Are your Irish eyes smilin’?
I’ve never been to Ireland. Have you? Perhaps someday I will go.
I have included a picture of my mom and dad in Ireland. They were visiting friends there and in this picture they were visiting Giant’s Causeway on the Atlantic Ocean. I love the picture in that they look happy and healthy and my dad has his ever-present camera. My father documented the world through a camera. And my mom loved to travel and would have seen the beauty in Ireland in all its artistic splendor.
The picture has special meaning to me. One reason is I think it was the last big trip they ever took. They were there in September of 2001. Yes. That September. They were due to fly home on September 11th and were grounded in Ireland and couldn’t make it home for a while. As with everyone else that day, I was horrified, scared and tearful. My cousin who was living in NYC at the time was unaccounted for for many, many hours (she was later safe but in a somewhat tattered state for having had to walk home for many hours) and my parents were stranded overseas. But what came from that Ireland trip was the kindness and love shown my parents at that time by the Irish people, something they never forgot. So, thank you, Ireland!
The way my mind works, one thought always leads to another which leads to another and another. I was looking online for an Irish quilt block to make as I was thinking about Ireland. Well, that led me to wonder about Irish quilts. In my search I found a couple of web sites that I thought might interest you. The first one is the blog for the Modern Quilt Guild of Ireland. It’s found here: http://modernquiltguildireland.blogspot.com/. I’ll try to put it up on our blog too, as a blog we follow. When the blog states what it is to be a modern quilter, it says in part, “Modern quilting has its roots in rebellion [I love this statement the best], in our desire to do something different, but simultaneously its feet are firmly planted in the field of tradition. Modern quilting is our response to what has come before. We are quilters first, modern quilters second.”
Are you a “modern quilter?”
The second place I happened upon was this super article about Irish patchwork quilts. Since I am an amateur historian, fabric fiend and quilt lover (new and old) this article appealed to me on many levels. I hope it appeals to you, too. The article is titled, “Early Irish Patchwork Quilts and Traditions,” by Roselind Shaw at
Because of the way this article was presented on the web I contacted Roselind Shaw to see if I had her permission to link to it (she kindly said yes). We had a nice “electronic” conversation and agreed that the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum had some great stuff (see link below). I told you my thought process skips around a bit…
In Roselind’s article she speaks of a Grandmother Millar. The museum shows a picture of a woman named Annie Millar who was one of the quiltmakers who had a quilt in the museum. I asked Roselind if this may have been a relative of hers but she said she was not.
Below is a picture from the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum found at https://www.nmni.com/uftm/Collections/Textiles—Costume/Crazy-Patchwork. I strongly encourage a visit there, either in person or via the internet.
My favorite quilt in these pictures is the velvet star quilt. I can’t imagine making it. How hard would that be to get all those points made in velvet! Have any of you worked in velvet? I would love to hear what you have to say about it.
Here’s Annie Millar’s quilt.
Well – eat corned beef and drink green beer today and celebrate the Irish and have a very, very happy St. Patrick’s Day. — Betsy