Sunday, 20 April 2008

Life goes on

The big project is over, and I feel empty inside. A little proud, too, to have such a big work finally done, but more empty and a little sad. When I was quilting the Grandmother's garden for Kaija, I kept thinking about the grandmother's garden where it all started. In 1993 I was spending some time at my parent's home with my three kids during their long summer vacation. The house used to be our summer place when I was little. I remember the big house being built, and something about the earlier summers when we slept in the attic of the sauna. The log cabin was built before I was even born. From that attic I found many of the fabrics used in the quilt. Old clothes and rest fabrics from my mother's sewings were stashed there for future use in rag carpets. Luckily they were not yet cut in thise narrow strips. This way I ended up with pieces of flower dresses, nightgowns, table cloths, pillow cases etc. from four generations of girls and women. They all spent their summers, or part of their summer, in this lovely place by the lake. My grandmother and her sister, my mother, her four daughters and six granddaughters. That is a lot of memories. It would be such fun to seat all these girls in the garden for the late mid-morning coffee, "elvakaffe" like my grandmother used to call it, postponing the necessity to make some real food (stuffing us with sandwiches to keep the tummy quiet). We would sit in the front garden under the big rowan tree, where we could see the lake between the aspen stems. The sun would be shining, but there is shadow under the tree. A light warm wind from the lake, finches singing in the tree and the swallows over the lake. Wagtails running on the lawn, butterflies by the flower benches. There is the round garden table with four armchairs for the eldest, two benches by another table for the next generation and the two garden swings and the playhouse steps for the youngest. Perhaps strawberries with sugar and whipped cream, or icecream if the day is hot. The coffee drinking would go on and on like everything there does. It is like the time freezes when we go there, there is practically no outside world. The perfect place to start cutting some paper hexagons for a project as eternal as the peace in my grandmother's garden. You just have to trust that everything will go fine.

These rhubarbs come from that garden, too. I brought them to our own garden over twenty years ago, and they keep coming up every spring with their big red heads from the cold earth. In a month or so I will bake a delicious rhubarb pie and eat it with my own family in our garden.


  1. Ulla, this is a beautiful picture you painted with words. I can feel being there with all the girls on a summer morning.
    Your daughter will love your quilt, and knowing that it is staying in the family is good. I'm sure she will certainly treasure it.
    And now you need to start on something else!
    Rhubarb! My mom used to make rhubarb pie. Everyone misses it, because she never shared her secret how she made it so good. I think she put in part of her heart

  2. Thanks Ulla! All of a sudden, my childhood holidays with my grandparents came very close in my mind.....My rhubarbs are at the same stage as yours, and we've had the most beautiful weather for the last days - but still frost during night time.

  3. What a lovely story, the quilt, allthough already special, seems even more special now.

  4. Så sant det är, det du sa på min blogg!!!!


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