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A Quilt for A Quilter

June 12, 2016

Wow, I can’t believe that it’s been over 3 years since I’ve posted anything here.  Actually, I can believe it, because the last 3 years have been a bit of a whirlwind.  New job, new city, new house…and while I have managed to squeeze in time at my machine here and there in the last few years, it’s been difficult.  But I miss it, and decided recently to make an effort to get back at it.

I have been working at finishing some long-neglected WIPs, as well as starting (and finishing!) some newer projects, too.  It feels good to actually have some finished projects to share.  It’s been far too long!  The quilt that I’m sharing today is from the second group; a newer project that was a priority so it was bumped to the front of the line.

First, some context:

My maternal grandmother, my “Nana,” has always been the quilter in my family.  She took a class at some point in the early 80s and was hooked.  It was from her that I learned fabric buying tricks such as “just get a yard if you love it!” and “it’ll just work in somewhere, you know?”  Clearly, the absurdly large stacks of fabric in my house are her fault. :)  I also learned from her to being brave and bold with colour combinations, to enjoy the process, and, maybe most importantly, to be social in my craft.  For many, many years, when she and my grandfather lived in Kingston, she belonged to a quilt bee at her church that would quilt tops that people brought them, and the money they charged would go to charitable activities. Often, people would bring them a poorly constructed flimsy that they had found in an attic and the intrepid ladies would have to find a way to make it work!

During my undergraduate degree at Queen’s, when I was also living in Kingston, I would have dinner at my grandparents’ house every other Sunday.  My Poppa would pick me up, and then Nana and I would sit and have tea and quilt, on either side of her large frame, while Poppa would fuss over whatever roast he had decided upon for dinner.

Nana has made her 2 daughters and 5 grandchildren a few quilts each, including special wedding quilts for both my brother and sister.  She usually pieces her quilts on her vintage featherweight, and then she quilts them by hand.  The hand-quilting has always been her favourite part of the process.

Last summer we were talking about her next project, and she admitted that there were some favourite stacks of fabric on her shelves that she didn’t think she would ever get to, in part because she was 88 (although I could frankly make a similar admission at 36), but also because her piecing just wasn’t what it once was.  I offered to piece a few tops for her with her favourite fabrics, and then she could spend the winter quilting them.

Well, the universe intervened, and in November she took a nasty spill and broke her right (dominant) arm and dislocated her right shoulder.  She has since mostly recovered, but it is clear that her quilting days are behind her.  So for her 89th birthday in April I finished up one of the quilts as a gift:  the first time that she has been on the receiving end.

The colours are more her than me, but the design is more modern and minimal than what she would have done, so while it’s not the collaboration that I thought it would be, there is still a bit of both of us in it.  And she’s thrilled with it!

8 Comments leave one →
  1. June 13, 2016 6:23 AM

    Lovely story and nice to see you back!

  2. June 13, 2016 6:26 AM

    What a great story, and how wonderful that you were able to do this for her! The quilt is beautiful, I especially like the binding you chose. I’m sure your making the quilt and giving it to her meant a lot to your Nana!

    • June 13, 2016 8:52 PM

      Thanks, Daisy! For me quilting is always a little bit about storytelling along with making a physical object. I’m glad you like the binding…I auditioned a stack of fabrics but there was something about this yellow that just fit.

  3. June 13, 2016 11:36 AM

    Such a nice story–there are seasons in our lives. I am quilting like fury now because (at 47) I probably have more days behind me than ahead of me. Now is the time because you never know when life will change.

    • June 13, 2016 8:57 PM

      So true, Deanna. And I have so many quilts in my head that I really want to make!

  4. June 14, 2016 4:09 PM

    ,Es una colcha preciosa, me gustan las telas de Nana, supongo que ella estará muy contenta.

    Saludos ana-ane

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