Monday, November 11, 2013

Poppy Fields of Snow

I haven't forgotten about the large floral print.

It's been on my mind. So has a friend of mine. For most of her adult life, she has been one of those statistics linking mental illness to homelessness. Round and round she has gone, from apartment, to car, to shelter to car, working part-time jobs that don't let her stay too long at any one place. Apart from all that, she is creative soul, a loving mother and a grandmother. Feminine, dark and strong (are you catching my drift yet?).

I saw her two weeks ago when she was in town to see her youngest "babies" (11-y-o twins), and she was acting different, "crazy" for lack of a more respectful word. Last year was very hard on her, with a freak car accident, imprisonment, and release to homelessness, this time without a car. Recently things seemed more hopeful, as she'd found a subsidized apartment, but she appeared more bewildered and agitated than I'd ever seen her.

Still, at that visit two weeks ago, my friend showed such genuine appreciation of my foster girl B.'s bodacious character, and she made such a sweet effort to invite B. up to the apartment where the twins live with their father, suggesting that we five "girls" get together for an outing over the holidays. A visit to the Des Moines Art Center was mentioned! How fun.

On that visit, may it come to pass, I would love to bring her a quilt made of that dark, strong, feminine fabric I've been struggling with.

With large, busy prints, I seem to like the contrast of "Irish chains". (Remember my recent quilt from an earlier post). Yesterday, I came across this quilt, entitled (appropriately enough for today!), "Poppy Fields":

I am imagining the dark floral print in place of the white blocks, however, and solids or near-solids as the chains, with gray as the allover background color that tones down the jumpy floral. Here is my "first draft":

I think I need horizontal chains, as well as the vertical ones. The medium-tone purple will have to go; it competes too much with the gray. The chains will have to read either = white (vertical) or = black (horizontal). I have some forest greens that will look good with the light pink. Those are my friend's colors: black, pink, gray, forest green, and too much vivid, amazing Technicolor life for her mind to handle...

Meanwhile, our first snow today has me thinking other holiday thoughts. I have a bin of reds and greens set aside for a Christmas quilt. So far, I've found two patterns that interest me. This, one, called River Trees, by Jan Magee:

And this one, from a book of antique quilts (I believe the greens have faded):

How about you? Do you have any Christmas quilts you are itching to make?


  1. You know, Greta, I did that for several years and I'd like to make another one, I've got three Christmas quilts. I've been thinking of another one, but no plans yet. It seems you're moving ahead with another. My vote would be for the 2nd photo the trees on white background.
    Yes, I have friends like this and I try to help as much as I can, but effort must come from my friends too. It helps to remind of goodwill and then I want to give even more. Nice story, thanks for sharing.

    1. We quilt makers have the opportunity to provide a "ministry of quilts". I like it best when I know the person I've given to well enough to use "their colors" or catch their style somehow. Sometimes as in this case, that is the reason to make the quilt. Their aesthetic inspires us, or their essence inspires an aesthetic response. We all sometimes need reminders that our friends love us and see the beauty in us.

      I've never made a Christmas quilt. It's a new thing for me!

  2. I love this dark floral print and I think your friend will love it too. The purple doesn’t look bad but I think the forest green will look better. I’m excited to see the finished product! I've never done an Irish Chain but I will someday as well as Drunkard’s Path. The only Christmas quilts I've made are the Christmas Tree Skirts but I really like River Trees!

    1. The fabric is really so gorgeous that is what is making me so anxious about its use. I would hate to waste it on a quilt that turns out not-gorgeous.

  3. Interview/Exchange Links Request

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  4. YAY! Congrats Greta on the Interview/Exchange links request. See how interesting you are! You go girl! =)

  5. you are so sweet, Zenia. It's YOUR help that got her to look!