Sunday, April 3, 2011

Motivation to Quilt

More than ten years ago, my older brother Greg came back from living in the Midwest for a short while. He returned with a lovely art quilt with a large hand-appliqué of Orion on the front. My interest piqued when he told me about how he had been introduced to quilting. And so my interest in quilting and all things crafty began. Though I would be surprised if he's picked up a needle and thread since, you can't say the same about me. (I eventually weaseled the Orion quilt out of his hands and into mine. Well... into Harper's technically.)

Let me provide full disclosure here: I am not a quilter. Sure, I'd love to be. Alas, I am not. Perhaps I will someday call myself a quilter after lots and lots of practice. Since learning about quilting from my brother, I have started and not finished four quilts. I'm not even including the piles of fabric that I hope to someday plan a quilt around. I'll get to them someday... but today is not that day.

There's one exception to all of these hibernating quilts. I finally finished one in January. Last year, my beautiful mother-in-law battled with cancer for the third time. When she first told us about the diagnosis, I immediately had the idea of putting together the sort of tribute quilt that she often does for her ill friends and family. After months of planning, designing, trips to the craft store, trips to the post office, cutting, sewing, trial, error, and advice from the good ol' Internet, it was complete. Quilt squares were decorated by every one of her children, their spouses, her grandchildren, as well as her husband. All of my in-laws did such creative things with their squares, and you could tell there was a lot of thought put into each sentiment. I also used photo transfer paper to get their wedding photo in there, which was just lovely. My favorite part was the crazy mosaic-like scrappy purple strips that I came up with. Maybe someday I'll do a tutorial on that. I do regret not taking proper photos of the finished quilt, but I'll include what I have at the bottom of the post (just don't look too closely at the noob mistakes). I also regret not getting any photos of the backing, which was a well-coordinated print that tied everything together nicely.

The quilt was complete around the time that she was given the exciting news that the cancer was GONE GONE GONE! What better way to celebrate than to give her this gift from her entire family? It was a day that I will always remember and cherish. It was quite special to her, but it was also an experience that was quite overwhelmingly emotional for me. I am so fortunate to have such a wonderful person in my life. She is warm, caring, thoughtful, patient, talented, loving, and a priceless source of inspiration. She's given me comfort and laughter in a relationship that I never expected to have with someone else's mom. She's not just an in-law, she's my family.

Every seam stitched (or ripped!), every swipe of the rotary cutter, every press of the iron, and every bit of work that went into that quilt came from my heart. More importantly, all of the squares that her family assembled represent not only her legacy, but also... well, let's have The Beatles say it: "The love you take is equal to the love you make."

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