One of my most treasured possessions is this raggedy old quilt. It’s not the prettiest quilt ever, and it’s not in the best condition, but it’s special to my family and to me.
My Dad, whom I lost this summer, lost his mother when he was only eight years old. Sick with the polio epidemic, she was far away and in the hospital for weeks when she passed. He only got to see her a couple of times and then she was gone. Ironically, I went through a similar situation this summer, when my Dad was far away in the hospital, and I only got to see him a couple of times before we lost him.
This quilt was the last quilt she made before she passed away. It was made on her treadle sewing machine, one that my Dad learned to sew on. The squares are all cut from old clothes, the batting is an old blanket and the backing an old sheet. Meant to be used, it has been used and loved and heavily worn over the many years it has been in our family.
I have always loved this quilt, even when I was a little kid. My Mom didn’t do patchwork, and we had no other quilts. I knew, even as a little girl, that I wanted to learn to make things like this when I grew up. This quilt is the quilt that made me a quilter. While quilting hasn’t always been able to take the front position in my life, it’s always been there, a constant thread. In the last year or so quilting has become a major part of my personal journey and therapy in becoming a better version of myself.
Several years ago I decided that I’d like to make a smaller-sized replica to hang on my bedroom wall. I took pictures of each boat and printed them out in miniature, and spent hours and hours at the fabric store trying to find the closest match possible. Over the years I have gotten it out from time to time to look at it, but hadn’t really started working on it until this summer.
A few years ago I did make a miniature sailboat quilt, but all in dark blue, as a gift to my Dad. He loved boats and he loved fishing, and I know he missed his Mom, even all these years later.
This summer I decided finally to finish the color-accurate replica. I started it at the beginning of the summer, and I am still working on it. I’ve been posting updates from time to time on Instagram and Facebook. Here’s my latest:
Now, more than ever, I am wanting to finish my little replica, so I can have a reminder of my Dad and the legacy of his Mother. Rather than making me sad, this quilt and my little reproduction make me feel comfortingly connected. Not just to my Dad, but to everyone.
I’ll be sure to share the miniature quilt as I make more progress, but for now I really just wanted you to see the quilt that started the whole thing.
Do you quilt? Or have another passion? Do you remember the time, place or thing that got you started?