November heralds the end of autumn. The year has gone by quickly and is winding down as we enter the eleventh month. On the eleventh day of this eleventh month, on the eleventh hour, we mark Remembrance Day – a time when we pause and remember those who served in the armed forces to give us the freedom we often take for granted today. This time to honor our veterans has inspired more than a few quilts, as memorials and as gifts to families who have lost loved ones in military service.
Each month this year, I have been sharing the progress of my quilt about time. While the poppy is a heavily featured flower during November, the birth flower is actually the chrysanthemum. It seems fitting that one of its meaning is compassion, along with friendship and joy. It is a flower with immense diversity – from puffy to spindly, in all sizes and many colors, including yellow, pink, red and white. It is a flower used to represent autumn in many paintings in China where it was cultivated as a flowering herb. It is also the official flower of Chicago, Illinois.
The large “pom” blooms are not just one single large flower, but rather a grouping of many tiny flowers. Recreating this in fabric required many small pieces of many different fabrics – 35 to 50 per flower!
Wouldn’t you know that this would be the only birth flower for the month? Every other month had at least two blossoms listed, allowing me the option to choose an easier image for the smaller flowers. As it was, I was obliged to simplify a chrysanthemum into 22 petals for the rest of the design.
Here is November in my quilt about time.
The birthstone for this month is the topaz. In history, all yellow gems were known as topaz, but it was often confused with citrine and smoky quartz which are completely unrelated geologically. The actual word ‘topaz’ comes from a Sanskrit word meaning “fire”. Its most prized color, called Imperial Topaz, is a rich, deep orange with pink undertones, but it also comes in yellow, pink, purple, blue and a myriad of other colors. This gave a lot of choice, but for my quilt I stayed close to hues of gold and orange. Here is how it will look on my quilt in the 11 o’clock position, representing the 11th hour as well as the 11th month.
While the thermometer is dropping as quickly as the topaz-colored leaves, I hope you are snug and cozy and surrounded with the warmth of beautiful quilts. As yet another month passes, may you be encouraged by this resplendent autumn and thriving in your current fall projects. And may we never forget the sacrifice of the brave men and women who gave their lives in service to our country.
I thank my God upon every remembrance of you.