Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Quilt Squares II

Today is finally the day for the second installment of Quilt Squares for Christmas! I've been waiting several days for enough light to take photos as I want to show these beautiful squares at their best.

These were all made by John's oldest sister, sil1. She is probably the most creative person I know, and expresses this in sewing (drapes and slipcovers!), embroidery, knitting, gardening, making elderberry cordial, cataloging and growing heirloom apples from seed, in her career as a family practice physician, and the way she lives her life. Not only is she incredibly creative, she also has the patience, persistence, and craftsmanship to carry out her ideas. She is the person I look to when I start whining about not having enough time for everything. She knows the value of time, rarely wastes any on pursuits that aren't fulfilling, is a person that makes reasoned and thoughtful choices, and isn't afraid to express her opinion. I first met her when we sat next to each other in our Great Books class in high school, and was a little bit in awe even then!

In 1993, we decided that we would also make quilt squares for birthdays in addition to Christmas. These are birthday gifts to me in 1994 and 1995. I had never heard the poem "Interior" by Sir John Squires, but if the shoe fits ... and it does.

I and myself swore enmity. Alack,
Myself has tied my hands behind my back.
Yielding, I know there is no excuse in them --
I was accomplice to the stratagem.

The one on the right is a beautiful crazy quilt square. We went to a quilt show about a month before my birthday where I admired the embroidery and textures of the crazy quilts, so I was lucky to be gifted with one of my own.

The ocean and starfish square on the left was inspired when our families spent a week at the shore together in 1993. I love the shaded ocean strips, applique, and embroidery.

On the right is a gorgeous cathedral window square. I've never made one myself, but it looks technically difficult and fiddly, and I admire all the perfectly matched points. I really love this one.

This is an imaginative square from Christmas 1995. You probably can't tell, but Merry Christmas and the stars are embroidered in gold, and the planets are well-represented in their fabric versions. I think Jupiter might be from the fabric sil1 used to make a shirt for her husband and matching dress for herself when they got married, and I think I recognize Mars as a leftover from the cushion covers she made for their living room.

If I had to pick a favorite square, it would most likely be this amazing knitting basket from my birthday in 1993. I don't know what the technique is called but it's three different layers, cut and embroidered to show different parts of each layer. It's kind of like trapunto, but isn't padded with batting. The addition of some real knitting on the needles makes it even more special.

See why I'm in awe?


  1. Those are incredible! And I love that they also inspire great memories.

  2. Treasures, each and every one!! And, yes, Carole is right, they mean even more as they're imbued with memories!

  3. I missed the post that explained how this got started, but it is BRILLIANT! I may make squares for myself and sew them up someday. :-)

  4. Wow. Those are amazing!! That knitting square is so perfect!

  5. Oh, Bonny! What a treasure! Thanks so much for sharing these beautiful squares -- and the accompanying memories. (Just about the coolest "gifting" ever.)

  6. I'm glad to finally be catching up and this post is one of my favorites. I'm still thinking about how you could assemble/display them, and now I think you need a way to tell their stories too. Thank you for sharing...these are awesome!


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