Friday, March 6, 2009

Cottage CQ...Freddie

This quilt is about many things for me....the place I love best in the natural world, the cottage itself that houses so much of my family's history, my desire to push the envelope of what my crazy quilting can be.....but it is also about my brother, Freddie.

This picture of me and Freddie is from fifty years ago, taken several months before he died.
He drowned at Michillinda....

When a child dies, the cataclysms that result can go on and on in a family for decades. My family had its fair share of collateral devastation. Certainly my parents never recovered from this tragedy; their marriage ended two years later.

But many years have passed and the pain is gone now. Fortunately above all else, my sister was born before our parents divorced...

And the waves still lap the shore there, the sun still lights up the water and the woods, and we still find great joy on that porch, where such horrible news was delivered in July of 1958....that's part of the incredible blessing of a place like Michillinda. It absorbs all the drama of our little lives, it's unchanging beauty and rhythms give us a sense of perspective, and we have a polestar to refer to when all else is in flux....

So I had to write Freddie's name in the sand on the beach....

I can't tell you how wonderful it has felt for me to do this. Now the quilt is saying what it is meant to say in its entirety.

But as always with this quilt, there are technical problems!
When there are large sections of cloth and lots of embroidery, it is hard to keep everything flat...maybe I need a large quilting frame and could embroider the top as a whole on that, next time.
Anyway, some extra beading went onto the water section and it is now a bit puckery.

If you click on this, it will get bigger so you can see it better.
The grasses around Freddie's name aren't done yet. I've learned on this quilt that when I make a big change like this, I have to live with it for awhile before proceeding to refine it.
It will evolve, though...

I am hoping that when this is all done, when I re-interface the back I can pull it taught as I am fusing. That helps sometimes.

Thanks for all your kind comments on my last post....I've so appreciated the chance to share this long-haul project with you.
We're almost done!

39 comments :

craftydiane said...

Allie, I have been following your progress on the Cottage CQ. It is truely a fantastic piece! Your work is fantastic! I think it is so very fitting that you should put your brother's name in it. I have lost two brothers at young ages and know the pain a family goes through. They both died in tragic accidents, one at the age of 13 and one at the age of 24. I have only one brother left now and his name is Freddy! Here is a link to my very first blog post about a special wall hanging I made in memory of my brother, Keith, who died at the age of 24 when I was 16.
http://craftydianed.blogspot.com/2008/05/memory-wall-hanging.html
Have a Blessed Day,
Diane

Diana said...

What a wonderful tribute to your brother. I have been quietly following your progress on this piece and it is most remarkable. You have inspired me to get my feeble crazy quilt efforts out and at least look at them and evaluate. You have taken the art way over the edge.

colorbox said...

Allie...this is such beautifully written post.

I truly believe that the moment where the piece becomes what it was asking to be...is a divine gift.

talk to you soon re: jars :)

Summerset said...

What a fitting tribute to a brother and place that holds such memories.

Judy S. said...

You couldn't have made a more perfect tribute, Allie. This is a fabulous piece, and I hope that you will show it somewhere....it's a certain winner!

Marty52 said...

Goodness, Allie... such a wonderful tribute to your brother! Very cool to write his name in the sand. And... I love, love, love the bead "bubbles" in the waves, so perfect! Your grasses are really great, too. I hope that, when you are done, you will take lots of closeups so we can see it all.

Raspberry said...

Looking beautiful!

Kay said...

Art comes from the pain, doesn't it, and from time of course.

An on a VERY mundane level, do you use an embroidery hoop at all? Maybe that would help.

The piece itself, and your comments are beautiful.

Magpie's Mumblings said...

What a wonderful tribute to your brother, and to the place you love.
As for the puckers in the water, could they not be waves?

Francy said...

Allie, sending you hugs.

This is such a beautiful quilt. I look forward to seeing it completed. You have done an awesome job.

keepntch said...

The puckering adds to the shadows of the sand and water giving them a touch of realism if they continue to exist after the interfacing I think they will add to the texturing rather than detract.

sharonb said...

Yes I too can only say what a wonderful tribute and such a sad sad story.

Marie Alton said...

Oh Allie ... what an awesome way to remember your brother! Time seems to have healed the wounds ... but remembrance for your loss ... at such a tender age ... will certainly make this creation even more special for you. It is so wonderful ... and I for one have totally enjoyed watching your progress on it!

verobirdie said...

Allie, this is a beautiful tribute to your brother. This makes this piece very special indeed.

Sparklyjools said...

I had a big lump in my throat when I read your post today Allie. Your stunning quilt is a truly wonderful symbol of remembrance.
Jules x

Plays with Needles said...

I love the idea that Freddie lives on in Michillinda for you. How brave and courageous to make him a part of a place that you could be very tempted to abandon because of the tragedy -- it's much harder to work through the hard stuff and keep Freddie there than I think if you all had decided to sell the place and never look back. I love that. There's a lesson here for all of us. Will you keep it? Hang it at Michillinda? Gift it to someone? The fact that your beautiful fingers quilted this, will insure that generations will remember Freddie and Allie, long after you've left this earth and the beautiful shores of the lakehouse...it's extra extraordinary because of that.

JoWynn Johns said...

Amen, and amen. It is an extraordinary work. And I love the watery texture of the puckering.

Irish Kathi said...

I love your process, how you think through stages, change them up, refine them. It is a joy to read your blog and this post about your brother is profound. Beautifully written with purpose.

Possibilities, Etc. said...

