She Knew The Names of Flowers

I’ve finished the Granny quilt.  It is in the washing machine as I type.

I’m really pleased with it.  I had intended to shadow quilt across the diagonals but, as I’ve mentioned before, the strips of memory fabric were uneven widths, and so the diagonals didn’t quite line up well enough.  So in the end, I’ve shadow quilted down the columns of lemony sashing.

I worked in phrases which have occurred to me, as I was putting it all together.  I worked them in yellow thread, which shows clearly on some rectangles, and less clearly on others.  My clever friend Faye (@poppypurple) suggested it was rather like I was whispering secrets to Granny, and I like that idea very much.

The quilt is formally called “She knew the names of flowers” which always used to impress me as a small child – she could be relied on to identify a lady’s slipper from a cow parslip at the drop of a hat, which always seemed to me to be a bit akin to witchcraft (well, maybe not those two specifically, but you know…)  Some of the memories are quite general – like watching Val Doonican together (the deal was if I watched Val Doonican with her, then she would let me watch The Professionals *and* the Dukes of Hazzard!).  Some are very specific, like watching her brush her hair (it was long, very long, and blonde) and plait it ready for bed.

There are her addresses, artefacts I remember from her houses (an elephant’s foot stool, some beaded tribal stools, a tiger skin rug).  There are things we used to do: going to church on Saturday to arrange the flowers for Sunday’s services (which we never went to) and then going to the sweet shop on the way home.  Some things we did together  – knitting, crochet, walking her dog, Honey, in a field littered with bomb holes near my mother’s childhood house.  And in the border, at the foot, her name and dates.

The back is made from the lemony sashing fabric, and the green Lotte Jansdottir pictured above. The batting is a really soft bamboo – I’ve not worked with bamboo before and it worked incredibly easily both by hand and in the machine.  I marked up the locations for the memories by scattering safety pins across the surface of the quilt, and pinning them where they lay.  Each pin got a memory.

The memories were free machine stitched.  I had to take the presser foot off the machine in order to be able to watch what I was doing which did, inevitably, result in a stitch through my finger.  Inevitably.  They’re useful things, those presser feet… Unless you need to see what you’re doing!

The children have watched the quilt grow with interest.  Every so often they come and pick over it, and find a phrase, and ask me.  Some of the questions are quite funny: “Mummy, who’s David Soul?”  Funny what they don’t know… (She liked David Soul, but not David Essex!)  Freya’s favourite is the “little yellow mini”.  Josh’s is “Evelyn Nightingale and Tutenkhamen”.

The binding is a blue fabric with white dragonflies scattered across it.  It seemed appropriate.  I’ll take some photos when it comes out of the dryer.  But tonight, I’m going to take my granny quilt to bed.  It’s going to be lovely and snuggly warm!

About Vicki

2 thoughts on “She Knew The Names of Flowers

  1. I'm so sorry to hear about your Nan, Caroline. I hope sorting out her things isn't too difficult for you and your Mum, and that you find some treasures to work into your memory quilt. I'll look forward to seeing pictures!


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