I am often asked the same question - 'How do I come up with ideas for my designs?' From the very beginning my answer has always been the same. You see, for me, my designs always come from my heart, are based on something that I have a need for or see a need for in a friends life or have a strong memory attached to it.
The quilt I am going to share with you today is based on the latter, this quilt is called Nanna's Place and has very strong memories attached.
Way back around the year 2000, very early in my career, I decided to design a quilt based on my memories of my Nanna. You see, as a very young girl I would quietly stand at my Nanna's side, making sure I was very quiet and not in the way, and watch as she made beautiful patchwork quilts. I was in awe of all that she did and even though she had passed away by the time I was beginning patchwork, I wanted to honour her memory through a quilt dedicated to her.
I set to work writing down my memories of her, the things that meant the most to me and things that were based on memories of stories she had told me as I was growing up too. The centre of the quilt is an appliqued house, based on my Grandparents home, the home my mother grew up in and the home I visited regularly (and secretly wished I could buy when I was older too). Their house was the gathering place for family and a place that was so very special, so it became the centre of my quilt.
Surrounding the centre are applique blocks once again featuring things that reminded me of my Nanna. For example, there was a path from the gate to the front door and down either side of this path were pretty flowers, so flowers needed to be on this quilt.
In the bottom corner I made an applique button jar. Having inherited some of Nanna's buttons when she passed away, I wanted to stitch some special buttons onto the jar as a way to remember Nanna and her buttons.
I included a wash board as I had heard so many family stories of how Nanna used to take care of her large family for so many years with limited luxuries. The windmill and water tank were to honour their years on a farm and of course there had to be chooks (chickens) as well.
A sewing machine was totally necessary. Nanna was a wonderful seamstress, not only making quilts in her latter years but making clothes for her 6 children, even making my Mother's exquisite wedding dress.
One of the very special things I remembered from my Grandparents home was a beautiful vintage jug and bowl. I was so honoured to inherit these after my Nanna passed away so definitely had to honour them by including an applique version of them on my Nanna's Place quilt.
Nanna's Place was hung in our home for many many years and came with us whenever we moved. Here is a little peek into our very first home, back in 2001. Our home was decorated in a Country Style that we loved and Nanna's Place was the first thing you saw as you walked in our door. If you look closely, you can see the special jug and basin with flowers in it, on the table underneath the quilt.
Even though our home is no longer decorated in the Country Style, my Nanna's Place quilt is so very special to me and will form part of my 'fabric memory bank' that each of my designs contributes to. Over the years I have taught this quilt to many of my students, some making it in the same colours and designs, others changing some of the blocks to suit their own memories, and each so very special.
Those who have followed my designing for a while will see that I am no longer designing in country colours, however I still love my country quilts and where appropriate I am remaking many of my older samples in new fabrics too. Nanna's Place is still part of my available designs, I am sure there are others who will have lovely memories they would like to keep alive too.
I hope you have enjoyed this little trip down memory lane. I love that each of my quilts has a story or special memory attached because to me, that's one of the things that makes patchwork and quilting so very special. Do you have a quilt that brings back extra special memories to you? I'd love to hear all about it. xx