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Friday, May 02, 2008

unfinished quilt top

When Gwen posted her phenomenal feathered star quilt, it brought back my quilting days from twenty years ago, when we lived in Istanbul. So I went hunting for this one, first upstairs in a dresser, then through several trunks and tubs in the barn. Finally, after tubs of fabric scraps, there it was. Poor neglected thing.

I made several quilts in those days twenty years ago, mostly simple ones to be used daily by my family.

I started piecing this one with fabrics I'd brought with me from the States.

Because I didn't have a sewing machine in Turkey, and I had lots of time on my hands, and because the Turkish women spent afternoons at tea doing handwork, I pieced the quilts by hand.

I don't have anything against machine piecing, but I think I can be more precise with hand piecing.

The border with the white, mauve and blue squares and triangles should be hanging down the edge of the bed. It would make the top look more unified. But I am too lazy to take another set of photos. :-D

I have one more row of border to sew together and onto the quilt top (up there at the head of the bed). Then I can layer it with batting and backing, baste, and start quilting.


Unfortunately, my hands and wrists aren't what they used to be, with all my computer work at the university, so I don't know if I'll ever finish it.


This is our little guest room upstairs, where I spend Sunday afternoons sometimes reading, writing and looking out the window at the farm. We bought the brass bed at a flea market for $20 and painted it.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Beautiful, and made with so much love. I bet you can recall conversations, tea, and the wonderful women that you shared your life with back then. Very precious.

Perhaps your talented daughter will want to help her dear mama and leave her heart in the quilt as well. Especially since she also spent time and has memories from Turkey.

BTW, the Today Show was in Turkey this week. I think you can watch the segment on lne.

Ingrid said...

This quilt top is beautiful. When the mood is right, experimenting and playing with fabric can be so satisfying. Thanks for sharing this.

Anonymous said...

I forgot, your brass bed reminds me of the movie "The Unsinkable Molly Brown". I always loved the song, "My Own Brass Bed" .

Brandy said...

Love the $20 bed and your quilt is beautiful!

Don said...

Watching you spend hours planning those quilts and then carefully measuring, marking and cutting the fabric and then sorting the pieces into individual little piles is a warm and happy memory. I remember you saying that you wouldn't mind doing all that work and then letting someone else finish it. You probably have 20 quilts in various stages of "quilting!"

This is stunning! Maybe we should leave it there.

Sandy said...

Wow, I'm with Don leave it there...haha...does my opinion count?? But...this is gorgeous and the work involved is incredible I imagine. I had no idea you lived in Istanbul, was it because of a job over there...wow...I need to leisurely go through your blog here some day...and I will...when those hot hot days of summer come and I'd rather be indoors...

and..your welcome....for the blog highlight. Your flying blog should be flown all over the net...such beautiful photography there.

and I enjoyed reading Don's memories of you quilting back then.

Would love to see more..

sandy

Anet said...

Ruth this quilt is beautiful!!!! I love the design.
The whole room is great, the painted floor, the flea market bed and the color of the room makes me happy! What a wonderful guest room!

Sharon said...

Wow Ruth I'm in LOVE with this quilt...the fabrics, the colors, the directional triangles emanating from the center...I even like it without the additional top border (I have a thing for asymmetry.) It is beautiful!!!

And how romantic that Don watched and noticed and remembers. Thank you both for that.

SandyQuilts said...

The quilt is lovely. I hope you'll be able to finish it someday.

Gwen Buchanan said...

This is so wonderful!!
Everything seemed simpler 20 years ago... just having the time to lesurely take tea and sew without a worry... Please come back lost days!!!

Ruth I just love this..This is such a happy quilt ... just the way they should be... comforting...

and it is just as precious unfinished...it gathers all the memories... don't even worry bout finishing it.. it already has a story...

Ruth said...

Anon. (do I know you?), what a nice two comments you left. The Turkish women I met and sat with were kind, funny, talented, very very clean, and they enjoyed a little gossip now and then. I was learning Turkish, so those teas were very helpful. Nice to be with just women and ask questions. They would ask me questions too, about everything. And that was good language practice as well.

What a nice idea for Lesley to finish the quilt. She would do a wonderful job. But I would never want this to get ahead of her projects. Maybe when I'm gone she will want to do that.

Oh, the Today Show, have you watched it every day? I wonder what types of things they covered? My friend from Finland is there right now, and I wonder if she finds it very different from when we were there in the '80s.

Ruth said...

Oh Ingrid, I love it when you leave a comment. How are you?? I just love playing with fabric. When I was hunting for this poor quilt, feeling my hands in those tubs and tubs of fabric was very satisfying, even though I was afraid I couldn't find it!

* ^ *

Brandy, thank you so much! Thanks for the visit!

* ^ *

Oh Don, I'm glad you feel that way. At the time it seemed like an obsession, and I think I always worried it was a distraction that you guys felt. So thank you for that sweet thought. You're right too, there are so many pieces cut for more quilts.

