Dream Interpretation

This quilt represents a recurring dream I have had since I was a little girl. We used to live in a small house with silver aluminum siding right across from a railroad track. In my dream, I was separated from my mom by the railroad tracks—she at the house and me on the other side of the tracks. I couldn’t reach her. I’m just stuck as to how to represent her and me in this quilt. I need to be on the left side of the "track;" she needs to be beside the house on the right side of the track. I also want to add a quote onto the left side of the track. I would like the words to be readable, but I want the viewer to have to “work at it.” I don’t want them to be REAL obvious.


My mother was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Now, this quilt has new meaning for me. I think the track separating us represents Alzheimer’s. As in my dream…I can’t reach her.

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8 thoughts on “Dream Interpretation

  1. This seems to be the beginning of a special memory quilt, especially with the story that goes with it. My first thought was to add photos on fabric representing you and your mom with hers on a more delicate fabric that might give the impression of a shadow image. Good luck with the quilt. You will really treasure it when it is complete, i’m sure.

  2. You story has touched my heart.  I am currently working on designing a more traditional quilt dealing with memory loss.


    My first thought was also pictures, but I think that is really too literal for this art piece.  Have you ever done discharging using discharge paste that has been tinted with dye or paint?  It gives an amazing result, and I think you might be able to incorporate that technique on that black background.  I’m not sure how, but it would give you the effect of “coming and going” which is what the memory does in Alzheimer’s. ( I have a picture that I could email to you if you are interested in seeing the effect.  pandabolt27@bridgemail.com )


    You might also consider hand quilting. You could use colored thread and do the same general motif on both sides of the track, but have them in different scales, or be opposite of one another…..For instance diagonal lines from the lower left to the upper right on the right side of the tracks, and diagonal lines coming from the upper left corner on the left side of the tracks.  Diagonal lines always give a sense of tension which I sense in your description.  You could also leave the lines straight on your side, and perhaps more gentle and curving on your mom’s side depicting the stress you feel in the separation and the comfort and soothing that a mother offers her children.


    I wouldn’t get too literal with pictures;  I think you have a great piece here, and it has touched my soul.


    (Isn’t it funny how we are already helping one another out with suggestions, and the whole idea was to let the “experts” take over and do this on the show?!)    😉

  3. I love your inspiration for the quilt and definitely like what you have going.  I like the “log cabin” reference for the house.  I also really like the idea of discharging both metophorically and artistically.  But I’m guessing that might be a little hard to get yourself to give it a try on a quilt that is already looking so good, so my thoughts are of how it is constructed and if you have more of the background fabric available.  If it isn’t too difficult to unpiece the railroad tracks and the background, I would recommend trying to discharge very carefully on the fabric or removing the pieces to discharge and reattach. 

    As a design note, the first thing that pulled at me from seeing the thumbnails was that the RRtracks, even though they are freeform, go from corner to corner and It seems to section the pieces too perfectly and I think it might be more pleasing if it didn’t go directly corner to corner.  So again, I’m thinking about ease of taking apart and enlarging one side so that the tracks don’t divide so evenly the two halves.  If you enlarged the left side it might also accentuate your feeling of isolation at being alone.

    Another thought if you did leave the quilt as is and just embellish, if you use a discharge paste and it brightens or gives you something you aren’t happy with, a hand dyed cheese cloth or other thin fabric can be used as a veil or mask both figuratively and physically. 

    Hope you share with us your results!

  4. You are SO right about it being hard to try the discharge paste. Of course, if I decide to do that, I’d try it on something else first. It would be very difficult to remove the pieces and add them back, but you never know…I might try it.


    I REALLY like your idea of changing the corner-to-corner railroad track. I can’t easily add to the left of the piece, but I could add to the right side. What do you think about that? It would give me a little more room to represent mom too. It might be interesting to have a bigger black side on her side of the track. There would be some meaning in that too. I also like the cheesecloth idea.



    Such wonderful ideas about quilting and processes to use on this quilt…very insightful comments. I definitely will be hand quilting this piece. I want to put as much of myself in it as I can.


    Thanks to you all for sending such thoughtful comments. I love your ideas.

  5. Well, I looked at the piece again, and it would be just as easy to add to the left side as to the right side. I don’t know what I was thinking! I definitely am going to consider adding to the black so there isn’t such an evenly divided diagonal cut across the quilt.

  6. I’d like to see shadow images of your mother over a period of time – say every 10 years or so of her adult life fading out to a very faint one of her at present depicting her journey away