Saturday, 17 August 2013

Looking back, planning ahead

I’ve started a couple of long range quilting projects and a workshop I took with Debbie Bates in July is tying together the past to these very future oriented projects.


I’d been saving this delightful vintage photo with a saying that really spoke to me waiting for the right project.  That project was a four page fabric book we created in our first class.  It’s created entirely of fabric and embellishments that have travelled with me (I still can’t believe that I actually thought I’d spend my evenings in Australia crazy quilting) or that I found on my travels.  Finally a place to combine shells, rocks, pearls, paua, ribbons….  The original photo came from

And here’s a spectacular bit of sun dying that I did on the one gloriously hot and sunny day we had this summer.  June 30 and plus 33.  Compared to the fabric painting I did this winter, I can’t believe what happens when sun and heat speeds up the drying.  The leaf shapes around the edge are all from our yard and the texture in the center comes from sprinkling pickling salt on the wet freshly painted fabric.  It’s been stitched to some flannelette with a grid of six inch squares.

My vision is that this will come with me on our year of travel and each week’s square will get a bit of stitching or autographing or appliquéing of fabric from the trip.  Perhaps some spice stained fabric from a bazaar, or some felted wool from along the silk road.  A sort of a fabric journal is what I’m thinking of.  I even have a wild idea of where and how I’m going to create the backing for this quilt, but it’s a secret til it actually happens.


It’s become a tradition at the Health Unit to make an autographed quilt when someone retires so they have something personal to remember us by.  In 2012, we were talking about this as we were planning the latest retirement party and someone asked, jokingly, who was going to make my retirement quilt.  Thinking about it, I realized that I was very much looking forward to making my own quilt, with the help of my friends and colleagues.  It’s going to be a flower garden much like this picture. 

I soon realized that I wanted my garden of memories to include as many of my former colleagues as I could find and persuade to autograph one of the flowers.  I’m excited to spend the next few years hunting people down.  As I’ve been doing this, it’s been a great trip down memory lane.

Who’s going to make my retirement quilt?
I will she said, excitedly.
(To be completed in 2020 or so)

The second class I took with Debbie Bates was to start to create an altered book – something I’ve enjoyed looking at in magazines but never had an idea of what or how to do it.  The first step was to find a book that I was prepared to take pages out of and add things to, which was surprisingly hard for a passionate reader.  After days of browsing books that I have stashed all over the house, I found the perfect one and read it cover to cover for one last time.  It’s a classic nursing text from the early 1980s that I knew I had but had forgotten what exactly it was about.  Actually, I hadn’t forgotten because I realize that how I have worked with clients and lived my life over the last thirty years I would have first read about in this book.  More memories, and a fun way to journal important bits from the past.  Here’s pictures of the front and back – and as I get some of the middle in a more finished way I’ll share them too. 

  I think that this will be a never ending project.  The book?  Novice to Expert by Patricia Benner.  I think I would have heard about it from Maureen Leahy when I was taking a post basic mental health nursing certificate.

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