Sunday, June 8, 2008

quilter's visit

so after a long night of watching food network and national geographic, it was a bit difficult to get up this morning. I had to be in middletown at 10am, which meant I needed to leave by 9:15a, which meant I needed to get up (or have the alarm start going off) around 8am. suck. anyway, I met jane (after picking up some much needed iced coffee and a cinnamon stick at dunkin' donuts) and we made our way out to new haven. essentially the only background I had on this woman (nini) was that she was in jane's book group and was a quilter who worked exclusively with her hands (no machine quilting). I didn't really know what I was getting into, but jane was really excited for me to meet nini and I actually was too. I could use some inspiration not only with my handwork, but with my quilting in general. :)

so we arrive a little early at her apartment so jane and I sat and chatted in the car a bit (with the a/c on, obviously). then around 11a, we headed up to the door and rang the bell. a smaller woman with mostly black hair around her shoulders walked out to greet us. as we walked into her crowded apartment, she cautioned us to "step over the cats" (meaning her cat door stop). we made our way to the kitchen where a pile of 30 or so quilts rested on her dining room table. after we made our introductions, nini started in with her first quilt. she made a point of mentioning that (until recently) she didn't know how to sew... but having always worked with stained glass, was interested in piecing and creativity (we saw some of her stained glass - beautiful and intricate). a friend of hers had introduced her to sewing and when this friend explained about cutting the fabric, nini said, "well why would I want to cut through all the pretty flowers?" good question. :) so she began fussy cutting two inch squares of flowers and birds (among other things as time progressed) and then putting them together... with a backstitch, since she didn't know how to sew. considering her knowledge level, her work is very consistent and beautiful. you can see how meticulous she was with her stitching. and it's all so amazing, too, since she has chronic lyme disease and has for many many years; her hands and fingers will frequently swell, making sewing difficult I'm sure. so we went through her quilts one by one. there was obvious improvement in the technique and the understanding. she adopted a watercolor style, really using the colors and fussy cut flowers to fade from one to another. I was very impressed; I've never tried anything like that before though I have seen books and liked the style. only until recently she tied all her quilts, but she wishes she could continue to tie them... she only has begun quilting because she wants to enter them into shows. we reviewed quilt after quilt for about an hour and a half, then went off to an intriguing lunch where nini regaled us with her childhood tales and about her son (of whom she is so ridiculously proud). it was a great experience and I was very much pleased and proud that she wants to see my work too! I guess I'll have to finish something, eh? :)

after we got back, I napped for a little while because it was b l a z i n g hot out still... then we went out to eat with some friends at puerto vallerta. yum... margaritas. :)

it was great to see such a prolific quilter who was so blunt about her lack of actual technique. usually people are ashamed to say that they don't know how to do something, but she just decided that she'd do it one way whether it was really right or not. it was a great experience and inspiring. now if it would only cool down so that I can get up into my quilting room!! :)

No comments: