Tuesday, 25 February 2014

My Aunt, One Of A Kind

This Blog Post is rather Self Indulgent. My aunt, my father's oldest much lived sister died yesterday and her memorial service is tomorrow. I had previously made her both a quilt and a cushion and so am re publishing these two blog posts in her memory. If I live to 94 and have as interesting life as her, I will be doing ok.

Mosaic Quilt A Long, Better Late Than Never
Tuesday 24 February 2014

I finished the quilt for my 92 year old aunt and delivered it last Wednesday. It pays to be thick skinned in this business - she had forgotten asking me to make a quilt. I am fine with that. She did ask me at the time, and you are entitled to get a little forgetful when you get to 92 years of age. At the time I had made her a cushion, and with perfect frankness she had said the cushion was very nice, but she would have preferred a blanket to keep her knees warm, and if I had any more fabric it wouldn't take much effort to make her one! Well, that was back in December on her birthday to be fair, and it did take me a little while to do it.

I had bought the Lindsay Conner "Modern Bee" book and thought I would link up and make the mosaic tiles quilt. Mine was a bit contradictory, my fabric was ancient, some Debbie Mumm lily fabric I had been saving for something or someone special way back in the early 1990s. Well, I reckoned my Aunt Eileen was the someone special, and she wouldn't mind if it was a little old fashioned, in fact, she would approve of using up old stuff you already have. My Auntie Eileen is really quite eccentric or interesting depending on your point of view. She throws nothing out and no matter what you were looking for, or not looking for, she always had something for you. When my twins were small she used to pick up all sort of bargains for them, and as babies she said the boys wouldn't mind the pink velour joggers she had bought them. She is the sort of aunt who always had a feather or some shells in her house for a little boy.

Anyhow, the quilt was a little square of pattern bound by dark green kona, a kind of remake of that old puss in the corner square. The back was just an amalgamation of the left over fabric, plus a strip of the oak leaf fabric I bought in Hyannis, New England many, many years ago. I also used this to bind it.


Eileen was pleased with the quilt even though she had forgotten. She hates being the centre of the attention, and she was loath to take it out of the gift bag to let me show my other aunts. (my dad is part of a big family and his brothers and sisters all meet up once a month for afternoon tea and a catch up. I go along when I can, I kind of got drawn in but I must admit I really enjoy it.)
By the time we were leaving there was a book of old Belfast, a box of left over sandwiches, heavy on the mayonnaise, and a box of cream pastries squished in the gift bag!! I dread to think!
She did remember though that her youngest son had introduced Alan and myself. She told me I must have got a good one if he had come on her son's recommendation! Funny how the memory works, but a great lady.

Over the weekend we were in London and met up with old friends from Sussex. Whilst the menfolk went to the temple to watch Chelsea play Everton, and well one of them ended up happy, I went to check out the haberdashery in Peter Jones at Sloane Square. The wool is lovely but as it is all high end stuff, Debbie Bliss, Rowan etc but too dear to buy for "something non specific". I am not falling into that trap again, wool will only be bought for projects! Disappointingly there was very little on the fabric front, lovely ribbons but again I hoard ribbon and have boxes and boxes of the stuff, all waiting for the special project. I did buy a little pack of red fat quarters. I am generally late in joining the party, just my way I suppose. But ... The Modern Quilt Guild of Ireland is making a quilt along medallion quilt. They are at about week 3 and I thought I may play catch up, to coin a phrase used on long ago tv quiz show called "going for gold" my sons loved. I quite fancy a red medallion quilt.

I also went for a little dander to Sheukat on the Old Brompton Road. I have passed this shop so many times, but thought it was all about dress fabric. It is really, but has a huge selection of Liberty fabrics, and joy of joy, they sell offcuts for £2 a small one or £5 a big one. Alan had wandered up with me and very kindly paid for my little parcel. Not too bad, only £16, I think he was quite surprised he got off so lightly, and I had bought every small off cut I liked. The only thing I would say is the shop is quite unfriendly, much more friendly when I internet shopped with them!

Oh yes, one more thing to show. Again, late to the party I joined the Irish Modern Quilt Guild sewing bee. I had been watching/stalking from afar and when one of their bees had to drop out it opened up an opportunity. I have never done anything like this before, and am really nervous. My philosophy in life is to take hold of opportunities when they arise and to try new things. So, here we go.....
February is Cindy of Fluffy Sheep Quilting's month. She had chosen spools of thread as her chosen theme. I really enjoyed sewing them and hopefully Cindy will like them too.

Just one more thing, I made a new friend on Sunday afternoon, and she gave me a lovely gift. A ball of Aran weight natural coloured wool - Crazy Bear Farm Pure Ryeland Wool from funnily enough, Crazy Bear Farm in Oxfordshire. She bought it in the Oxford Yarn Store for me and I am dead chuffed.


  1. You have been busy! I'm glad your auntie liked her lovely (surprise) quilt:-) Great haul from Shaukat - what are you going to make?!

  2. love Aunt Eileen's quilt...it is always nice to make things for other people. Most envious of your trip to London....I must remember Sheukat next time I'm lucky enough to go. The aran yarn looks extremely yummy!

  3. Your aunt sounds quite a character!! :)
    I have to say I admire your restraint re the yarn shopping, don't think I would have been as good.
    V x

  4. I had a similar thing to the story of your Aunt and quilt but you are a much nicer person than me as I didn't follow through. My nana who is 103 muttered something about a crochet blanket, not necessarily asking for one but I thought I wonder if I can make her a lap blanket for last christmas. Anyway my life became chaotic and my dad (her son) said she won't remember, she hardly knows who I am any more and she is always losing things in the care home or other people pick her things up. So less than perfect grand daughter here didn't get round to the blanket and settled for choccies and a handmade card which usually goes down well.
    Oh I say, I love the bargain Liberty pieces you picked up on your trip. :)

  5. Your blocks for the modern quilting bee are gorgeous and I love your aunt's quilt. The scraps of liberty are a treasure, I bet you don't use them for ages. Looking at them is half the pleasure. X

  6. Your aunt's quilt is gorgeous Helenjean and I love Liberty fabrics!
    Your new yarn looks gorgeous too...
    Hope you have a great new week,
    Susan x

  7. I loved reading your post - welcome to the Modern Irish Bee! Your Aunt sounds lovely and your Bee blocks look great. I'm looking forward to seeing Cindy's finished quilt. It'll be a buzz seeing all of our blocks together!


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