Sunday, January 31, 2016

It's Okay, I'm Irish

I've got a funny story to tell you about being Irish.  So, growing up my father always told me we were Irish.  My maiden name is Purdy.  Not very Irish sounding but I never questioned it.  And, once I saw it in the Book of Irish Surnames.  Good enough proof for me.  So, I grew up identifying as Irish.  Irish this, Irish that.  If I lost my temper, my Irish was showing.  I went so far as to write an Irish poem on the wall in my sewing room.  It explained my skin color, etc.
When I asked my mom what her family ancestry was for a school project, she also said Irish.  Irish from both sides, that must mean I'm 100%... But, she added that it wasn't the same as my dad's family.  The Bradley's were "black Irish".  Okay, so you have to understand, I'm from southern California.  We were living in West Covina, which was a very culturally diverse area and I was 5.  I thought my mom was telling me that I was part black on my mom's side.  Like African American, black.  This did not help me understand why I was so dang white and my friends had skin like chocolate!  I did, however, understand why she could tan so easily.  This all made sense to me.  And, I was PISSED when no one would believe me when I said I was part black.
It took me into my late teens to realize that she was referring to the color of their hair.  Which was black, as opposed to my dad's family's tendency towards red.  I know.  I'm super smart.  Looking back, I feel super smart.

Mind you, either way, I'm still Irish. Until I get connected to my cousin who did the Purdy family's genealogy.  I'm in my mid to late 30s by this point.  She was wonderfully generous and sent me a copy.  I'm like, hey, where's the Irish?  She's like, nope, no Irish.  We're English/ Scots.  The woman was thorough.  We started in France but got kicked out.  So, we went to Germany, and got kicked out.  Off to England, guess what, kicked out.  Then to Scotland, back to England then kicked out again (or something like that).  Then, on to America.  We're like, 14th generation American.  Basically, the only people more American are the actual Natives.  Yeah, so why is it so important that I identify with anything other than American?  Who knows, it makes no sense...

So, I got this major complex about my heritage.  My whole life had been I lie.  I was super uncomfortable being attracted to anything Irish.  I stopped celebrating St. Patrick's Day.  I felt like that white chick who identified with being black and basically lied to everyone so they'd believe she was black.  It was embarrassing.  I was super embarrassed that my father basically appropriated Irish culture with no reason to believe he was, indeed Irish.  Totally weirded me out.  This coming from someone completely comfortable with being part black...  I know.  Ridiculous.    
So, then Rich and I had our DNA tested by  Turns out I'm 59% French/ German, 13% Irish, 12% British and 11% Danish.  All white.  Shocker.

LOOONNNNGG story, long.  I now feel fine with identifying with Irish culture again.  So, I started a Triple Irish Chain last year and I make it green, to boot.  Yes, you can make one without being Irish but it just made me uncomfortable.  Don't judge me too harshly...
I've had the base of the quilt done for quite some time but I stalled out when it came to the border.  I wanted it just like a picture I'd seen but didn't really know how to get there.  The instructions on the pattern I saw basically said, now make the border.  Add leaves.

All the pictures are a small tutorial on how I did the 2-tone border.  I started by cutting an 8 inch border in dark green and a 6 inch border of light green.  Overlapped them by 2 inches making them a total of 12".  Then, used my walking foot to free hand a wavy vine down the center of the 2" overlap.  You can feel the edge of the bottom layer with your finger, also I knew that my pins were 2" long.  As long as I didn't go above or below the pin, I stayed in range.  When I was all done, I trimmed the top layer to about 1/4".
Then, I mitered the corners.  Danged if one end wasn't too short.  So, I added on, then mitered.  This corner turned out pretty good.
This corner was a disaster.  I tried to avoid this awkward meet up but shit happens.  A lot, apparently.
Then, I made a bias tape vine.  This is just zigzagged on with invisible thread over the basting stitch and open edge.
Then, I added around 200 leaves along three sides.  These are zigzagged using my free motion foot.  Kind of interesting.  I set the machine to do zigzag but I had complete control over the shape, speed and size.  You can go backwards, forwards and sideways without having to constantly re-adjust the quilt as you sew along.  I'd say it was about 2 hours of  stitching for 200 leaves.  Much better than what I expected.
The finished quilt.  I love it!  It'll be awhile before I actually quilt it.  I plan on using it as a learning tool for my free motion quilting.  Dare I say, with a celtic design.  But, that's okay, because I'm Irish.  I can do that now.


  1. Great story and a fabulous quilt! Have a lovely week! Christine x

  2. What a beautiful quilt and the border is FABULOUS!!!

    How come only figured you out 95%? What's the other 5%? Could still be a tad bit black! hahaha!