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.