Friday, 1 November 2019

Tornado Dreams on November 1st

The base of the vortex.
This quarter's theme of The Endeavourers quilt guild was Dreams.

I was six when I first saw The Wizard of Oz on television. I had seen nothing like it in my young life, and it filled me with wonder and delight. What appeared on the screen- the plot, the characters, the music, held me entranced. I could not look away. When the tornado appeared, I was terrified of the looming, sinuous black column of doom, yet still I sat, transfixed. The fabulous songs in that movie became part of the soundtrack of my life, sung again and again. The tornado also incorporated itself into my life, but in a very different way.

Blue skies behind and green skies before the funnel.
Shortly after seeing that movie for the first time, I found myself staring into a black and green sky as an actual tornado pelted us with hail but missed us by several miles. Shortly thereafter the dreams started. Tornado dreams. And for the next fifty years of my life they returned once or twice a year to haunt me, usually when my waking life was in some kind of turmoil.

The tighter the isobars, the stronger the winds!
In the beginning, the tornados were far off in the distance but headed my way. As the years rolled on, they came ever closer and the dreams were filled with terror as I tried to get my loved ones down into the basement to safety, but, in the way of dreams, they refused to cooperate. Then, one night, the tornado in my dreams hit the house, and, astonishingly, I lived! That was the last tornado dream I ever had. (Except, not surprisingly, for one I had last week as I worked on this quilt!)

Somewhere over the rainbow bluebirds sit.
This quilt is about 23 inches/58 centimeters square. As usual, I challenged myself to use only the fabrics in my small stash. I further challenged myself to use only the fabrics of a single jelly roll: Flow by Zen Chic for Moda; and I further further challenged myself to use only squares. I would have made other design choices if I could have used different shapes and fabrics, but I like seeing what I can do when limits are imposed. So, here it is, Tornado Dreams on November 1st.


  1. Having just been caught in a Typhoon I can well understand how the possibility of a Hurricane could haunt your dreams for years Maureen ! This is a brilliant quilt that captures so well the movement and sense of impending gathering power of a Hurricane. So many challenges set and met too :)

  2. I have been in tornado country a few times and taken refuge in a basement when one passed within a mile or so and it was really scary. We are just used to gales and storms with trees being the biggest danger. Your piece brings this in the scary aspect and also the wizard of oz theme with the yellow-green squares that remind me of the movie. Despite the darkness there is a lovely play of light with the colours coming through too. Love it.

  3. I've never seen a tornado (except on TV) so I can only imagine how terrifying it must be. When I looked at your photo, before I read on, I felt you really captured the spirit of a tornado in your colours and quilting and now I see how it is conveying all those years of experience. I like the way all the limits you set yourself have come together to create such a powerful image. I hope that, apart from this quilt, you have no more tornados in waking life or in your dreams.

  4. I love the story behind your quilt and the way you brought it to life. The way you used the whirly pattern in the fabric of your tornado, and the quilting which looks so great on the back, are very clever!

  5. I too love the story behind the quilt, and you captured the tornado so well in your quilt through the top and the amazing quilting. Such a cool quilt!

  6. An amazing quilt, Maureen! Like Janine, I’ve never experienced a tornado other than on TV, and so I was fascinated to read your story, and to imagine what it must be like. You have captured the tornado so well in your quilting and the colours you used ..... such a cute little bird there, I can imagine it must be terrible for the wildlife too!
    I love the way your quilting gives one a feeling of the movement of a tornado.
    A wonderful quilt! Well done!
    Barbara xx

  7. I love the swirling patterns in the fabrics, and the way that the strong quilting dominates those squares, and makes them look fragile and disintegrated. And the back is such a strong image too!

  8. This quilt is so cool. The color and the quilting perfectly illustrate the theme. Afterall, nightmares are dreams too. I love how your quilting is imperfectly perfect.
    xx, Carol

  9. I stared at your photo of the entire quilt for minutes. I was studying the movement, even though the fabrics were squares. The changes in color in sections of the sky. You made a wonderful piece. Imposing some limits on yourself was interesting to read about, as was your dreaming of tornados for many years.

  10. Thanks for sharing this highly personal dream story with us. It certainly worked well into the theme. LOVE the inclusion of the bluebird! That was an inspired addition to your challenge quilt.

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  12. Fun Maureen. Love the bluebird and the stitching.