Any Color’s All Right As Long As It’s Red (for Basil), Part 1

My paternal grandfather lived to be 91.  Born in Mississippi, he and his family moved to California when he was 2.  While he spent the 89 intervening years claiming a strong Southern heritage, epitomized by a deep love of fried catfish and hush puppies, he embraced the quirkiness that is California by inventing his own word, making up his own song, and spouting personal bon mots that became fact in our family.

“Any color’s all right as long as it’s red.”  This was his response to any inquiry regarding his favorite color.  In an era when men’s suits were limited to a few dark colors – black, navy, charcoal grey – Grandpa added a splash of color with his tie.  He sometimes wore a bolo tie when he wanted to shake things up a bit, but the cloth tie with those three-piece suits was red more often than not.

Grandpa Clark passed away my 17th Spring.  No one in our family ever recorded the words to his song, but bits and piece remain in our memories.  His word, “transmugliforcandanbumshamity”, was 29 letters of nonsense and serious fun to say.  I’ve always thought of it as an inventive curse word, but please feel free to create your own definition.

When I started making quilts in the 1990s, his saying about the color red popped into my head during a visit to a fabric store.  My immediate reaction was to think, “That would make a fantastic name for a quilt!”  And so I began to collect red fabrics.  Over the years, I built up a rather impressive stash of red. The time to make his quilt is now.

This quilt only uses a small sampling of that stash.  Either way, I think Grandpa would like it.

Any Color - Basil - Fabric

A small selection of reds.

Any Color - Basil - Background

A panel of red

Any Color - Basil - Background

Background close up

I will fuse items that represent Grandpa to this panel and add a bit of embellishment before making the sandwich and quilting it together.

This is the first in a series of four, one for each of my grandparents.

How do you remember your grandparents?

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