Friday, May 18, 2012

Can nightmares become quilts?

Amy's Creative Side

I just found this virtual quilt show, The Bloggers' Quilt Festival at Amy's Creative Side.  What a great idea! What fun we will have checking out each others blogs along with great quilts!  I decided to enter a quilt that means very much to me.  It is a joint effort between my mother, June P. Brennan and myself.
My mother was a  very traditional quilter who loved Baltimore album applique.  She was known for designing her own little quilts in the Baltimore style.  For several months she was plagued with nightmares revolving around a "Moon Rock Garden".  She called it a nightmare because it was in a style she basically didn't enjoy.  The nightmare continued to plague her until she finally started putting the images down on paper.  She had a basic outline of the finished quilt and had made the flower blocks.  Here is her pencil drawing/map of this quilt.
As you can see she was going to make the rocks round.  She got stuck with this quilt because the rocks just weren't working.  In the box with the fabric went the quilt.  How many times have we all done that?!  The quilt stayed in that box for years because before she could figure out how to finish it, she went legally blind.

After going blind she wanted to sort out her sewing room and unfinished projects so a few of us flew in and a few dropped over.  My daughter and I flew in and my sisters dropped over.  The object of the trip was to go through everything, then my daughter and I would load up a Uhaul and take the entire fabric collection, patterns and quilting tools back to her house in Colorado.  At this time I lived in Arizona and she lived in Colorado, so we flew in separately as close to the same arrival time as possible into LAX. 

We all split up the unfinished quilts and there were a few quilts we all wanted.   But when it came to Mom's "Moon Rock Garden" box, my mom says, "That's Marjory's".  No discussions, no debates, just it's mine.  Now I'm not a traditional quilter, nor am I a total art quilter.  I'm stuck somewhere between them.  I saw the blocks my mom called non traditional as traditional.   What was I going to do to finish this quilt that I didn't even like?

Well, it sat in my studio in the box and I showed it to all my quilting friends.  Everyone said  "You can do it!  It will come to you."  Ughh!!  Well, it did come to me on a trip to visit the family for the holidays.  Rocks aren't round.  That's what was bothering me about Mom's design.  I had several drawings of great rock formations that I had drawn while living in Colorado.  Out they came and I played with them until I was happy with the design.  The second problem I had with Mom's design was that the cream background on the flower blocks would be "Bulls Eyes"  with the other fabric.  Mom had the moon so dark that it disappeared into the space fabric.  So I actually added some of my own fabric and used the background fabric from the flowers to make the moon.   In this way I tied in the flower blocks with the moon section of the quilt but I kept to the flavor of the original quilt. 

Now comes the flowers in the moon section.  Mom wanted 3D flowers different from the ones she had already made but in the same style.  Basically braking all "Mother Natures"  rules on this planet.  Mom had given me not only all the extra fabrics but pieces of 3D flowers that hadn't worked out.  The little orange flowers are made from those spare parts.  I had it quilted by a friend of a friend, Gale Smith.  When I got it back from the quilter I felt that the flower blocks needed some help.  I'm a big believer that more is just MORE!!!!  So I added more bling by way of beads, broaches and iron on crystals.  It is now over the top and I love it!!!  It hangs in my livingroom  to remind me of my mom (now deceased) and a wonderful trip I shared with my daughter.  

My mom did get to see the quilt before she died.  She had to get very close to see it but she knew it was done and she liked it.  I told her I had to change the rocks because they just didn't work.  I quote her, "Why do you think I gave it to you?  It wasn't working and I knew you could fix it."  That's my Mom.  I miss you Mom,  I have no one to argue quilting with now!!!  
Here is Mom with her grandson's before she went blind.  

Keep on Quilting!!!


  1. You did a fabulous job and created an immensely special quilt. So glad to read that your Mom got to see it.

    Happy Quilt Festival.

  2. That's a pretty wonderful collaboration! Your mum knew what she was doing when she put it in your hands. :-)

  3. Amazing....precious (not in that treacly way it is sometimes used) gift to know that your mom thought so much of your ability.

    Thanks for sharing.

  4. I think the quilt is unique and very pretty!

    Check out my blog if you can...

    Margaret Gunn

  5. this is a great quilt and a lovely story about it.

  6. What a wonderful and unique quilt! A great story too. Your mom is proud of you.

  7. I just love this quilt, and the story that goes along with it! Well done You and Your Mom!

  8. "I know you could fix it".... Wow... Pass the kleenex please...
    OK I'm better now... What a wonderful tribute to your mom!! I loved this quilt before I even read your lovely post. Your mom is smiling and so am I.
    Have a great day.
    Always, Queenie

  9. Very cool! How lucky you are to have collaborated with your mom on this amazing quilt!

  10. wonderful story and beautiful quilt

  11. I loved reading the story on this one. I keep studying the photo over and over because it is such an amazing piece. Your mom must have been something else. It never even dawned on me to try an art quilt or design something from a dream. I will have to remember that one. Beautiful.

  12. Wow, you certainly did "fix" it. It's a beautiful story and a beautiful quilt.

  13. that's just stunning!! absolutely loved your story--how wonderful you and your mom worked on this and that you took her start and totally ran with it to something fantastic. i am slow to see some of the most wonderful quilts--after i'd already voted! i hope others made it to you and voted because it's certainly a winner to me. thanks for sharing and have a great day


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