Travels With a Quilt…and Haiku

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When one of the members of our quilt group travels to another country, she brings back fabric pieces for the stay-at-homes. We have all have taken turns to find and ferry back these much-welcomed souvenirs, with the result that I have a drawer full of  this largess.

Of course, I could use the bits of cloth in an art quilt, but somehow this doesn’t seem respectful enough. So today I’ve launched into a new project—to create a travel quilt. My plan is to sew some nine patches and have the small stand-out squares remind me of countries, friends, and memories.

Here, for instance, is a square that came all the way from Nepal. Actually, it did not come to me via the quilt group but through a young friend who was in the Peace Corps there. Imagine—she was close to Mt. Everest, the tallest mountain in the world!

Rising like thunder,

Dwarfing all else in grandeur…

Snow capped Everest.

Look… over here is a bit of cloth that came all the way from Africa. I have never been to Africa, but one of my friends in the quilting group journeyed to that far-away land with her choral group. Looking at that square now, I dream of a pride of lions prowling across the veldt, or of a great bull elephant at the waterhole while the sky blazes with sunset and birds racket out news that dark is approaching.

Roar, you proud lions,

For warm, velvet dark comes fast

And time to hunt nears.

Other squares tell of countries where I myself have traveled: Scotland, Bermuda, and of course Bangkok, Thailand, where our boys were born. In those days Bangkok was still unspoiled by pollution and traffic. It was an exotic and energetic city where water buffalo were driven to market through the streets, and where the dusky evenings were scented with frangipani and ginger blossoms. Here also is a square bought from a small quilt shop on Rokko Island, Japan. Japan, too, has changed immeasurably since I brought this fabric home, but on that visit there were cherry blossoms everywhere, their petals falling around me like pink snow.

Who now is watching

Those cherry blossoms open?

Remembered springtime.

This little striped square? It’s from Switzerland. If you look closely, you will notice the small edelweiss, the Alpine flower that is beloved by the Swiss. My aunt loved them, too, and she sometimes let me touch the flower she had carefully pressed in a book. It had, I remember, furry petals.

This square came by way of Belgium, and this one is from Germany—a country of great industry, the homeland of Beethoven and Goethe and the birthplace of Einstein. Next to it is a small piece of Hawaii, with its azure water and orchids … I remember how we danced on cool sand whenever I see this square.

To ukeleles

And the pound of surf on sand

We danced, feeling young!

My around the world quilt is almost complete, now. It needs a binding, so I think I will use fabric bought here in Raleigh, North Carolina. For no matter how much I love to travel the fascinating world around us all, I  am always glad to come home!

All that world offers

Can be found within these walls…

Warmth, comfort, and joy.

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About Maureen C. Wartski

I’m Maureen Wartski, writer, artist, wife, mother, grandmother; you can see that I have many of the bases covered. I was born in Ashiya, Japan, a (then) small town which lay cradled between sea and mountains. In the evenings, we would walk along the road that ran past Osaka Bay, and a great moon would rise out of the water to turn the world to silver. I’m told that my first words were, “Big moon!” All my life I have felt the tug to write something, draw something, put together something with fabric, string and color, and the urge to create has grown through the years. I suppose, then, that it’s a natural thing that this blog be full of the things that so many of you enjoy doing…drawing, making something with fabric, and writing. Yuri's Brush with Magic, my newest book for middle schoolers follows the adventures of a brother and sister, the magic of words, and the incredible magic of the natural world. I'd love to hear from you! You can send me a note at: maureen@wartski.org/ My blog is here: https://maureenwartski.wordpress.com/ Or friend me on Facebook!

6 responses »

  1. How very special to have shared with us the wonderful experiences of travelers we know and who care enough about friends to bring back fragments of their encounters with foreign lands and people. I think I was in haiku heaven during this blog. Maureen, at times it is your prose or the breathtaking quilts I see in your blog that grab me; this time the haiku poetry blew me away.

    I love the connection with your artistry overall that brings me the warmth of your presence especially on this snowy/rainy New England day in early March.

    • Thank you, as always, Fran… do you know that I have one of YOUR pieces in this quilt? It’s a small russet square with lines in it. You sent it to me from New England after one of my multitudinous operations!! I realize that I didn’t mention it in the blog for brevity’s sake… but I cherish the square nonetheless.
      love,
      Maureen

  2. Maureen,
    Lovely idea and project! This is going to be one to snuggle in when you’re chilled to the bone as well as when you need a pick-me-up or the reasurrance and comfort of friendship.

    • Indeed and indeed! There are a lot of quilts titled ‘friendship squares’ and ‘friendship stars,’ but this one is a sort of Irish chain…. which means that friendship has links that span the world? But I’m blue-skying here!
      Thank you, Linda, for your kind words!

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