18 April, 2010

Baba and Dido's Garden


It was a whirlwind quilting weekend, a retreat of sorts at my house. My sister and sister-in-law came down to work on a quilt for my Dad. After what seemed like 48 straight hours of quilting, interrupted only by babies needing Mama and not Daddy/Uncle, we finished this quilt top.

Inspired entirely by the garden/yard at my Baba and Dido's house in Hafford, Saskatchewan, this quilt is a tribute to that memorable part of our lives spent there. Even if we hated it as kids it is such a strong part of our identity. It seemed only fitting to make sure our Dad knew that since this was also his place.

My sister came to the table not having sewn in decades, but my sister-in-law is also a quilter (my evil influence). When we started talking about what design direction we wanted to go in it was a very short discussion. Independently of each other we came up with the exact same concept. So we quickly started pulling fabric, books, and sketching.

Before long we were sewing and my house was taken over by strips and scraps, rulers, machines, coffee, cheese, and loads of cookies. There was only one moment where we had to stop sewing, my sister and I sharing tears of laughter over a silly childhood story. We were three tired Mamas getting a break to sew - when all we really wanted to do was sleep. It is the natural instinct when someone else is watching the kids.
The entire project took every corner of my small house. My stash was spread around the living room for easy access. We used both The Monster's and our bed for layout, in addition to the living room floor when all babies where sleeping. My dining room became a literal sweatshop. In the midst of all these we had three kids - mine and my nephew.  Hubby was AWESOME, taking them all to the park and zoo to keep them out of our hair. It didn't stop the girls from sitting on our laps to help us sew and snip threads. Nor did it stop my nephew from being so damn cute.

Probably the most important part of this quilt is the garden. My Baba had an enormous garden. Seriously, a home garden to make anyone jealous. It was meticulously tended by hand. Every day in the summer you would see her stooped over weeding, watering, and picking. When we came to visit we had the watering duties, and when she wasn't looking we snuck strawberries. Then, every fall, the family loaded up to help with harvest. This entailed two vehicles so we could bring home the bounty.  And every year my mom would exclaim, "What am I going to do with a dozen heads of cabbage?!

We briefly debated paper piecing the garden, a la Ruth McDowell. But of the three of us I am the only one who knows how to paper piece. So Tash recommended we improvise things - she did learn from me after all! So we grabbed fabric and scissors and started sewing our garden.

The only thing we had to go on was our memories and the start of the house. You see, I've had this idea in my head for at least 5 years now, if not longer. I started one day then never got anywhere. I guess it just took the right motivation, many hands, and loads of work. The quilt is gone to Edmonton for backing and basting. I will get it back for quilting in a week or two. Can't wait!
(PS Mom, if you read this, DON'T TELL DAD!)

22 comments:

Lee said...

best part of this quilt is that you got to work on it together. Its fabulous

beth said...

This quilt is amazing!! I love it! You have memories of the garden and now memories of making the quilt!

Andrea said...

oh my gosh this is amazing!!! Can you please give us a tutorial or a blurb about how you did that garden? It's so fantastic Cheryl! I love it!
My favourite part of it is the flowers/berries spilling over into the side borders...love that! What an amazing event to document...and full of so many memories. Your dad will be overcome with emotion!

elle said...

WHOA! Super job from a terrific team! This is so innovative. Luv it!

Lesly said...

That is simply magnasplendent! What a fantastic heirloom you have created together, not to mention the memories. Everyone should have such an opportunity to experience "the true meaning of quiltmas"!

BaileyGirl5 said...

What an amazing gift! Not only a great gift for your Dad but what great memories you'll have of this weekend with your sisters. I'm totally blown away by this quilt. What a collaboration!

Jessy said...

This is absolutely gorgeous! I am so inspired by the beautiful scene and it makes me want to make one based on my mother`s garden.
Fantastic!!

sulu-design said...

Wow, wow, wow. This is stunning. So many parts of the process make it so special, and the outcome is really impressive.

Kris said...

I love love the quilt! The process looks like it was amazing. What a special way to spend time with you family. I hope your dad loves it!

corinnea said...

Oh my word! That is one of the most beautiful tributes I have ever seen! How special for your dad and for you too, that all of you worked on it together.

Purple Quilter Queen said...

That is an awesome quilt! Is it for his birthday? or Father's day? Any ole regular day is a great reason to make this for him. What a wonderful job you 3 did! Please post pictures when he receives it too!Jenn

amandajean said...

what a fantastic quilt! and what a lovely group effort. it's wonderful. i love the bits of random colored checkerboard blocks on either side amid all the wonkiness. perfect.

KatieQ said...

Thank you for sharing the pictures and story of your wonderful quilt. It brought tears to my eyes as I remembered my Babcia and Dziadek's garden. They died when I was 12, but looking at your quilt made me remember their garden filled with: tomatoes, peppers, beans, herbs, flowers, and especially the dahlias with blooms the size of dinner plates. They grew up on farms in Poland and shared their love of the earth with all of their 7 seven children and their grandchildren.

How wonderful to be able to share the creative process for this quilt with your sister and sister-in-law. I'm sure your father will appreciate the beauty of this soon to be treasured heirloom and the loving sentiment behind it.

natalie. beyond the reef said...

Absolutely incredible.
More pics...want more pics...

debbi d-w said...

stunning, stunning, stunning! Sure to bring all the joy you had creating it doubled!

syko kajsa said...

AMAZING! Note only the quilt, but the fact that you and your sisters + families managed to go though with this project! Wonderful gift!! Way to go!

Heather said...

That is absolutely amazing!!

Anonymous said...

First of all, pray for your dad. Wonderful quilt top you all made for your dad. That quilt is treasured for all of you.
That photo is amazing!

brown robin said...

I got teary looking at this one. It's amazing, beautiful, just perfect. What a gift to create that together.

Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

Cheryl, your sisters and you have an incredible synergy. The design and execution created a gorgeous piece-a family heirloom for generations.

Samantha said...

not only is that freaking stunning...what a great family heirloom...and experience as well.

jess said...

This is just incredible, and so are you guys... wow!