A few weeks back when my guild got word we would be working on a challenge using Denyse Schmidt‘s new line I was thrilled. I was more than thrilled when I found out the new line is called “Florence“. Florence is particularly meaningful to me because I had a grandmother named Florence. I actually never call her grandmother because she was always my mother’s mother. She passed away when my mother was a young woman. But I’m sure she would have been a swell grandmother.
I wanted to make a special quilt in tribute to my grandmother Florence. More than a special quilt the process itself was special in it has allowed me and my mother to reflect a bit on our dear Florence. The fabric itself reminds me of the era in which Florence would have flourished (such great fabric!).
When I think of Florence I think of the bittersweet memories of a mid-20th century woman. A woman who was blessed with one child, my mother, late in life. And a woman whose last few years were spent battling a painful cancer when cancer treatment and palliative care were not what they are today. When I was a younger girl I didn’t feel comfortable asking about Florence because of the sadness surrounding a death that leaves a daughter motherless. But as my mother says, as time passes the bitter becomes less bitter and the sweet becomes more sweet, and I’ve recently felt more comfortable asking about the grandmother whom I’d known only through the bits and pieces gleaned in passing as my mother casually wove her mother into conversation.
|My Grandmother Florence and Mom, Anne, at Belle Isle on the Detroit River|
I think of my mother, Anne, recalling how comforted she felt when as a little girl she would play with her dolls underneath the big quilt frame as Florence and her sisters quilted a big quilt overhead. It was apparently especially great during thunderstorms. (This sounds like a bit of heaven to me!)
My mom finds it remarkable that I have Florence’s hands. I’m sure it was a trip to one day see your mother’s hands on your teenaged daughter. I remember growing up my mom occasionally studying my hands in thought and shaking her head and saying, “you have my mother’s hands.”
I remember my mother saying she loved to eat butter when she was little. As a mother I can only imagine Florence’s surprise and bewilderment to find her daughter eating a stick of butter. And also the annoyance of having to clean butter off your child and having to buy more butter for cooking.
Florence was a very social woman and my grandparents would go out every weekend when Florence was healthy. She loved to laugh but never at someone else’s expense.
|Florence in the awesome, colorful (naturally) dress on the left, her sisters are next
and my great grandmother is on the right.
Florence loved the color purple and a particular pretty purple tulip quilt (that I will show you this summer). I like purple because it reminds me of my mother. My mom also loves purple and I guess we share that same reason. Do we choose what we like? Or are we destined to become our mothers? And at what point do we want to become our mothers? Because there is a point where we do (sorry daughters, it’s true). Do we want to become our mothers or are we wishing to be a part of their story? Or to pass their greatness to our children?
Florence used to love to sit in the back yard and gaze up at the stars. She knew the constellations and would point them out to my mom when she was a girl. (I would too, do you know how bright the stars were back then in that unpolluted, street light-less sky?)
So, in honor of my grandmother Florence I give you my “Tribute Star” quilt.
I did not plan this to coincide with Mother’s Day, but Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers out there.
Design: Mine, inspired by blocks from the Farmer’s Wife, particularly this one, and the Constellation quilt by Katy Jones
Size is 64 inches by 64 inches.
Fabric is the “Mosaic” color way from Florence, by Denyse Schmidt. Solid is Teal Cotton Couture. Quilting is organic straight line graduating in scale; small scale starting below the star and radiating outward and upward.
I’m linking up with Finish It Up! Friday.