Ma vie en Suisse

My Mum’s leaf quilt

Dorothy Burke ¦ Quilter ¦ Whitehorse, Yukon

My mum is a quilter. She lives in Whitehorse, Yukon and has been quilting since the late 1980s. (When she reads this blog post, she will tell me the exact date and the exact project she started working on.)

She quilts for a number of reasons: to express her creativitiy, for the company (of other quilters), to keep learning new things…and more I am sure.  She has really progressed over the years too.

She emailed me this picture of a quilt she just finished a few weeks ago. I was super impressed. Mainly, because I know the story behind the quilt.

In 2004, she won the aggregrate trophy at the local horticulture show. She wrote in her 2004 yearly letter:

“This year I went all out and entered the greenhouses, garden and yard as well as 31 entries in the bench show. When I went to check on the exhibits on Saturday afternoon, I was quite surprised to see how many ribbons I had won. Overall, I won second on the octagonal greenhouses, fourteen firsts, six seconds, four thirds and seven participant ribbons in various classes such as quilting, jam and jellies, flowers, herbs and vegetables.”

She won $60 from Canadian Tire, a trophy to grace her mantlepiece for a year, and two tickets anywhere in Canada from Air Canada. She took my dad to see the colours in Algonquin Park (Ontario) that fall.

She and Dad spent a day walking and hiking in the park and collecting leaves. They pressed and preserved them. When they got home, Dad helped her create leaf templates from the leaves they had collected.

She started this particular quilt project in April 2012 and finished it this September.

I like a number of things about this quilt. I like that she collected the leaves from Algonquin Park. I like she made them into fabric and designed them onto this quilt. I like, that if you look at the quilt, it looks like these leaves just fell from the tree onto the quilt. I like that my mum free-motion quilted around the leaves (meaning, she did everything herself at her own sewing maching). The leaves are attached to the quilt, but not quilted (contributing to the effect of having just fallen onto the quilt).

Quilting is an art. Further, it is a regional art. If you notice quilters around the world, they tend to quilt landscapes and nature native to where they live.

My mum makes quilts for your bed. She makes hangings on the wall. She makes pot holders and placemats. Regardless what project she creates, they all tell a story of who she is and where she has been.

My mum is 74 today. She has type 2 diabetes and limited vision. She is tiny (just over four feet) but she is a little dynamic ball of business.

I love you Mum.

Dorothy Burke ¦ Quilter ¦ Whitehorse, Yukon

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