Thursday, August 18, 2011

Quilted tales

A few weeks ago, some lovely readers noticed this quilt in the background of one of my pictures - here to be precise.  Not only that -  but the artist herself came across the post too, and left a comment - how cool was that? And so, with no chance now of anyone thinking that, perhaps I had made it myself ( lol) -  I thought I would devote a whole post to it, and other quilts in my life.

Most of the renovations to the house are now complete, and we are on to the accessorizing  part.  I am still really trying to find a style that suits a 1970s bungalow, but also incorporates that modern country look that I like.   We brought all the pictures from our old house and while one or two of them fit in nicely somewhere, most just don't quite work.  We had a large expanse of wall above the couch which was begging to be filled with a piece of art, so we decided we would look at the work of artists from the island.
A very pleasant but difficult task. There are so many talented people working here on Lewis, and we have seen a fair few exhibitions already, but nothing really called to us.
Remember the day we went to look at the cows for the first time? Well, we stopped in at the Morvern Gallery on the way, for a most excellent coffee and utterly fabulous Vicky sponge. Of course, there is no point in being inside an art gallery and not looking at the art is there?  And there were a lot of beautiful pieces there, to be sure.  I had noticed the quilt in the passing, as I browsed about, but my head was fixated on looking for a painting.  Sitting down to my latte and giant wedge of cake,  John, who had been wandering around with James, asked what I had thought of it.  Hmmm - what did I think?  I went back and had a proper look and something shifted in my mind.  There was something very familiar about that scene.

Reader, I bought it.

The quilt is called Abandoned House, Loch Roag, and was created by the immensely talented Effie Galletly, who has produced some stunning work.  You can view her collections on her website at
Netherfield Gallery.

The quilt depicts the house as if looking towards the Stones, where it appears rooted in the land, but our normal view of it is surrounded by water - almost on an islet. What attracted John to the piece is that the land surrounding the old house is a patchwork of greens yellow and brown - symbolic of what we are trying to achieve on our own croft. I so love that.   We also discovered that the last inhabitant of the house shared our surname.  Synchronicity or what?  I love having it in that space and I can lie on the couch meditating on all those colours and shapes - it makes me very happy.

The second quilt is one which I came across, unfinished, in a box of my Mother's sewing stuff. I am not sure if it was to be a table runner or a wall hanging, but it is very beautiful.  She was quite a talent herself, in her day.  I decided to attempt to finish it, as only the corners needed binding.  I actually thought I had made not a bad job of it, until I see this picture - oh dear - maybe a good pressing will help straighten in out!  Anyway, I have decided it will look fine as a wall hanging in our bedroom, which, coincidentally (once I have made the blinds) will be pinky purpley with subtle splashes of yellow.  Synchronicity again - thanks Mum!

The third quilt was made by my daughter, Karen, during her recent holiday here.  Isn't it gorgeous?  Isn't Erin just the sweetest babe in the world?
I was so pleased when Karen said she had started quilting, because I had just been thinking of getting to know that craft - you know, for something to do in my spare time.  She had picked up the basics from the "look inside" feature of this book, and had hand quilted and embroidered the front. We had great fun playing  around, finishing it off when she was here, not to mention planning other sewing projects. I was so inspired. 

And so - can you handle another quilt?  Last one for today - promise. OK, here is my first real attempt at quilting - even if it is a bit cheaty using panels of fabric instead of sewing strips together. I made a mess of the first binding, and fell out of love with the material I was using, so had to started again with this gold satin ribbon, which I like much better.
It is a quilt for our nephew and wife's first baby which I must get finished very very soon, because it's  intended recipient - is now HERE!  Dylan James - all 10lbs of him, was born last night at around 10pm - welcome to the world sweet boy.
The proud grandparents can be seen in my previous post, smiling bravely through the Edinburgh downpour. And I am now a Great-Aunt!  How dignified and grand does that sound? 
More quilting may appear in future posts - it's what we Great-Aunts do isn't it? 

* photo credit to daughter Kristine.


  1. Lovely to see your quilts and the stories they hold.
    Welcome to the world Dylan James and congratulations Great Aunt. Oh that must be my title too actually as my niece gave birth to her daughter last week!

    I do love the croft quilt, seems fitting to be hanging on your walls.

