Tuesday, 22 January 2013

A Brief B.C. Blog. Blog 11.

A Visiting Thread


I looked for her in the bottom of kitchen cupboards underneath stained cheesecloth, between the pages of cracked books, under the house in the layer of the fine dust that had formed over the pickling jars, in a cigar box of faded embroidery thread... I looked for her but I could not find her. What are these useless things?

I found her in the sleeping garden as the raven’s wing cut the wind overhead. She revealed herself in the tips of peonies already emerging in the January cold. I found her in the sighs and comfort of her friends, the wringing of hands, the pained embraces. As I moved through the space she once brought to life, I found her in the sadness of my father’s eyes, watching me.

I found her and I lost her and I found her again. Repeat.

Tender Pender


The flower lady holding court at the Pender Farmer's Market.
One block this blog. Maybe one of my favorite Mom t-shirts ever, art by local Frank Ducote once again, this time I kept the t-shirt image pretty much intact. The Pender Island Farmer’s market is where my mother sold her incredible flowers, fruits, and vegetables for many years. I remember visiting and working along side her, cutting and clipping and arranging flowers for rock bottom prices that you would never find elsewhere. Line-ups would form for her arrangements and she had no use for impatient city folk who could not take the time to wait for her personalized bouquets. It was the act of putting them together that was worth waiting for.... the choosing of colours and sizes and smells. My mother the flower-lady-superstar, performance art at it’s most pungent.


Pender Island Farmer's Market t-shirt block.
I have sat in the comfort of my mother’s home and embroidered some of my quilting fabrics (pinned in the photo) onto this block. Sewing by the wood stove, I can hear her questions, criticisms, and glorious praise for my not-so-fine and not-so-even stitches. And who would have thought that this big city girl with her busy career and fancy Toronto house would sit by the fire in the sleepy Gulf Islands to sew, by hand, one small story at a time?


Quilting.... Eek!


Two more blocks and then sewing the this whole mess together and then the job of actually quilting. Almost forgot about that!
Photo of Barb's quilts as notes for the next steps.
Quilt guru Barb with a bouquet from Mom.

My trip to the West included a couple of too short days with my favorite quilting guru on Denman Island. In the comfort of the little round house, I tried to absorb as much as I could about the styles, will, and wherefores of the quilting process. Wool versus cotton batting, hand versus machine. The quilts were pulled down by ladder from the loft and flipped and examined and photographed and slept with as though, like learning a language, I could absorb some quilting know-how in my sleep. 

I limp along, literally and figuratively, trying to catch up.


  1. hi tamara, i'm rain, a friend of barb's, who was introduced to you while you were on denman last week. if i'd been a quick thinker i would have recalled who you were from your blog and said "i so deeply appreciate the work you're doing on this memory quilt. the grieving, the artistry, and the sharing all touch me. i am a fairly new quilter who has wanted to do end-of-life support for many years. when i told barb this, she sent me the link to your blog and i love it! so thank you!"

  2. Thank you for reading and enjoying it Rain Hood!

  3. Hi there, again! I can't actually find my last comment (I know I made one!) but I didn't go that far back. The quilt is progressing beautifully and although I know you have your quilting "guru", any help you may need is also available here! What you are doing is so special and I can only imagine how each block process helps to cement the memories. I wish now that I had thought to do the same when my mother passed two years ago. I may do something with pictures....the wheels are beginning to turn!

    1. Turn those wheels Jo-Ann.... and the more quilting gurus the better, especially one within a 2 kilometre distance! Here's my friend Barb's quilt blog, as discussed, http://houseofbug.blogspot.ca/