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Road Trip - with Quilts



"She wants to see your quilts". I hear this whenever my twin sister suggests taking a trip to Oregon to visit the mother of two high school girlfriends.

"OK, let's do a road trip. And, yes, I'll bring some quilts."

On the drive, we reminisced about CM's amazing tole painting talent; that she also made adorable dolls and painted or stitched the cutest faces . . .

Nearing 80 years young, tole painting has been placed on the back burner as a recent stroke leaves her unable to continue with the fine, detail work that came so naturally for decades.

She reminded us that "back then", she sewed all of her own clothes and every piece for her two young daughters. She still has that original sewing machine and a Singer treadle machine that she could only ever "make the stitches go backward". She recently won a Featherweight machine at a raffle, and has two or three digital embroidery machines.

Various needlepoint projects were placed in several work areas throughout her spacious home. Each spot has good lighting and some sort of magnifying glass in close proximity. The pieces are exquisite and of varying themes.

Additional items of inspiration:

- Brazilian Dimensional Embroidery. The beautiful Z-twist thread changes color with its satiny sheen. Flowers are created with cast-on and knotted stitches. Bullion stitches create a dimensional effect.

- Hand-threaded notecards with spirograph-like patterns of variegated thread.

- Needle Tatting. Here is a link to the instruction book that CM used to teach herself this time-honored artform.

- Fleece hats (with brims) and matching capes - with digital embroidery work.

- Quilted seasonal placemats to remind her of the current month. She shared that she uses a walking foot for many of her projects - something that I will now use more often.

- Fabric doll projects, with attention to the tiniest detail.

- Fabric painting projects with personalized designs from special photographs.

- Reminders to sign and date every project you complete - including your birth-year and date completed. Pillows and placemats are signed on the back, or around the outer border. Dolls and stuffed animals are signed on their back-side (yes, right where they sit).

- Preserve displayed fabric stash by covering with a favorite embroidered pillow case. Direct light from windows and skylights does not dis-color the fabric and the embroidery makes a lovely display. White shelving held stacks of fabric, draped in white. Lower shelving held books, magazines and newsletters. Eye-level shelving held knick-knacks, mementos, collections and special keepsakes.

When it came time for me to share my quilts, CM was genuinely interested in where I received inspiration. She appreciated that I changed a theme of a quilt in a class. While others worked on 'mended hearts', I worked on 'mended leaves' - making the quilt personally unique and not cookie-cutter. She was thrilled to learn that my quilts are not stored on a shelf, but that we do use them. Again, she encouraged a label and signature on every completed treasure.

CM enjoyed our visit very much and was in awe that her daughter's friends would come up and visit her, their mother. We enjoyed spending time with her and the late-night talks about life's lessons. I was in awe as CM inspired us to keep the FUN in our crafting and in life, continue to create and never stop learning new things.


Sadly, in March of 2019, CM passed away.

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