Friday, December 5, 2014

Thanks to Vesta

According to Wikipedia, "Cross-stitch is the oldest form of embroidery," and from the little I read around the web about it, that could very well be true. It was certainly the very first stitching I ever did, thanks to this woman.
That is my maternal grandma, Vesta. It's her I thank for initiating my love of sewing, back when she moved into our family home when I was a preteen, and brought along her black Singer machine. But it was Grandma who also took me shopping years prior while I was visiting on vacation, and bought me my first stamped cross-stitch fabric, and let me choose purple variegated floss. She taught me how to cross-stitch, and I created a "dresser cloth" as we called them back then, and it graced my bedroom dresser for many years after.

I can't say that I had that embroidery on my mind when I first saw Pile O'Fabric's Cross Stitch Quilt Block tutorial earlier this year. But cross-stitch obviously had a soft spot in my heart, so I started making some blocks, thinking it would be a good way to use up a bunch of my scraps. I made my blocks larger than the tutorial, using Kona Ash 5" charm squares as my block backgrounds, cutting my scrap strips 1 1/2"x7". 
 
After I had created a few stacks of blocks, my childhood stitchery came to mind, and from then on I had the beginnings of a quilt plan.
With the size of my blocks, turns out I really couldn't recreate much of my original cross-stitch design, but I made enough to make me very happy.
I was very random with arranging block colors, but hopefully you can tell that I made the circular "flower" in the stitchery above. For backing, thankfully I had nothing large enough in my stash to make a single-fabric backing, and that forced me to get creative. After making just a few super-sized (15") cross-stitch blocks, I happened to attend a lecture by Victoria Findlay Wolfe of 15-Minutes of Play fame. Fresh from that, I was inspired to start sewing through my scrap bin, making 8" improv blocks, just sewing and sewing until it seemed like "enough." Quilting is a diagonal wavy-stitch cross-hatch, which I questioned for a while, but after the wash-and-dry crinkle test, actually is quite perfect.
I was brave, and used the scrappy binding I'd made of strips from at least 8 other quilts. Crazy but fun.
The quilt measures 60" square, and no, the scrap bin is not empty, but I feel pretty pleased with using as many as I did for this two-sided quilt. And if my grandma was still around, I'm thinking she'd be pleased too.

This project was on my 2014 Q4 FAL list!
Linking up with Fabric Tuesday and Scraptastic Tuesday.

36 comments:

  1. Debbie, this is such a wonderful tribute to your grandmother!!! I definitely DO see the echo of the round flower from your dresser cloth you made under her watchful care. The quilt takes that tradition and brings it to today, it's absolutely beautiful.

    and your photographs are stunning too! that first one should be on the cover of a magazine or a book! what a setting to show off your beautiful quilt to perfection. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. Aww, at first I thought you were going to talk about the Greek goddess Vesta in some way, but it turned out so much better, a Grandmother goddess. Your writing, and quilt, are a lovely tribute to her. I really enjoy both sides of the quilt you made and I smiled because I thought I might recognize that fountain. Even if it wasn't the one in downtown Seattle that I thought of, it still gave me a chuckle to think I might see you someday hauling a heavy quilt around trying to get the best shot. Of course, you probably have a helper, anyway I hope so. Well, I'm from Snohomish and if I do see you out and about I'll give you a holler and be a fangirl :) congratulations on finishing such a wonderful quilt! Magistra13 at yahoo dot com
    Beth

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  3. What a lovely quilt and a fabulous picture of the quilt! Thanks for sharing your story of Vesta and your cross stitch inspiration.

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  4. Your grandma lived up to her name! Vesta is the Roman goddess of the hearth and home. (Hestia is the Greek goddess of the same.) What a perfect homage to the woman who showed you the way!

    My grandma was a seamstress, and I spent hours "ironing" her scraps with a scottie dog bookend my grandfather brought back from his time in Japan after WW II. We moved too far away for her to teach me her art and craft. But the gene is in me. It's wonderful to see our parallel journeys to quilting!

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  5. Beautiful post, gorgeous quilt and fantastic photos!

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  6. what a wonderful story and tribute to your Grandma! I love the quilt and I too see the flower. The photos are stunning!

