A couple of years ago, my parents were here for a visit. My mom was flipping though a stack of my quilting magazines and spotted a quilt that was an ad for something (I don't remember what). She obviously wanted it. ;)
I took her on a field trip to my favorite local quilt shop and asked her to pick out one fabric that she really loved. She did that, then I picked out a few fabrics that went well with that. We brought it all home and I rummaged through my stash to find a few more fabrics to finish off the design.
It was one of those patterns with lots of waste. You know, the kind where you sew a diagonal seam and then trim off the excess fabric? I hate waste! I am one of those people who is on a mission to have a waste--free home. I also reuse or find a purpose for just about everything in my studio. I have 9 boxes of string fabrics sorted by color. I keep 3 different sets of boxes for various size scraps. Even the tiny bits of fabric, the ones that should go in the trash, get saved to donate to the local shelter that makes pillows for the homeless. Also, I don't like 'goose poop' (those left over triangles from making flying geese). When I know that a pattern will create lots of waste from cutting these diagonal seams, I will simple sew a second seam 1/2 inch away from the first, trim the block and viola, I have a whole set of half square triangles to play with. This is what I did with my mom's quilt and this was the result:
Lots and lots of jewel tone and Asian themed fabrics. I would be crazy to throw away this beautiful mess, right? I am pretty sure my need to not be wasteful was inherited from my grandmother. This is a picture of her taken a few months ago with my brother.
She is my mom's mom and was born in 1933 in England. Some quick math and basic knowledge of history will tell you that as a child she survived the German Blitzkrieg. She came away from that with very few "things" and little education (who has time to worry about little girl's education during a war). Things turned out all right for her - she met and married an American serviceman in 1953, traveled the world together, and settled in Las Vegas in the early 70s where they finished raising their 5 children. She has always been frugal and, well, a nervous person. She doesn't like to have things that don't serve a purpose and decorating has never really been her thing. When I asked her if she would like a quilt, she just sort of shrugged and said 'I have plenty of blankets'.
While I was trying to decide what to do with the left over bits, Grammy (as the grand kids always called her) popped into my head. I thought 'she won't tell me what she wants but this is what she is going to get'. I mean what kind of quilter doesn't make a quilt for their grandmother, right? The sort of "trip around the world" look with half square triangles has always appealed to me. I just never had an opportunity to make one. With all of the blocks sharing the same cream-on-cream print, the pattern came together quickly. I had to make about 100 extra blocks to get it to the size that I liked. That also used up most of the left over fabric from my mom's quilt too. I am always happy when I DON'T add more scraps to my collection. This was the end result of all that:
I opted for an allover quilting motif with dragonflies in a cream colored thread. Not only does she like the quilt, my mom says she uses it on her bed everyday! Being the worried person that she is, she tends to save things for special occasions. That means that most of the things she cherishes don't see the light of day very much. I hope that she gets many more years out of this quilt. It is one of my favorites!