**Sadly as it turned out she only had this quilt for 2 months but we never do know at the time when we do things how long anything will last. It now resides in a drawer at my house with an uncertain future since it’s too painful do any of us to look at for the time being. I’m still glad I made it so she could enjoy it for the time she had left. 2-22-17
I can’t believe how long it’s been since I last wrote. It seems that I always have one thing or another in the way of my writing. As I have written before, my mother had a subdural hematoma last November that caused some injury to her brain. She has made some improvement since then and can now use her right arm but not her right leg. Previously her entire right side was paralyzed for about 6 months. She has been moved around to a lot of facilities but is now in a place that has both skilled nursing care for her as well as assisted living for my step-dad. When I saw her in August she seemed calmer and happier than I had seen in a long time and she also seemed to be receiving excellent care. At one of the facilities where she was placed last fall, I brought her a quilt that I had made for her about 12 years ago. It was her favorite and she slept under it every single night after I gave it to her. The very next day when I came back it was gone. I was told by staff that it went to the laundry because apparently some chocolate had spilled on it sometime between when I left the night before and the following morning. I was promised it would be returned. It never was. Once I came home, I made many phone calls asking staff about it and describing it to them, I was promised they would look for it but it was never found. As much as I would have hated defacing it by writing her name with a sharpie marker on it, that is what I should have done.
After I left her the last time, I remembered a tradition in our family started by my aunt Grace where every woman in the family would make a quilt square any time a new baby was expected in the family. Then they were all stitched together and given as a gift to the new baby. We did this for many years, a whole generation in our family has these quilts. I even took over after my aunt had a stroke and made a couple of them myself. I decided to apply this idea to my mom. She has had some memory problems, so I thought if I made a quilt with pictures from throughout the years and signature squares from the immediate family, it would be something she could see easily and every day and hopefully remind her of all the love and good times we’ve all had.
For the signature squares, I cut out a 5.5 inch square of muslin and had each family member write a message and sign their name with a sharpie permanent marker. I made 14 “half square triangle” pieced squares out of a rose print and magenta pink for added visual interest. A “half square triangle” is where you take 2 squares, put them right sides together, draw a diagonal line and sew ¼” away along that line on both sides, when you cut down the line you end up with a square made of 2 triangles. Then I cut out 29 5.5 inch pink squares. Deciding which pictures to include was a very difficult process. How do you boil down a life into 29 pictures?? This part took the longest, but once I chose them, I copied them onto T-shirt transfer paper using my printer/copier, cut them out and ironed them on. I did the layout on the dining room table to form the rows. I used the rose print fabric between the squares horizontally and vertically and also as a border all the way around. I machine quilted vertically using an embroidery stitch and horizontally with a straight stitch and added a row of embroidered scallops along the top border in aqua blue (her favorite color). For the backing, I used a pink sheet for extra softness, as a bonus it had a row of white embroidered scallops already on it, I positioned those on the top of the back.
I have been working on this for about 6 weeks and finally finished it yesterday. The final step was to add her name in a large font applied permanently so it doesn’t get lost in the laundry since she is in a nursing facility. We typed this and flipped it backwards and printed it on a t-shirt transfer as well. I ironed this onto a pink piece of fabric and machine applique’d it on the back lower edge.
It went in the mail by priority mail this am so she should have it by Thursday. I wish I could be there to see her open it but I know she will like it. I also hope it makes her proud to know that I have the skill of sewing thanks to her and now my daughter is continuing the tradition using my mother’s machine.
After I finished it, I went outside to check on the garden. Last spring I planted a handful of forget-me-not seeds in my “zen” garden by the patio. My mother always grew this when I was little and they were always my favorites. Low and behold, there was one blooming!
Thank you mom ❤