Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Little Irish Love

Like most Americans, I’m a bit mongrel.  On my father’s side, it’s all Czechoslovakian.  On my mother’s, it’s all Irish.  My Nanny came from Ireland.  She died before I was born, and I’m sorry I never got to meet her.  I’ve heard stories about her though.  She married a ne’er do well and so needed to take care of herself and her daughter.  For years she ran a boarding house for firemen and policemen. In Brooklyn.  (Irish American enough, do you think?)

nanny web

My brother says she had a close relative  hung by the British.  During World War II when Winston Churchill would come on the radio, she didn’t, shall I say, exactly root for England.  My father, who was stationed in England, just laughed.

She was mother to Josephine, my Grammy.  (More on Grammy another day).  Grammy married Stephen Lynch who had come from Ireland with his brothers. 

grammy and stephen lynch web

I love this photo, how Grammy looks so assured and serene, while my grandfather looks like he can barely stop long enough for the photo to be taken.  Did he know he didn’t have long to live?  He died of tuberculosis when my mother was only a year old.  Though my Mom’s name was Florence, I grew up hearing my Dad and all her friends call her Micky.  It didn’t occur to me to wonder about this for the longest time, so I was in my teens before I heard the story, how when she was a baby, her father rocked her on his lap, laughed, and called her his little Irish Micky.   Then Mom explained that the term “Mick” was actually a racial slur against the Irish.  Huh.  She laughed, too.

And here I am, hoping and wishing I get to Ireland someday.  I want to visit.  Oh, very, very much.  My brother has gone several times and, not being at all shy, has wandered into pubs and asked about the Lynches and where in Ireland do they hail from.  I am not quite that outgoing.  But I do want to breathe that air. 

So, here’s my little Irish quilt.  Green for Ireland.  The Irish Chain for obvious reasons.  The background fabric is flecked with gold metallic and I chose it to suggest a bit of leprechaun treasure.  The quilting, though tiny, is meant to at least hint of Celtic knots.  Oh, I’m looking forward to putting this up for St. Patrick’s Day.

It’s hard to see the quilting in the photo.  I used these EQ motifs.

irish chain borders

I knew I was going to finagle just a little in the middle of the border section but not bad.  I quilted everything in the ditch and then did the little nine patch blocks, using Golden Threads tissue paper as usual.

Then I went for the borders.  I made a bit of an oops as I was drawing the bottom border so I switched to the blue ink in my tracing so I knew which lines to follow.

I finished with some gentle curves in the narrow borders.  Oh, I like this one!  I’m hoping this doesn’t sound arrogant, but really, the photo doesn’t do this justice.  It’s way cute.  I’ve got more ideas for nine patches coming up.  For instance, it’s been a bit since I’ve indulged my Kaffe Fasset love.  Hmmmm.  But for now, how about ending with an Irish Blessing?

May the lilt of Irish laughter Lighten every load,

May the mist of Irish magic Shorten every road,

May you taste the sweetest pleasures That fortune ere bestowed,

And may all your friends remember All the favors you are owed.


  1. I loved hearing about your history. Your mini Irish chain is wonderful. A perfect quilt for the Irish in you.

  2. As my neighbour (who is from Donegal) says "health to enjoy it"!


  3. Oh, love your little Irish quilt! Very pretty with the Celtic quilting. I think most of us are mongrels these days. Your Irish saying is wonderful.

  4. Terrie,
    Your little Irish quilt is really lovely-
    My husband is from Newfoundland which is an eastern province in Canada. Like Ireland it is an island and many of the people there feel a great kinship to Ireland. Newfoundland has some beautiful coastal areas with great green vistas and rocky cliffs.
    Like most Canadians, I am a great grand child of immigrants- Swedish, English, Scots, Irish and American. My American great grandmother's last name was Riley ( a pretty Irish name - I am told she always said she was black Irish- I do not know what she meant by that)
    Anyway, I have always wanted to visit Ireland- came close a couple of times but still have not got there- perhaps some day.
    There is a lovely Irish blessing that goes like this:
    An Irish Blessing

    (A Blessing from St. Patrick)

    May the road rise to meet you,
    May the wind be always at your back,
    May the sun shine warm upon your face,
    May the rains fall soft upon your fields,
    And, until we meet again,
    May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.

    (Traditional Irish Blessing; origin unknown,
    although some attribute it to St. Patrick.)
    It is one of my favorite blessings,

  5. What a pretty little quilt! I especially like how you used the quilting motifs from EQ. It really accents the design.

  6. thanks for sharing your family history, Terrie.
    Love to read it.
    Pretty little Irish quilt, too. :)
    What size is the small coloured cubes?

  7. Great story, great little quilt. And the blessing is wonderful. I really enjoyed this post.