Saturday, April 4, 2015

Sailing Through Suez - and a story

Sailing Through Suez

In 1962 my parents and I emigrated to New Zealand on the
Chandris Line ship "Brittany". We sailed by way of Piraeus, the port for Athens, on to Suez
and through the Canal, into the Red Sea to Aden and across the Indian Ocean to
Perth, Melbourne and Sydney before arriving in New Zealand.

This journey made a tremendous impression on a 15 year old girl!
I loved every minute of it.

To say the temperature around the Canal, and especially in the Red Sea, was hot is an
unimaginable understatement.
There was a constant red hot glowing ball way up in the sky draining
the colour out of everything along the Canal Zone and through the Red Sea.
Then you hit Aden.

I do wish I had a photograph to show you, we weren't allowed to land
as there was rioting at that time, but from the deck the sight of those
huge dark jagged peaks seemingly going on forever left me speechless.
I have a book written by Pamela Mountbatten with a paragraph in which she
describes her journey along a similar route and her arrival at Aden, I quote:

"towering dark grey volcanic rocks splitting the horizon with their peaks as we came into 
harbour one morning". You will see now how those flying geese came into the quilt.

After that you head into the beautiful Indian Ocean - the sea incredibly green and the
sunsets and sky like velvet at night equally spectacular. 
Hence - Sailing Through Suez to remind me
 of that amazing journey which still has the power to move me to tears with the

A close up of the quilting - rolling waves in variegated thread. Widely spaced waves
didn't work for me so I went to town and did heaps and heaps!

This red hot fabric for the backing seemed quite appropriate.

This piece would certainly not be in existence without Sujata and
Cultural Fusion Quilts and this blog.
My intention now is to carry on and create
in cloth my memories of other special moments on that journey 
undertaken 53 years ago, also the return through
Panama a year later. Another series will give me the chance to live again
special childhood memories, part of what makes me who I am today.
Thank you Sujata.


  1. Wow I could really picture and feel what you experienced so many years ago. Your quilt is fabulous, and your wave quilting is the perfect touch. Thank you for sharing your journey!

    1. Thank you Chris - thinking now about my next story quilt.

  2. Very cool story. My parents were immigrants with a winter crossing of the Atlantic Ocean. I'll have think on that for a while.

  3. What a truly excellent quilt and what a vivid storyteller you are. Your colors, the quilting, the illustration of the back story - just perfect.


  4. Thank you for this beautiful story..I could picture the red sea as I was reading it. Small pieces of fabrics documenting such a monumental time of your life! I love those wavy lines and the red backing fabric. ''Sailing Through Suez'' is a perfect name for it and it looks amazing! I can not wait for more.

    1. Thank you Sujata, i am already thinking of my next port of call!

  5. Yes, I could imagine it too..great quilt and great great story...I love stories and quilts

  6. I've liked this quilt since you first showed the start of it. What a wonderful back story it has! I look forward to more of your storytelling quilts.

  7. Thank you, I think I am going to enjoy telling more stories.

  8. Wonderful story. At 15 you would have been very impressionable, and quite old enough to retain the memories of that trip. I can imagine that the Middle East would also have been quite a culture shock for you. I always admire people who can translate memories to quilts. Well done.

  9. What a what a great series to embark upon! Such a striking quilt and it really does capture the story you describe.

  10. What a gorgeous quilt!!! You made great decisions finishing this piece. And I love the story
    behind it, too. Thanks for telling it.

  11. Thank you all very much indeed, it's lovely to have your comments.

  12. What a wonderful story to match a brilliant quilt. Love the glowing green and orange.

  13. thank you so much for sharing this beautiful quilt and precious memory. Great quilting to add emphasis.

  14. Lovely quilt, and it really resonated for me as not long after your made your journey my family sailed the other way (NZ to UK) as emigrants. I have vivid memories of the voyage and this has really brought them back for me.

  15. Thank you Sally, Kathy and Kaja for your comments - Kaja do send me an email and tell me all about your voyage!


Thank you for taking the time to read and respond.