This is beautiful - and thanks for the post. It's good to keep their little spirits alive. Having lost our Madeline at 13, less than a year ago, I tell people I can't just erase her. She lives! I'm so grateful that Joe and Sarah have Brewster for spending summers - that is Sarah's Michillinda, and it's full of Madeline also from every summer of her life.

Rebecca Clouse said...

Allie,
Your cottage CQ is such a wonderful tribute to old memories and new ones to come. Your CQ is beautiful and I so admire your work. Thanks for sharing your story with us it was very touching.

Anonymous said...

Allie, your work is stunnung! A nice tribute for your brother..and SO WHAT if there are a few puckers & ripples, isn"t that what "life" is all about.. Debbie (Maine)

Mary said...

A beautiful post.....and thanks to the nod to me!!!!! love you seester

Barbara C said...

The whole beach area is so magical. The sparkling water and Freddy's name in the sand give the whole piece a very idyllic and peaceful feeling. Thanks for sharing the photo with your brother: it's so innocent and lovely, and it makes his loss so palpable.

I like the way you resolved the sky section. It's much more integrated, yet there is still that beam of light coming down from the sky.

CJ Stitching and Blooms said...

Hello Allie,

Thanks for sharing with us all the story of your beloved brother Freddie and his tragic lost at Michillinda. Your CQ is a beautiful tribute to him and your family who will treasure this CQ forever.

I pass by this area often and when I do I think of you and your Michillinda CQ and it brings a smile to my face because it is an exact reflection of this lovely area. I am glad you still come back to Michillinda. Hugs Judy

cq4fun said...

The puckeriness just makes it look more like water. I love your telling us why Freddie's name is in the sand. Your quilt is like those novels about families from generation to generation. It's worth a thousand words, certainly.

Tracey said...

I say keep the puckered surface of the water - it looks like waves lapping on the shore.

Tracey
(done with my lovely week at Empty Spools)

Deb said...

Allie, I have been following your blog for some time now and in particular this Cottage CQ. It is beautiful. I love the ripples on the water. The beadwork and grasses are amazing. Also the sea glass. When I was 10 and my brother David 6, he drown in the river next to our home after falling through the ice. He was my only sibling. There were never any more although my parents did try. My parents remained together and we never moved from that house. As my mother said moving would not have change the sorrow. Now my Dad is gone and My mom still lives in that home. We sit outside in the summer drinking out tea and watching the amazing sunsets. It is a special place for many reasons.

Did you have the idea to write Freddy's name in the sand before you began your project or was that something that evolved.

Robin said...

Yes, it must feel as if Freddie rests here in the work of your loving hands and here also are laid to rest the grief and family catacysms surrounding his death in that place. Your writing about it is so poetic... I love your paragraph starting with "And the waves still lap..." Freddie's name there in the sand, not yet made subtle with embroidery of grasses, gave me some tears for your loss, and surely in some ways never to be known, the world's loss. Thank you for posting about this, dear heart! Love, Robin A.

Anonymous said...

Allie,

Your work is stunnning-I love the water and the beads-please keep showing the progress-this is a piece that will live on forever for everyone who visits your site and for your family-what a wonderful heirloom.

T

Debra said...

I've always felt this piece was more personal than just a "landscape piece" and now you have shown us why. It's an emotional struggle to quilt memories into quilts but sometimes very necessary. Your Cottage CQ & your H quilt are so successful because of the strong memories they hold for you of places and people important in your life. Bravo for making them real!

Lisa said...

Such a beautiful tribute to your lost brother. How many memories you have at Michillinda, both wonderful and terribly sad ~ but those are the places our heart lives.

My FIL's older brother also drowned at a young age ~ the effects do trickle down through the generations.

I'm with everyone else on the puckers. Let them be ~ they add to the watery quality, especially with those lovely bubbles!

black bear cabin said...

I have really enjoyed the progress of this quilt, but i never quite knew the entire story behind it till now.
That makes this piece all the more precious and endearing. What a wonderful tribute to Freddie...his name in the sand...totally sweet. This piece will share the story of your family for generations to come. Truly a magnificent piece Allie!
Thank you for sharing this with us.

rianammerman said...

What a beautiful homage to your dear brother Freddie. It is terribly sad that his life was so short. He lives on in your hearts and in the sand at Michillinda.

Conni said...

Just echoing what everyone else has said; what a beautifully moving tribute to your brother. There is so much love stitched into this quilt. Amazing work…

Kathi said...

I applaud you for being able to do this piece for your brother's memory. My sister, Heather drowned in a public pool when she was 4 and I was 5. It was so hard to go through. I hope to one day make her a beautiful tribute like you have done. This piece is so inspirational and beautiful!

Binki said...

Superb, Allie. I love the lucky glass on the shore, and the grasses, too. It has just the right feel. A fitting tribute after all these years...

Leonie said...

Dear sweet Allie:
There comes a time in our lives when we finally come to terms with losses we never understood or dealt with or events that we never knew how to handle or face up to. Only time can bring us to that point - your talents and creativity along with your personal technical skills and a mental well being, finally have come together to a place where peace and acceptance
and the core of your soul have come together to bring a gentle peace and comfort to your heart. May you forever move on from here.....

with Love, L xx

lindacreates said...

I have been quietly watching the progress of your beautiful quilt. Your post is touching and I am so glad that Freddie will live on in your quilt.

Vicki said...

Allie, your work is beautiful, as always.
The "puckeriness" looks good to me--like the little wavelets you see on the lake.