Monday, April 4, 2011

Fabric! Let the Diary Quilt Begin.....

Several years ago now, my Aunt Carolyn and my cousin Debbie got together and made a Diary Quilt as a gift for my cousin Jennifer. They followed a book, A Quilter's Diary Written in Stitches, by Mimi Dietrich. 

This quilt, the plans for it anyway, was perhaps the single exposure to quilting that made me think it might, one day, be something I'd like to do. The thought of telling one's life story in fabric had a very intriguing appeal to it, particularly for me. I was, at the time, an avid scrapbooker, though, so I gave little further thought to making a Diary Quilt. I mean, at the time, I thought I didn't know how to sew.

Life went on. I met a few other folks who quilted. Two ladies I'm honored to call my friends, one a very advanced quilter and one who's more advanced than me (and quite good!) but considers herself a beginner. I ooh'ed and aah'ed over their creations and that little spark of interest was kindled.

Then one summer, one of these good friends introduced me to the concept of Jelly Rolls -- pre-cut strips of a certain width, and rolled together in pre-selected, coordinating colors. Whole patterns, whole books of patterns!, exist for making use of these Jelly Rolls and turning them into quilts. It seemed like a nice, gentle introduction to the quilting world for a beginner, and machine-less beginner at that!, like me.

I'd already made one entire quilt block for the other dear friend, so armed with that and an idea, I took my mom shopping. We went to a few quilt shops, and eventually decided on the red white and blue project I've been working on lately.

But ever in the back of my mind has been the idea of this Diary Quilt. 

Yes, I've got other projects already before me. There's a certain Christmas Tree Skirt just waiting to be started. And the boys are out-growing some favorite t-shirts, which I'm thinking will make a nice t-shirt quilt or three. And I'd love to do a specifically Brazil quilt, just as I'm doing the red white & blue quilt. And then my Grandma is sending me patterns from the 1930s, saved by my grandpa's mother, and I'd love to get some 30's reproduction fabrics and do something with some of that. And, well, the ideas keep coming and my friends keep laughing to know I've truly been bit by the quilting bug. 

But this Diary's my story. In symbols, and pictures, and fabric, and color, and thread. It's challenging. It's a tribute to many. It's history in the making, to be passed down to my boys and hopefully on through the family for years to come. It will be something the boys can see, and touch, and know me. Not the me they see every day, the teacher, the mom, the disciplinarian, but ME. What memories from childhood shaped me, grew me, stayed with me. What happened then to make me who I am now.

It's my story, and these fabrics will help me tell it. Each one chosen with a specific person in mind, to represent a specific touch on my life. The black will be the border and sashing, the beige that lies below everything will be the background. The rest will make up the pictures, the blocks, the symbols, the bits & pieces of my story, symbolizing the people and the moments that have shaped my life.

fabric of my life
click photo to enlarge
It's my story, and I can't wait to share snippets of it with you...


  1. Oh sweetness!! What a delight you are to me!! I can't wait to see how YOUR Diary Quilt comes together. It will be a beautiful tapestry to you. ♥

  2. What an exciting project! I'm looking forward to seeing it all come together. It'll be beautiful, like you.

  3. So neat! Can't wait to see it all unfold. I'm going to have to look for a copy of that book. Such a cool idea! Or as my oldest says now, "So low temperature" - yes, you know the one. Robin

  4. What a cool idea - looking forward to seeing it grow.