A few of the parts I didn't document that can be seen here include a patch of the seal of the Cherokee Nation (far top far right), Girl Scout patches, a crewel embroidered mini artwork, and a name patch saying Stu (far top far left)I found at a thrift store the last day before I put the binding on. I had not included anything relating to our brother Dustin (who was killed in a car accident in 2005) and was not intending to do such, but when we found it Mom and I agreed it must be added.
It's done! At least, for now it is. I put the binding on early afternoon the first of the calendar year. Whenever I visit my sister I will probably add little bits and bobs of embroidery and buttons and such. It's just the nature of something like this to continue to grow and have more and more story added to it.
I really did not do a good job at all documenting many aspects of this quilt that make it so special. There are dozens of applied items and mini creations added that I just did not take photos of. From keys and buttons to a small crewel embroidered artwork made by Mom, they all relate to various aspects of my relationship with my sister and our family and our lives growing up so far.
I left the quilt at our parents' home in Michigan for my sister to pick up after the holidays as I did not have it completed until after she and husband had to go back home. I explained to her how to wash and dry it so the colors would stay brighter longer and the various applied items would not be damaged. I adamantly explained that the quilt was to be used and not just looked at even though caring for it may seem intimidating. I told her that there can be no stain removers used on it because of the extensive use of hand dyed and naturally dyed cloth. This prompted a response similar to "Well, what do I do if something gets spilled on it?" I told her to wash it carefully but any stains would have to just be additions to the storyline. I'm not sure either she or Mom understood what I meant then, but I know she will over time.
Creating and documenting the creation of this quilt has been a terrific and emotional experience for me and I hope you have enjoyed the posts through the process. I have a few ideas of what I want to take on for my next big project, but I'll go over those in another post. I learned so much over the last year making this quilt. Stamping, dying, distressing, bleaching, stitching, machine embroidery, using various feet on my sewing machine, what makes different types of fabrics what they are and how to use them, even a little about family history and its impact on our lives. Below are several photos taken the last couple of days of working on the quilt and I have included descriptions below each.
Family members help with the folding and layering required to center all parts of the quilt together and pin them in place. Several undocumented additions can be seen here.
Ribbon from my bridesmaid bouquet from the wedding ceremony December 2008; secured with antique button from maternal great-grandmother's collection. Also shown are a bleach sprayed folding pocket knife patch and crocheted red wool flower secured in place with another antique button. The flower will felt over time as the quilt is used and loved.
Crayon tinted, cotton parrot print, appliqued. We always had pets growing up and a lot of them were birds. We even fostered several large parrots, including a young scarlet macaw named Captain, so they could be socialized and rehabilitated after rescue.
The striped piece was stamped on the back side of the cloth and then over-dyed with turmeric. Appliqued Girl Scout First Aider patch can be seen at extreme top. Girl Scouts were a big part of our childhood.
These appliqued flowers were cut from an old handpainted tablecloth (painted by my maternal grandmother) and freemotion machine stitched in place. The edges of the applique are unfinished so they can fray and soften as they age.
Heat set crayon illustrated bird with embroidered outline and exclamations. I thought the bird really wanted to be saying something, but words didn't seem fitting. The woven and embroidered items seemed more appropriate; things we say do not always have to be in words.
Family helping hold up the quilt so all parts can be seen. Click through to the larger image of this one and you can see the upholstery fabric used for the bias binding. I forgot to take a photo of the binding by itself before I left everything in Michigan. Again, the edges are left unsecured and unfinished so they can fray and soften.