Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Once Upon a Time...

Are you sitting comfortably?  Then I'll begin!  (I'm a little young for Listen with Mother, but I couldn't resist!)  Hello again everyone, Trudi here from Quilting Prolifically blog.  I'm so pleased Madame Samm asked me back for another post here, it's such a fun and diverse place to be, don't you think?  I have to tell you this post came about from a very personal exchange of e-mails after one of Madame Samm's posts on her Sew I quilt blog.  We discussed the stories that get associated to the quilts we make.  And so I'll begin...  with a few of my quilt stories...

Long, long ago, when I was much younger and before I'd had children I was living and working in Belgium.  I was fortunate enough to have to visit Heerlen in The Netherlands for a couple of weeks.  Who knew I would find a quilting shop!  I was new to quilting, so just a few fat quarters went home with me, I was, after all, still in the collecting, admiring and fabric stroking stage!   Later I did a one day taster class and learned a few basic blocks, and important techniques.  From this basic beginning I made 13 blocks. 

I put them to one side, and they moved back to England with me, and then 10 years later we went to The Netherlands.  Heerlen to be exact!  And of course I know exactly where the quilt shop is!  Or at least I thought I did!  When I went to find the shop, you can imagine my horror to find it was gone!  Ha!  Several weeks later I was driving around the town, finding my bearings when I spotted a load of quilts blowing in the wind outside an old mill building.  A quick detour and what should I discover but that same quilt shop in the a new, bigger location.  On closer inspection to my delight I discovered two of the original fabrics I had used in my blocks!  Yes, 10 years later!  And so, In the Beginning, what goes around comes around!

10 years in the making and several moves later, this quilt was finally finished!

One of my very early quilts was a kit from Keepsake Quilting (the reason I got sucked into quilting in the first place!).  Serving in the Royal Air Force you can imagine my delight in this little pattern. 

This association is the inspiration for this little quilt, finally made when my son was still a babe in arms.  The piecing was a challenge, I was still very new to the craft. But I had to add my own little touch to those planes, so each one has RAF Roundels quilted into their wings!

Hand quilted, I learned not to use poly cotton on the back, talk about making hard work for myself! 

I've been a member of a local quilt group for well over 15 years, and at one of the early meetings, our Bee Queen described a technique that we would look at next time we met.  Unfortunately my mind went into overdrive, quite literally!  On the drive home I was thinking, hmm black and whites (I had I great little stack of fq's that would be perfect!) and one wow fabric! 

I was a pretty confident quilter by this time, so the next day I grabbed the stack of fabrics and went for it.  Yep, that's me all over, 'I can do that'!    Later that day I was calling back to ask how to set the blocks! 

I knew I wanted to quilt feathers along the border of this quilt, and so it sat for many years waiting it's turn patiently.  I'd even marked it up ready.   When I finally got a table top frame and was confident with feathers, this quilt, that had patiently waited it turn,  got loaded and I took a huge leap of faith using a variegated thread that would disappear in the middle but stand out bold on the black borders. 

Again, another quilt that took almost 10 years to finish. 

Of course we all know that children bring a whole new element to our quilting, and mine were no exception.  I found some Batman fabric in a local store and from this the Batman quilt for my son was born!

His room was red and yellow at the time!

You can see a peek of the background here...

This quilt was hand quilted, I fused the logo's and did a satin stitch around each one to secure them.

And in each corner another logo!  My son loved this quilt, as you can see by the faded black! 

Have you noticed anything about my quilts yet?

Do you ever learn a technique that just inspires you to try?  I'm a sucker for a great technique, and trip around the world by tubes was no exception.

The label was inspired by a children's book illustration.

Another hand quilted piece...

that all started with just a half meter of this fishy fabric in the border.  Isn't it fun, I still love it after all these years!

I gathered up all the fabrics that had a seaside theme, shells, colours, fish, the shimmering sun on the water, and the yellow to reflect the sand and proceeded to piece the quilt.

I loved this technique so much I had to do another.  I had a bundle of little fat eighths, and so I had to calculate just how far it would go to create the quilt.  Trust me, this was a real challenge on my math skills! 