* ^ *

Well, Sandy, when I spread the quilt top out on that bed it felt right, so I'll think about that. We spent 3 years in Istanbul when the kids were just little, we had friends who had gone there and loved it, and Don managed to spread his boss's business to include importing copper, carpets and other miscellany from Turkey to the States. It was a blast, but Lesley was riding a mini-bus 90 minutes one way to school across the Bosphorus, so we either had to move across to the European side of the city, or move home. And we moved home.

Thank you again for the attention to Flying, that made my day yesterday!!

Ruth said...

Anet, thank you!! I'm glad you like the design. I sort of made it up as I went along, kept building out from the center. And I'm glad you like the room too. Don tore up the old carpet a couple of years ago and painted the floor. We love it too, it feels so cottage-y.

* ^ *

Sharon, yay! I'm so glad you like it! I was trying to remember if I picked out those fabrics myself, or if my sister got them for me. Either way, designing with fabrics is the best, I never tire of it. That's why I have so many unfinished quilts - I love the design stage the most. Maybe I will leave it unfinished - for a future generation! Yes, that Don is a pretty sweet and wonderful guy.

* ^ *

SandyQuilts, it's an honor to have you visit from your quilt site. That is an incredible story about Father Casey and his farewell event - and that fabulous quilt for him!

* ^ *

Gwen, thank you for that gift, saying I don't have to worry about finishing it. I have that sense too. I don't feel guilt or pressure about it. I'm glad you find it happy, I do too. When I took it out yesterday, I had thoughts like, "Oh, I wish I had chosen timeless colors like true red, white and blue, rather than the mauve and slate blue of the 1980s. That was sort of the tail end of the "country decorating" phase many went through, and it caught me on the periphery for a few years. But now, the quilt top seems a bit dated because of that. BUT, maybe that is an okay documentation too, in a way. However, I think I would be more motivated to finish it if it were colors women would have used 150 years ago.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Ruth, your quilt was a precious moment in time and you captured it...

What could be more special than that!!!

Gwen Buchanan said...

Ruth, I forgot to mention the beauty of the Persian rugs that lie nearby... did they come from that same time?

Ruth said...

Gwen, good eye. Those are Turkish carpets we brought back, yes. When we left Istanbul, we had 13 duffle bags, and some of them had the 22 carpets we brought back, some for ourselves, and some for friends and family who'd ordered them before we left. My favorite is from Konya, the one to the left of the bed. Maybe I'll do a post of the Turkish carpets sometime.

Gwen Buchanan said...

These carpets are made to last... I treasure an Iranian one ... they only get better with age!!

Astrid said...

Quilting is something I first saw when I was in the USA in 1975 with Mennonites in Pa., in the Netherlands is was not known in that time. This is a gorgeous one, made with love....and some pieces of fabric.
I love the colors, the patterns, the diagonals, everything, I think sleeping under it must never be a problem....grin...
It is too bad that you might never be able to finish it....
The bed fitts very well with it, it belongs to eachother and deserves eachother.
Thank you for sharing this unique quilt with us.

Ruth said...

True, Gwen. Carpets are one thing that gets better when stepped on.

* ^ *

Astrid, I am quite proud of this very American art form. And I'm so happy you like this one. How perfectly American: to cut up perfectly good fabric (or better in the old days, to take what was left from sewing projects or old garments) and make new fabric out of it, with all the various pieces. It really does represent something of the American psyche. Oh, you must have seen some splendid Mennonite quilts! They have perfected this art. I adore the solid colors mixed in geometric patterns. Just thrilling!

Ruth said...

Oh, and unlike this quilt, which was created entirely from new fabrics, I have made some with scraps from other projects. Lesley has one with some of her old dresses that I made (and some dresses I didn't make). Those are the greatest treasures, to see a piece of cotton you remember for the garment it was, now as part of something else, keeping someone you love warm!

Bob Johnson said...

Wow, you are talented, I love the colors and design, and your 20 dollar bed,lol, love it . I was going to ask why you guys were in Istanbul, but you answered that in a comment reply, very cool, you've lead an interesting life.

Ginnie said...

This quilt feels like it belongs to me/us (Donica and me) since it's on OUR bed in OUR room almost every time we stay with you. What a gift, Ruth, that holds so many memories for you. You and I are similar in that I would want to do it all by hand, too. I love the tedium of that kind of art form!

Cloudscome said...

A priceless treasure! Really, really beautiful.

Ruth said...

Oh thanks, Bob. Looking back it feels like other lives sometimes. Like, who was that?

^ * ^

Boots, hehe, yes it's your room, and we'll see if it's there on the bed come Farm Day. I remember you doing counted cross stitch, I think? You are good at long term projects because of your amazing discipline.

Ruth said...

Cloudscome, thank you so much!