  13. What a wonderful idea to make a wall hanging into a self portrait. I really enjoyed reading this and thank you for the wonderful inspiration.

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  14. I enjoyed meeting you Wilma. Love your idea of making a quilt to represent one's self.

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  15. great quilt idea. Thank you for sharing and inspiring.

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  16. Great Idea!! I have made quilts for my son from his old sports jerseys to remember his growing up years, but this idea is awesome.

    What a cool way to make your life tangible... I might have to do one of these.

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  17. I so enjoyed reading about your self portrait in a quilt. Very thoughtfully made and beautiful work. Thank you so much for sharing. Judy C

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  18. I love your quilt and love the idea of a self portrait through a quilt. I'd have to think long and hard about what I would put on a quilt...wonder how I could get 3 kids, 8 grandkids, my husband, my sister, my faith, my friends, my quilts, my house and my guild friends on there. :) blessings, marlene

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  19. I love your self portrait quilt. I would have to think about mine.. it would be a mess of symbols I think! I might have to narrow it down. It certainly makes you think though. Happily they are all good symbols :)

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  20. Your self-portrait is wonderful - and I think that the generations to come will know that Great Grandma Wilma was, indeed, a beautiful person. Thanks for sharing this...it was interesting and inspiring, too.
    Jacque in SC
    quiltnsrep(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  21. Your Jeans Quilt brought me back to my first quilt. I tied it too. Enjoyed your post. Hugs

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  22. I think North Carolina is beautiful with the smoky mountains. I hope one day go along the Appalachian trail, so full of history! Did you put the meaning of your symbols on the back of the quilt for future generations? I'm sure they will figure it out. Thanks for sharing. I want peace too!

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  23. What a wonderful self portrait. Beautiful!!

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  24. What a terrific idea....thanks for sharing! Piece....

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  25. Love the jean quilt - reminds me of the one I made, my very first quilt!

    Samm! I LOVE the Flickr page!!! Brilliant! Now I can have a "one-click-to-inspiration" every morning...after I read Stash, of course! xo, Nan

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  26. This is great! I will have to think about what my block would look like. Hmmm......... Thanks for sharing!

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  27. This is one of the most fabulous personalized quilts I have ever seen! Thanks so much for displaying it and explaining all of it's intricacies.
    It has been wonderful "getting to know you!"

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  28. Hi Wilma, nice to meet you. :) What a cool quilt! I absolutely love it and your family will be so lucky to have this! Thank you for the insight, I love hearing other people's stories.

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  29. Thanks for your "tour" of your amazing self-portrait quilt.

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  30. Very cool! Thanks for sharing!

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  31. Great idea - I've never seen another like it! Thanks for sharing!

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  32. Thanks for all the nice comments. Maybe I will get asked back someday. :^)

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  33. Well Sister this is a great story and you are a good writer and use of words. Now get busy and make my self portrait! I 'll be waiting so hurry Love you patty

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  34. Wow, that is so cool. I love the idea of making a wall hanging about yourself. I have a million ideas of things that would reflect me. Thank you for the idea.

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  35. What a wonderful self portrait! Very creative

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  36. I love it! you are so creative. I would have made a stick figure! LOL.
    glen in Louisiana

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  37. Wilma,
    What a very nice self portrait! I hope your children know, what all those symbols on this little quilt mean. Thanks for sharing.

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  38. Great jeans quilt! The self portrait is interesting as it's what's inside not outside that's pictured. The part that counts, not the part you see and very thought provoking. Another idea for my notebook.

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  39. We have a lot in common. I am from Ohio living in North Carolina except I live on the east coast. I am an RN wishing I was retired. I quilt but not like you. Just love your self portrait!

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  40. I am so inspired to make a self portrait Quilt!!! It will certainly take some thought and I think mine will be more of a wall hanging size project. But, I agree with another poster about putting the meanings of the symbols on the back..a "map legend" of sorts! I'm a RETIRED teacher and I too can't say retirement often enough. After 3 years I still pinch myself to make sure it's real!!!
    Blessings
    Gmama Jane

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You think they are just words...they are sew much more than that...your wee messages tell me, you are kind, smart and important...