Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Trip into the Forbidden Room

Kitty Holey by Iris Werner
My friend Iris Werner passed away a few weeks ago. She was 85, the mother of one of my best high school friends, Lisa. Their house was the gathering place for our group of friends. It was fun - full of people and creativity. Iris painted and sewed. She made a gazillion quilts and I wrote about her quilting in my 2005 book, Quilters' Stories.

Iris had a room in the house that I never got to peek into - her sewing room. It held a massive amount of fabric, I imagined. She would warn me away from it, declaring, "It will make your eggs bad." Iris was known for making outrageous comments like that. At her funeral, she actually had a priest talking about her Kitty Holey series (like the painting at right).

This week, Lisa let me see the room.. Both our eggs are gone now, we figured it was safe. Here it is:

I imagined it as a mountain of fabric. Now there is plenty of clutter and wildness (lots of odd, stray fabrics) but nothing close to the volume of fabric I imagined. Maybe Iris thought it was a little messy, hardly anything I am afraid of. It is a light-filled room, surrounded with windows. The sewing machine sits at the far right of the photo. 

Thanks, Lisa, for letting me see the forbidden room as Iris left it. Her granddaughter Kristin will go through it now and pick fabrics she wants, how wonderful is that. I also got a picture of a pincushion on the wall beside Iris' bed, isn't it lovely. She was actually piecing a quilt for her first great-grandchild, James. All gingham blocks. We need to finish that quilt for her ...


  1. What a lovely post...and such a wonderful tribute to Iris...
    Thank you,

  2. Ha ha...I just love it. Nice to have kindred souls as friends.

  3. I'm sorry to hear your friend died. She sounds like quite the lady!

  4. Looks like lots of creativity going on in that room! What sweet memories you have.

  5. Iris sounds like she was a real fun lady! Love the "make your eggs bad" comment! LOL And the Kitty Holey painting too. So sorry she passed, but glad you finally got to see the 'scary' room. What wonderful memories you have of her.

  6. I love the painting and the pincushion! Iris was very talented and I'm sorry to hear about her passing. Plus her room ain't so bad (I've seen worse...) - but the "will make your eggs bad" comment is priceless.

  7. Hi Deb! Love your story. So sorry for the loss of Iris, she sounds like a hoot! I went through the same thing with my mother in law. Never saw the sewing room or allowed near it until she was gone. I wish so that she would have let someone in to learn more about her things and what she hoped for them. And maybe to learn a trick or two! Always fun to see the forbidden zone!

  8. My heart felt sympathy for your own and your friend's loss of a lovely lady. My own mother
    "Yama" passed away just shy of her 90th birthday last year...Mother's Day was tougher
    than I thought it would be. Years earlier she had my brother bring to the nursing home one
    of her many sewing boxes for me to take home. Having received many such boxes I didn't
    think anything of it. Included was a pin cushion she hand made. When my youngest was
    preparing for her 15th birthday that involves a special mass in her honor, we discovered my
    mother's religious medal pinned onto her pin cushion. My daughter chose to wear her
    Nana's medal as part of the church ceremony. I noticed Iris kept her medal this way too.
    Bye, D in RB