    Dawn x

  2. I love all the quilts Thank you so much for sharing them and their stories. I have quilt making on my to 'learn in this life list'...hopefully soon. xx

  3. Oh, I would love to quilt.
    Love your quilts and their

  4. Firstly, congratulations on becoming a great aunt.... and then, your quilts, they are all wonderful, and all so different, quilting is an amazing medium for trying out different techniques, I think you will soon be totally hooked, and with the internet, all the materials you ever need are available as well.
    Sue Xxx

  5. That quilt in your room is just like a painting. I find it amazingly aluring. I can truely understand that it helps you meditate, just looking at it. It`s very beautiful in its depicted tranquility!

  6. What a lovely post, thank you! Each of those quilts is beautiful, and the stories behind them make them even more wonderful. Congratulations on becoming a Great-Aunt, I'm sure you'll be a Great Great-Aunt!

  7. The quilt your mum started looks like stained glass -- it's so vibrant!

    All of the quilts you showed are beautiful and I love the stories behind them.

    Thank you for sharing!

  8. Thanks for the stories. I love your quilt. I would like to try something like that someday.

  9. I love things that come with a story. Your quilts and stories are great.

  10. Beautiful quilts, all so different, and full of character with their stories too.

    Congratulations to your nephew and his wife, and I'm sure you will be a wonderful great aunt.

  11. Quilts are so special,they are made with such care and love and bring so much enjoyment and can be passed on through the family. Yours are beautiful and i'm sure they will warm your home for many years to come.x

  12. Quilts are so special,they are made with such care and love and bring so much enjoyment and can be passed on through the family. Yours are beautiful and i'm sure they will warm your home for many years to come.x

  13. Welcome to the world little man! What a lovely cuddly baby I imagine he is, Tabitha was that size and very plump and cuddly with it!

    I love that quilt, its such a beautiful scene. It reminds me of a description of a house I read in a book recently. Does anyone live there now?

    I also love the pink quilt, perfect for such a pretty little girl!
    I am also sure your lovely quilt will make a perfect present for the new arrival, I hope you have the time to finish it soon.

    By the way, I was looking for a chocolate chip cookie recipe on the web this morning, and came across your recipe from May's blog post! What luck! I shall be baking a batch this afternoon for our local fete tomorrow, I hope they taste as good as yours look!

  14. Thanks everyone - I imagine most handmade quilts have a story or two in them. i am glad you enjoyed these ones. Thank you too for your welcome to wee Dylan - or rather, big Dylan :) They are very far away in the South of England, so I won't get the chance to play the great aunt very much, but it is nice to welcome another person into the family.
    Liz - Hi! I hope the cookies turned out well and you enjoy the fete. No it is not lived in now, but possibly in the 1950s.

  15. Hi Jacqui, I was struck by your photograph of the little house - I actually thought it was on an island - I recognised it because I painted that scene many years ago when I first started painting!
    It was an early effort and pretty rough but I thought I could still find it so I hunted in my painting shed, but I must have binned it!
    However I came across many other old half finished work and have been inspired to get paper and pencils out again this afternoon - thank you so much.
    I also have a new grand-nephew who arrived on Monday in Stornoway - he is unnamed as yet. I am afraid I could not run to a quilt.for him - maybe for the next new arrival - he will have to be content with a knitted gift! Good luck with your quilt - I am sure we will see the finished work soon.Kate

  16. I love the quilt your daughter made! It's just the kind of quilting I aspire to whenever I get around to making my first quilt. It has that happy look of being made with love. I added the quilting book you mentioned to my wish list and am hoping to start a quilt soon, as I'd like to make my first one for my son's room. It would be fun to try a quilt-a-long!

  17. I get it. Every bit of it. The desire to lose ones self in the colors and shapes, whether just staring or creating. The pleasure when ones offspring tries their hand at something new and produces functional beauty. And last but not least, the need to act on the inspiration that has been slowly taking hold... I get it.

  18. Catherine - that is wonderful! I do hope you keep going with your art - I love how you have painted this house too :) Welcome to your great nephew xx
    Kerri - we really just played around with it - sewing bits of material and just having fun. I think the formal quilting that you see some places is a bit intimidating, but just making it up as you go along is fine :)
    Debbie - that's it!! xx


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