Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Spirit of Quilting

I have always been fascinated by quilting. As a teen I had made my first tie quilt with my grandmother and I still have to this day. I think quilts tell a story. My story about my second quilt takes place a few years ago. You see, my Dad had passed away when I was 19 yrs old. I was living at home when he died, having only completed my first semester of college. When he had passed away it took a long time to go through his things. One thing a cousin had told me was when her mother had died she had wished she hadn't gotten rid of her clothes so soon. She regretted it. With that it mind, I saved two bags of my dads clothes and put them away in the closet.  Meanwhile life went on, I went into the healthcare profession, made new friends and continued to think about my dad's clothes. I had made friends at the Institute, and one of my friend's moms was an amazing sewer, she just loved to quilt. I remember thumbing through one of the quilting mags and out popped the idIea for me!  I had alot of these plaid shirts my dad wore to work everyday, my mom had bought him every christmas ,he didn't like them :)  And thats the running joke in my family. But those were the shirts that I had saved, and thought would be easier to sew with.

 I had the article tucked away for future keeping. A couple of yrs later, I started this project, with another friend that is an amazing person. She just had a love for making things. Not that me or my mom didn't, but the crafty, homemaking, seamstress extordinarre was not a gift bestowed to me..I'm working little by little. We had a picture collage that hung in the family room that my dad had made, and it broke several years ago. He cut pictures into all kinds of funky shapes and stuck it in the big frame. It looked nice, but when the frame had broke, an idea had been planted. I worked with my friend Joyce on this memorial quilt. Now, more times than I can remember we just had fun and chit chatted. It was so fun to get to know her. But again life happened, her kids were getting married, and I had just got into nursing school. So a project that shouldn't have taken so long was taking I think 2-3 yrs...we weren't on a schedule. She gave me this really neat idea of taking photos and scanning it to the computer, and then printing the pictures on fabric that goes in the printer. What a crazy concept? But, as I started to cut my Dad's shirts into squares, and assemble the pictures, I was so excited to see the finished product. We used a background of blue, because this was a gift to my mom to hang in her home...but little did I know.

The inside are the pictures printed on the fabric, interspersed with denim. Then the outer squares are my dad's work shirts with the white. What ended up happening was we had gotten the squares sewn together, then my mom had gotten sick, and later passed away. My wonderful friend Joyce, helped me to finally finish this. Sadly my mom never got to see my finished product, but it was displayed at her funeral. As I had said earlier, it was a gift. But you know,it was very comforting to me to have this displayed in my home. A quilt is there to give you physical comfort, something that you can curl up in perhaps. But this spiritually comforted me in the months and years following my mothers passing. Its a memorial to my family and I love that. That is the spirit of quilting.

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