Such a pretty quilt, I used ALL the fabric for the center but then had to go home from The Netherlands back to the UK for the weekend.  We used to have a lovely quilt shop in town, and I headed up there to get some border fabric (I just couldn't get the right one in Holland  or just over the border in Germany)  Unfortunately I forgot to bring the centre with me! 

I had to choose the border fabric and binding blind!  You just KNOW when you have found the right one! 

I cut my teeth on free motion quilting on this quilt with my mums old Husqvana machine, the feed dogs didn't drop and the plate that went over them bounced up and down all the way through the process! 

By the time we were living in Holland I had quite a collection of fat quarters.  We used to have a loft that was easily accessible and became my sewing area.  By this time my Teenage Diva would have been 2 - 3 years old, and she would happily sit up with me getting all the fabrics out, laying them out and making a virtual quilt on the floor with all the fq's.  Such fond memories  :)

Whilst my piecing wasn't brilliant, this is another top that got put to one side.  There's a theme coming through, somehow I couldn't quilt them as fast as I could make them! 

The pattern was from a copy of McCalls Quilting possibly 1999!  I quilted it in 2008!  I decided I wanted to see if I could do McTavishing on my little frame.  Well, it seems I can, but only on a much smaller scale!  This lap size quilt just keeps on giving memories, I was given a sample cone of Superior Lava thread to try and this top was perfect, unfortunately I ran out of thread, about 6" from the end.  Ooops  :)

As a toddler my DD was very much influenced by my ever increasing hobby, and so I was not surprised when she expressed a desire at just 3 to have a particular fabric for her quilt.  I'd got a fabulous kit from The Bramble Patch that would be just perfect!  So I laboured away and made the quilt...

This is the fabric (fleece) she chose...

And this was the pattern...

I meticulously hand stitched around each star and was thrilled with the result. 

I even managed to get the machine quilting just right.  So having finished the quilt, the next time I saw my daughter, I presented the quilt to her, showing her the front proudly.  She promptly burst into tears and told me she wanted the fleece on the front!  To this day, this quilt has only ever been on her bed with the pattern side down and the fleece side up!  Children can be so fickle! 

So if you are still with me, I'd like to finish with my $3 quilt!  Yep, just $3. 

Whilst I was living in Holland we were less than 10 minutes from the German border and another NATO unit.  Every year there was a raffle for a quilt, and I duly bought my tickets,  Except I only had $6 cash in my purse!  I wanted to win some of the other prizes too!  It was $3 for the quilt raffle or $3 for all the other raffle prizes. 

You can imagine my surprise at winning!  This quilt has been dragged in and out of the house and onto the lawn every summer by the children, even now as teenagers! 

So to all the ladies of Geilenkirchen who contributed to this quilt, thank you.  :) 

And so it's time for my stories to end, thankfully I've gone on to piece better, quilt better (and funnily enough, they seem to have got much bigger too!) and gather stories along the way.  To me, it's these stories, memories and associations that make the quilts special.  No matter what we stitch, somehow we always manage to stitch a little (or a lot) of ourselves into our quilts making them true gifts of love. 

Madame Samm, thank you for having me over again, and for allowing me to take a trip down memory lane  :) 

Happy Quilting!


  1. Thank you Trudi for sharing such wonderful, memory/story quilts with us today. I laughed at the flannel upside down quilt - my daughter makes a lot of baby quilts for friends and she just went thru this trama of a child not liking the front, but uses the quilt upside down (so she can feel the flannel to lull her to sleep). I love the pastel trip around the world quilt - just so dreamy. Very nicely presented - hope there aren't anymore 10 year in the making, but if there is, I'm sure they will be loved and treasured for their memories.

  2. Loved your stories. It's so neat to see the progression of someone's skills and interests. :) But, I don't know if I could wait 10 years to quilt something. That is patience! Thanks for sharing with us Trudi. :)

  3. Memory Lane is a fun place to visit. :-) I go there often, especially if there are quilts to visit. Your pastel Trip Around the World is my favorite!

