Thursday, December 4, 2014

Christine's Flower Garden

Every man desires to live long, but no man wishes to be old.
–Jonathan Swift


When last we left off, we were pretending it was early September. I was hurriedly trying to get a signature quilt finished for a lovely lady I know who was turning 100. This is her graduation {photo of a} photo in 1932. Isn't she beautiful? Nevermind you can see my reflection in the glass and I was too chicken/lazy to call her family and ask for a digital copy, which I know they had. Just ignore the extra head growing out of her right frontal lobe and the extra shoulder over her right ear.


Back to our story. As the deadline for the party drew near {which I might add was 11 days before her birthday. #talkaboutstressful}, I started to collect signatures for this fantastic quilt that I'd dreamt up using 1930's reproduction fabrics to make 100 signature blocks for the lady who had just been coming into her own in the 30's and was now turning 100. That was really, really fun! Families from the neighborhood and many of her long-time friends stopped by to sign a block. It was so interesting to hear what they had to say and how they felt about Christine. It turns out that she is pretty much as amazing as I had suspected.

~time elapse~

Ta, da! Signed and assembled blocks with sashings ready to go. I used Sharpies because they are relatively inexpensive and have infamous non-solubility. Yes, I know they're not archival, but they come in such lovely colors and I'm hoping that the acid will all wash away when/if the quilt gets washed some day.

~time elapse~

All told, there are 338 signatures on this quilt

Christine is just as beautiful as ever, wouldn't you agree? She cried a little bit when I gave the quilt to her at the party. And, actually you can see it wasn't quite finished. Note the binding clips on two of the four sides. I told you they moved the party up 11 days, didn't I? So many people were invested in this quilt that I decided that taking it unfinished to display was the only option. I came back after the party, brought it home to finish the binding and took it to her the next day. We had a nice time looking over all the blocks together.

As I was working on this, I kept praying that I'd be able to get it done in time for her birthday. I wasn't sure if I would be able to pull it off. There were so many people involved that I didn't want to let them, myself, or Christine down {not that she was aware of the quilt, but I feel like it is kind of a let-down to give someone a gift after their birthday}. There is a fellow quilter in my ward {congregation} who has a long-arm and when she came to sign a block, she offered to do the quilting as her gift to Christine. Who am I to turn away the answer to a prayer when it knocks at my front door? It was a no-brainer to take her up on her offer.

I mentioned that it was fun to collect signatures, right? The top right square in the picture above went all the way to Pittsburgh and back to be signed by a family who used to live in our neighborhood. The block under that, in the bottom left corner, is signed by a little Japanese woman who has been friends with Christine for years. That, I think, is my favorite block of all.

The block below in the bottom left corner is a close second. The couple who came to sign this block dropped by at about 9:00 pm, and embarrassingly enough, I still hadn't cleaned the table from dinner. They were very gracious while I cleared away some dishes, wiped the table and pulled out fabric samples so they could pick which they liked best. The wife narrowed it down to three different blocks and then told her husband to choose. He started to choose something that was not in the options she offered. She got him back on track and then she asked him to sign for them because he had better writing. Their kind negotiations and the familiarity of their back-and-forth was very telling of a long marriage of cooperation, mutual respect and love, and friendship. Anyway, I think their birthday wish was rather creative.

Gratuitous artsy smartsy quilt shot. That trumpet vine makes the perfect backdrop for quilts. I wish it were in bloom all year round.

Christine still lives in the house her husband built for their family in the 60's. Her family checks in on her several times throughout the day. When the weather is good, she walks around the block. She was even still driving until just three years ago, when her eyesight became too poor. She still goes out in the early mornings, before the sun comes out {she's very careful to avoid exposure of her skin to the sun} to weed her roses. I thought it fitting to call this quilt Christine's Flower Garden. The finish was really down to the wire and I didn't have time to sew the label into the back like I usually do, so I put it in the corner. I kind of love how it turned out.

More about this quilt:
Working on a plan
Moving forward with a plan
The first half of the blocks
The second half of the blocks

5 comments:

P. said...

Oh, Elizabeth, that is just beautiful! What a wonderful thing you did for Christine in celebration of her 100th. 338 signatures, that's fantastic! It really came together well and you and all involved are undoubtedly delighted.

quiltfool said...

Wonderful! You're such an inspriration. I'm glad I know you. Lane

Christine M said...

What a beautiful quilt. I'm sure Christine will get so much pleasure from it.

carolegoldquilts said...

That turned out so beautifully, and the stories that go with it are priceless. Well done. :-)
Your friend, at 100, still looks youthful and vibrant - amazing!

Mara said...

This is really beautiful and a great story, how are you doing?