I recently made a sample quilt for Quilt Market using some new fabric called "Prairie Rose" designed by Sue Daley, an Australian designer for Riley Blake Designs. I needed to come up with a name for the quilt in order to write a pattern, and it occurred to me that my husband's grandmother had come from Australia.
Grandma Vivienne's ancestors were Huguenots who had immigrated from France to South Africa to escape religious persecution. She was born in 1905 and her family moved to New Zealand shortly afterward as the war-torn country's economy was so devastated following the Boer War. Her mother and brothers had been kept in a concentration camp during the war. Vivienne was 12 when her mother died from health complications contracted in the camp. When she was 16, she moved to Australia as an apprentice to a Seamstress. While on vacation in Tasmania, she happened to meet a handsome young American, J. Cash Smith, from Utah. After he returned home, Cash asked his father, "What do you do when you find yourself in love with someone on the other side of the world?" His father told him, "If I had to swim the oceans myself, I'd go back for her." So he did. Go back to Autralia, that is, where they were married, then Cash returned to Utah with his new bride.
A city girl, Vivienne brought elegance to the little Utah town. A beautiful seamstress, she sewed lovely, flowy dresses (it was the 1920's), had excellent manners and was very formal and proper, for a dairy farmer's wife. She loved to garden. At age 65, she began painting, mostly roses, and pastoral scenes that surrounded their home.
There is much to admire about this lovely lady, and I keep a little inspirational saying of hers on the wall of my sewing room that I found tucked in an her old recipe box:
"I champion the right to be myself.
Dare to be different and set my own pattern.
Live my life and follow my own star."
All I have learned about Vivienne and her life seems to suit this quilt. The "Prairie Rose" fabric itsself, and the fact that it was designed by an Australian, speaks of her immigration halfway around the world. It speaks of her love of roses, and even includes some stars. Her little saying seems a perfect fit for her life and to remember her with this quilt.
Now, what would you name it? Here are some of the suggestions so far: A Quilt for Vivienne, Viva la Vivienne!, La Vie en Rose, Vivienne's Roses, Vivienne's Dream, Vivienne's Star, Vivienne's Journey, just "Vivienne"? Right now, I'm leaning toward Vivienne's Journey. And yesterday I sent the quilt to Australia for Sue Daley to have in her booth at the upcoming Australian Quilt Market in Melbourne. In a way, it was like saying "Bon Voyage" to Grandma Vivienne.