  4. Trudi - what fun to see your progression through the years. I am more than a little impressed at the hand-quilting - what patience and tenacity!
    Thanks so much for the trunk show - loved each and every one and the stories too!!!

  5. Thank you for sharing your stories about your quilts, I have really enjoyed reading about them, and I hate to say this but... I do remember "Listen with Mother"!!!!

  6. Hi Trudi, great to see you here, thanks for sharing all these quilts. I love teenage Diva's quilt top, even if she thinks it's the back!! LOL

  7. Thank you for sharing...You have made some fantastic quilts and have such nice memories to go with them.

  8. What a lovely quilt story Trudi! So much of your life has gone into each piece - that's real quilting-making at its best. Jxo

  9. what a great story just imagine if some of those ladies read this blog !! great memories for you and yours.

  10. What a great post! I really enjoyed reading the stories and the quilts are beautiful!

  11. What a great read! Thank you so much for sharing! Your quilts are wonderful!

  12. Good Morning Trudi, and it "US" who thank you...I sat here this morning with my cup of brew, and smiled at your tenacity, commitment and artistic flair and I welled with tears. Why? Because I sew believe that every quilt has a story, and behind that story is a LADY ( sometimes a gent) that was inspired by someone else to create something from their hearts and fingers. There is no doubt in my mind, for the many who will sit here this morning with their brew of choice, they will be sew inspired too.
    Although I have only been quilting for less than a year...it is ladies like you, who continue to inspire me to quilt some more...
    Question about what did I notice about your quilts...YOU LOVE wide BORDERS? mmmm
    and my fav the LOVELY quilt in pastels....( do GIVE your quilts NAMES? This one I would call, Jelly beans.... again Trudi, thank you for being a lovely guest, inside and out!

  13. Wonderful quilts with wonderful stories. That Batman quilt is just too cute.
    xx, shell

  14. Loved the quilty story time! And I sew understand your daughter's reaction to her quilt. I have one on a bed that is always reversed when my daughter comes home. LOL

  15. I know my boys would love the batman quilt!!! So fun!!!

  16. I really enjoyed hearing your quilt history. I love the fleece needs to be on the front!! A beautiful pieced back on that one!

  17. What a lovely quilt show! Thanks so much - you have beautiful quilts and a lot of talent! I'm so glad my son didn't know there was such a thing as a Batman quilt! I would probably STILL be making them if he did - and he's 26! xo, Nan

  18. Your quilts are beautiful Trudi!

  19. This was so much fun...thank you, Trudi, for taking us with you on the trip down Memory Lane! Your quilts are lovely, and I can feel through reading your words, that you are just as beautiful as your quilts.
    Don't worry about taking a long time to get them done....I have one that waited almost thirty years, and is now treasured by my oldest son and his bride!
    Jacque in SC

  20. Thank you for your great story! You have some beautiful quilts!

  21. Great stories to accompany your great quilts!!
    Your stories stirred up some memories of my own. Thank you!

  22. Thanks for the stories, which I really enjoyed. I did think it was funny to see that the Teenage Diva was in training to be a diva even as a toddler!

  23. Love your stories so much, thank you for being a guest here again. You made me chuckle about your Diva. I have one of those too. I think they are born that way. Love her more now that she lives outside of my home. I put her in the garage. (kidding here) Again love your batman quilt. Love boy stuff.

  24. What a wonderful post. 10 years will pass either way....better to have finished them...that is what I tell myself :)

    Thanks for sharing....I loved reading.


  25. Thank you all sew much for you kind and heartfelt comments, I'm thrilled you enjoyed just a small peek into my past and my quilting story. :) Blessings x

  26. What wonderful stories for each of those beautiful quilts! Thanks for sharing them!


  27. I really enjoyed your stories about all the quilts. And I'm really impressed with your early quilts, too! I think I may be in love with the "fishy" quilt. :-) Thanks for sharing!

  28. Thank you for your quilt stories! I always love hearing about the early quilts in everyone's lives



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