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  7. this is beautiful. The setting you took the pictures in is beautiful too. Love waterfalls, lol. The binding is amazing. I have always wanted to do that with my left over bindings. Maybe I will now, lol. Thanks for sharing. Love it! I am sure your grandmothers is SO proud.

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  8. I love the quilt, both sides are fantastic! And the story is even better, I learned all the needle work and knitting from my Grandmother too.

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  9. I agree! The first photo is stunning! Congratulations on another lovely quilt finish!

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  10. How great is that Debbie! She would be proud. It's just gorgeous

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  11. She would be so thrilled and proud! A beautiful story and beautiful (and crazy!) quilt!

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  12. The quilt is amazing and such a great way to honor your grandma! Thank you for sharing your tutorial!

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  13. What a nice story to go with your quilt Debbie. Makes it all the more special. Love the photo location too.

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  14. I love your cross stitch, Debbie, both of them! Sweet memories of grandma interpreted in your quilting. I'm sure Vesta would be proud of the creator that you've become!

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  15. A beautiful quilt and a beautiful tribute to your grandmother as well.

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  16. That's a great tribute to grandma. It's amazing how some things stick with you.

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  17. Btw where is this place. The waterfall is awesome.

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  18. Such a fun quilt! Cross stitching was my first craft. :)
    P.S. I'm impressed that you were so brave to take photos at U village! It looks like you beat the crowds though. The photos look great!

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  19. I think the quilt is wonderful! I love your "bravery".

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  20. Stunning quilt! I loved hearing your memories and the cross stitch is beautiful :)

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  21. My gran has a collection of dresser cloths, table cloths, side table cloths and god knows what else that my mum embroidered when she was younger, although she's never liked cross stitch. My granny, on the other hand, loved cross stitch, but only the big kits on painted plastic, and god know what happened to them, I suspect my aunt ditched them as granny moved from house to sheltered housing and then finally to a nursing home.

    Love your randomly placed crosses, and the funky blocks on the back.

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  22. Great use of binding scraps! Clearly I need to make more quilts to pull this off too, because of course I don't throw out my bindings! What a very special and delicious looking colorful quilt!

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  23. It's wonderful Debbie. What a nice tribute!

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  24. Love it ! Think you need to go smaller - don't hate me for suggesting it!

    Thanks for linking up your #scraptastictuesday project!

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  25. Vesta would be thrilled!!! What a treasure to have had her in your life :)) I love the back of the quilt, as well! so awesome when the back and front are equally exciting! X!

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  26. Beautiful quilt Debbie and such a lovely tribute to Vesta! I loved doing cross stitch many years ago so this brings back many memories for me too.

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  27. Soooo lovely. I did cross stitch for years and have been pondering some type of hybrid between it and a quilt - this is perfect! And I love the backing and binding too.

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  28. This is beautiful, I love the cross stitch blocks. The back is perfect, I like the giant cross stitched blocks, and the scrappy-ness, so fun!

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  29. It is a great quilt, and a wonderful tribute!

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  30. What a great quilt! I like the back almost as well as the front.:)

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  31. Not only do I LOVE the quilt - front and back, but your story touched my heart!

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  32. Cross stitch was the first craft I absolutely fell in love with, became obsessed with, too. I began when I was about 12/13. I remember at uni I wouldn't let myself do it during term time, just in holidays after exams, because otherwise i would stitch rather than study or do my assignments. I haven't done any for years really though. Since I discovered patchwork and quilting in 2001 everything else has fallen by the wayside. Hand things are just too slow for me now considering how busy my life is with three kids, a husband, a home and a demanding near full time job.

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  33. When I was home I found a set of Holiday napkins and place mats that my grandmother had made! They have bad lace on them, so I want to redo that part, but they are precious! I'm loving the cross stitch right now!

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  34. That is beautiful. I always love the way ash makes bright colours sing. I think it's a wonderful tribute.

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  35. What a brilliant way to interpret the simple cross stitch! I learned embroidery from my grandmother, too. I spent 6 weeks with her one summer when I was 13, and I exhausted her knowledge bank by several embroidery stitches, a dozen huck towels, and some pillow cases. I treasure them, but I treasured her more. I love your quilt.

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