Celtic Knot Sampler Quilt, 1996
Signed: Lower right, top, gold embroidery
Patter : Philomena Weichek’s Celtic Quilt Designs
6×7 15” blocks with garden maze setting. Forest green on bleached muslin. Hand appliquéd, machine “set”, hand quilted.
Outside sashing forms the only border. Philomena’s had an odd effect since she used a continuous final edge that I didn’t like. I continued the garden maze right off the edge.
The maze was tricky. I strip pieced the dark frame and white sashing, and then mitered all the corners. I appliquéd a “cross” over top of the mitering so you can’t see any “piecing” seams at all on the top. I don’t know how Philomena did it; but I couldn’t see any seams on the cover photo, either.
Two or three of my blocks are set 45 degrees “off” from Philomena’s setting because I discovered too late those patterns were “cocked” to fit the book.
My quilting is probably not quite so dense as hers, but I carried the diamond fill all through the block, where she stopped where the diamonds met the bias appliqué.
This quilt commemorates Mom’s marriage to Dan Huggard in 1994. The design was a natural choice since Dan was an adamant Irish Catholic. The marriage was past the honeymoon phase before I finished the quilt.
One night after community band practice Mom was talking and so depressed I told her you have to consider your own well-being, and maybe that means she should leave him. At that point she let her hair down a bit. She was completely bowled over him, and thought that this could be an even better union than with my father. Turns out, once the ring was on her finger, he was done trying. She came close on the wedding night to getting in the car and coming home alone. After struggling to make it work for 4 years, she separated by moving into an efficiency and leaving him in her house. He didn’t get it. He thought not constantly fighting meant things were fine. Well, it was because she was trying to make it work, and fighting doesn’t get you there. He continued to drag his heels, wouldn’t move out, didn’t get a lawyer, etc. It was as though he thought she’d “get over it”. Not mind you, that he tried to “make up” with her or do anything nice for her.
People underestimate my backbone of steel mom because she seems so sweet. She doesn’t bluff or make empty threats. She not a Steel Magnolia –she’s as Yankee as they come — but close. Her approach is far less circuitous than a Southern lady. If she says something, that’s exactly what she’s going to do.
The capstone was when I took a day of vacation on the day he had agreed (with notary) to vacate the house. I went over about 9am, and made his life miserable. I wasn’t nasty, but I was obnoxious. I’d badger him about making plans till he blew up, then I’d wait about 5 minutes and start over again. I’d point out he agreed to leave *today*. I asked him where he was going (he’d made no plans). I asked him when his son was coming from NJ to help move. I got out the yellow pages and started telling him about the short-term places in there. I’d ask him if I should start calling places to get him prices on places to stay. When he started to watch the noon news, I stood in front of the screen asking him questions.
About 1:30 he told me that he would leave “tomorrow”. I said ok, and told him I’d be back then to help him. What time should I come? He tried to beg off, but it was clear he would get no peace from me till he left. I did come over the next day, and he left in short order.
Now (in 2012) Mom uses my father’s name and wears her rings from that marriage. The whole episode is best forgotten. In my youth, she drilled into me to know the man you marry for at least 12 months before you tie the knot. Many things can be hidden for a bit, but 12 months is long enough for uncomfortable traits to come to light — like a bi-polar swing, alcoholic recidivism, or abuse. Turns out she was right.