Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A trip to Oz

About ten years ago I was making this quilt from the American Patchwork & Quilting, Feb 1996 issue. Although I had subscribed to the magazine for a year or two, I had never made anything until 1999!

Of course, I had to change it. This is the Grizzly bear from the California State flag. I consider this my first quilt. I had a lot to learn! I had no idea that homespuns were more loosely woven than other fabrics and struggled to make my triangles perfect--the shortcut of making triangle squares was not in my knowledge base, and each triangle was cut separately. Although the project was called a "weekend whimsy", I worked on it on and off for many weeks.

I had a lot of questions about applique, machine quilting and binding, so I jumped on the internet website for AP&Q and looked at the message boards. There I found a section for "pen pals". I responded to a message from a woman in Melbourne, Australia and we started corresponding. Our lives were remarkably similar: we both were married with three children close to the same ages, both worked doing transcription of a medical nature, and both loved to write. Susie and I just clicked immediately and we spent many happy times chatting online and exchanging emails.

I continued the little quilt on my own, doing some machine applique and echo quilting, and hand quilting the triangles. But I was so unsure of how to apply a binding that I simply folded the backing to the front and stitched it down. Primitive is surely the look I got!

After about nine months of corresponding, Susie began to talk of coming to the US to meet me. What a dream come true it was when I met her in San Francisco in January 2001. We toured the city for several days, then traveled to Carmel/Monterey, took the 17 mile drive and then drove down the nearly empty Highway 1 to Hearst Castle. She stayed at my folks' house and we did the L.A. thing, Disneyland, Beverly Hills, The Getty, and Santa Monica. I showed her the little quilt, finally finished just before she came to CA (a mere two years later!). It was a wonderful vacation and we parted better friends than ever.

We continued our correspondence through the years, sometimes more often than others, and as our lives changed kept each other updated. Of course we talked about me coming to visit her in Oz, but life being what it is, the opportunity never presented. Eventually Susie was a single woman again and she began a new relationship with a man who is now to become her husband. Finally, I am going to visit her and will be present for the happy event--I am going to the wedding in November! My trip to Oz will be short but so sweet and another dream come true.

While Susie will be enjoying spring weather for the wedding, I will be displaying these fall quilts. This one I made last year from another issue of AP&Q, taking a single block from the quilt design.

And another AP&Q magazine design. This one I altered by not attaching some applique shapes on the pumpkins that were called for by the pattern. I wanted to keep the pumpkins fallish, not Halloween. Again my lack of finesse in the applique led to a primitive look but it was more intentional this time!

I wish my trip to Oz could include visits to many wonderful bloggers from Downunder that I have met in blogland, but Queensland is the only territory I will be going to. I hope it will not be the only trip I ever make to the Southern Hemisphere. Dreams can come true!


loulee said...

Sounds like the perfect excuse for a holiday in Aus. Enjoy your trip and the wedding. You have just enough time to prepare a handmade gift. ;-)

Vivian said...

What a lovely story. I'm so glad that your friendship has lasted so long. Enjoy the upcoming trip, and be assured that there are envious ladies everywhere.

Tanya said...

That's exciting! We'll want you to take lots of pictures! Someday I hope to get to Oz too!

Stephanie D. said...

How exciting!! That's one place I'd love to visit, too! And it's so nice that you'll be able to be there for her wedding.

Love the pumpkins--so cute and autumn-y.