Sunday, October 11, 2009

Blogger Quilt Festival : Circle Circle Dot Dot

My entry to the Blogger Quilt Festival would have to be the Circle Circle Dot Dot quilt that I finished up last time I was home in CA in June. You can get the full story here. This remains my most commented-upon quilt to date [not that I've made very many!], but I do love the way this is a melding of my vision and my mother's creativity.


[Modelled by Rita.] As I mention in the other post, almost all my quilts are a collaboration between my mother and me: I piece the top, we both get on our hands and knees and baste the layers together [usually while my dad watches his Chinese soaps], and then she slowly does the handquilting through the fall and winter evenings.


But rather than rehash all of that again, let me take a couple moments to talk about my mom. My mom is one of my favorite people in the whole wide world. I love when she indulges me by accompanying me [or even suggesting] a trip to the fabric store. That's usually a solitary activity for me, but there's something so confiding and intimate about picking out fabrics together - her tastes, my tastes, bouncing off each other and suggesting new projects and collaborations. Which is a far cry from the origins of quilting as using [or reusing] scraps, and a far cry from the quilt that started this all.

Fresno, CA, the mid 60's. My grandparent's house was the only Asian immigrant household on the block. I can see the wide paved roads, tall trees ringing the perimeter, a mint chip green house on the corner with flowers in the front. Summers so hot that children used to dare each other to run along the asphalt barefooted, just for something to do to break the monotony. For whatever reason, during one of these long stretches of heat and humidity, my mom decided she wanted to make a quilt.

She assembled scraps from dressmaking projects [she and her sister used to make their clothes! I think that's why she looks somewhat askance at me now, when I have returned to her roots to make my clothes, because she knows the time, effort, and potential for disappointment that can result], and slowly as the weeks progressed, the stack of scraps became a stack of squares that she spread out on the living room floor, and methodically stitched together. And when she was done, she decided she had enough of that experiment and moved on with her life, leaving The Original Quilt with her parents in the central valley.

Little did she know that this summer would inspire her sister and sister-in-law to take up quilting themselves. Or that she would one day inherit a small stack of quilts from her sister when my aunt Sylvia moved to Vegas and couldn't bring everything with her, or that the many weekends I spent at my aunt's house as a child would foster my own love for quilting, textiles, and the making that results from fabric, needle, and thread. So my mother, it turns out, is the reluctant visionary in all of this, and now many decades later I have slowly pulled her back towards that original seed of an idea she conceived of in her youth in Fresno, but this time as a partnership, a way for us to work together on a creative project, to create something that brings love, warmth and happiness to our household, no matter how far flung its members become.

26 comments:

Heather said...

Your circles and dots are stunning. I love the hand quilting and all your colors on that neutral background. Your memories are sweet. . . my experience as a mid-western kid who grew up on a farm is different, but memories of fabric bits are the same.

Zonnah said...

I really do LOVE this quilt and am galad you picked it :)

paulette said...

HI Jessica!
Your circles quilting is absolutely gorgeous and I love the story that went with it. You must tell your mother how much I loved her stitching! I belong to a hand quilting group and if she ever wants to join us we would be honoured! Happy Thanksgiving from Vancouver Island, BC. Canada.
Take care!
Paulette

Me aka Supermom said...

Lovely quilt and nice story. I still love fabric shopping with my mom too.

thanks for sharing,
Margaret
www.quiltsoflove.blogspot.com

Vicki said...

The hand quilting is amazing. It is a very pretty quilt and I enjoyed reading about your mother.

Carol said...

Your mom does beautiful quilting. What a wonderful project to be able to do together.

Kaye Prince said...

This is such a gorgeous quilt and I love the circular quilting! I also love your story, and it's really great to read about the obvious love you have for your Mother.

Lorna said...

I LOVE that quilt! I so enjoyed the story behind it. I think the quilt reflects the story...the circles are like ripples in a pond when you throw a stone in, you do not know how far the ripples will go. Who knows what lives will be changed by our actions. You and your mother make a wonderful team.

Malea M and J Designs said...

One of the most beautiful posts EVER. Inspiring, moving, just all around lovely.

The quilt is amazing and the fact that it is a collaboration with your mom makes it so touching.

My relationship with my own mother is nothing like yours with your mom. But, you did make me think of my grandmother who taught me about cooking and my grandfather who inspired my love of fresh vegetables straight from the garden.

So, thank you!

Joyzelle said...

Thanks for sharing your touching story and beautiful quilt.

Nina-Marie said...

I'm not sure what's better the quilt or the story!! I love - love - love the circles! The quilting is fabulous - great job!

Rebekah said...

These circles are stunning! What a pretty quilt.

Loved the story that goes along with the quilt

Julie Bagamary said...

Very nice. The circles are great!

Allie said...

Beautiful quilt. I love getting the stories behind the quilts. Thanks for sharing!

Melanie said...

This quilt is a stunner! I just love circles. But the beautiful quilting from your mom makes the quilt. This encourages me to hand quilt more of my projects.

What a wonderful legacy of your family roots.

Kaye Prince said...

Hi Jessica! I just had to come back and say thank you for leaving such a lovely comment on my blog! I really appreciate it!

Doris said...

I love this story...I love this quilt, and I am so grateful to this Quilt Festival of Amy's for bringing me to sites I might not otherwise have ever found.

Your mother's quilting is TO DIE FOR. I am adding your blog to my Google Reader right now!

Deborah said...

very creative. lovely quilt

the momma said...

love the story & love the quilt!! the quilting is impeccable!

thanks for sharing

Katie B. said...

Hi, Jessica! I love your quilt and your story. You and your mom did an amazing job! The hand-stitching is just incredible.

ParisMaddy said...

Your collaborative circles quilt is simply stunning. It's such a refreshing change to read about people that actually LIKE their parents. A very touching post.

Ruth Anne Olson said...

I love this quilt and the circles. All the different sizes of both fabric and quilting--it is very well balanced.

I also love your story about your mom. How nice that your mom is one of your favorite people. I am surmising that you are also a writer in addition to being a talented quilter, and apparently knitter.

I'll check in on your blog from time to time.

Cheryl Arkison said...

I love it! (But truth be told, I have a serious circle obsession.) Thank-you for sharing the quilt and the personal story.

Dandelion Daydreams said...

wow! gorgeous quilt! nice work ;)

Ylime said...

Hi,

I just wanted to say how great your quilt is and let you know I've posted it as one of my favorites from the Park City Girl Quilt Festival. http://emilyflippinmaruna.wordpress.com/2009/11/06/park-city-girl-quilt-roundup-pt-2/

Thanks,
Emily
The Handmade Experiment
http://emilyflippinmaruna.wordpress.com

Carolyn said...

I love your quilt and your post. Good work! I'm intimidated by anything circular. :)