Monday, August 02, 2010

An Icelandic Quilt...

Coming up on the 16th of August are two significant birthdays in my family. My mum's 60th and my 3rd son, Brynjar's (uka Bryn) 5th birthday.

Just before my recent trip to Adelaide I was pinged into a conversation with my aunty Sýta (my mum's oldest sister - mum has three, they're all younger than her but Sýta is the oldest of the three - confused yet?)... She wanted me to call my s-dad and tell him there was a package arriving soon that would be addressed to him, and was mum's 60th birthday present from her family in Iceland. When my aunty realised I was actually going to be visiting mum around the time the package was expected to arrive, she said mum should open it while I was there and I needed to take photos of her opening it, and make sure Elvis Presley's You are Always on My Mind was playing while she watched the CD of photos that was included in the package.

We estimated the package would arrive the same day I was due to land in Adelaide.

As it turned out, the package had gotten to Adelaide three days ahead of me! The package had been kept safe and sound and unopened though. They were surprised to hear that I already knew about it and that it could be opened before mum's big day, but I think mum was very excited to be getting to open it "early"!

On the morning I was due to fly back out we set ourselves up to open the package - I found the required melody on my trusty iPhone and told mum she'd need to set up her laptop...
Is this the right way up?
They've packed this well!
Lovely ribbon, and a card!
Reading the card
(and the letter afterwards)
Yay, last layer!
What?!  MORE packaging???
Let's try it on the bed...
Couldn't be a more perfect fit!
Look! Seven sheep! - the significance of this is that mum is the oldest
of seven siblings  -  Mum could cry!
The Shepherd; sewn by littlest sister,
Elvis on the iPhone singing
You are Always on My Mind...
Watching a slide show of the quilt
being made...
39 members of the family helped
sew this quilt...
It took 56 get together's
over two years to make it happen...
By the looks of things my uncles and
male cousins did most of the machine
sewn parts...
There were certainly a lot of photos
of them at sewing machines!

However, the pictures also revealed that the women did most of the
hand-sewing, often on hands and knees...
The most amazing part of this story
is that the four flowers in the corners
of the quilt were sewn by mum's mum
who passed away in April of 2006...

Another amazing thing is that it fits
as if custom ordered, into the colour
scheme of mum and s-dad's bedroom.
None of the family have seen this room!

Some nice bits and pieces from the letter about the making of the quilt included a quote from mum's youngest brother, who in an attempt to reassure his two daughters about their sewing handiwork said something along the lines of, "Don't worry, she's turning sixty, she's half blind already and won't even notice!"  (he just turned 50 last month himself!)...

The process of sewing the quilt gave the family many opportunities to come together and apparently they didn't even squabble or feel the need to pinch each other much at all!!!

On the underside of the quilt is a patch that we didn't see at first, not until we were near the end of the photo CD, on it were the signatures of most of the family members who took part (there is even a photo of my youngest cousin, only 4, perhaps only 3 at the time, sewing a few stitches by hand, so GORGEOUS!)...  When we went to find the signature patch, we couldn't see it at first, but then we realised it had be cleverly disguised with a temporary patch sewn over the top of it...  Mum is going to use the temporary patch in a wall hanging she wants to make for over the bedhead.

What an AMAZING gift from her brothers, sisters, inlaws, nieces, nephews, and a great-nephew, too!


Rachael said...

How amazing and wonderful.

And your mum must know how very loved she is, as there is so much love put into a gift like that!

Kelli said...

I have a tear in my eye, this is just such a beautiful gesture and an awesome quilt. I am envious of the skills. Also can't believe B is going to be 5

Mr B said...

Oh how beautiful !

Tabs said...

I has tears too. What an amazing amount of forward planning your family did! We're more a stop en route at a flower stall by the side of the road type of family, and the worse off for it.

Good Job!