May 28, 2007

Mom's Quilt

The quilt survived the wash without mishap - a huge relief to me. So today, Mom's birthday, my sister and I met up at my Mom's house and I gave it to her. She loved it, and I am thrilled with it. All the muttering and cursing is forgotten, and I look back and say it was worth it. Labors of love aren't supposed to be easy.

I bought the fabric to make what turned in to this quilt years ago, after reading about flannel quilts and deciding that's what I wanted to try. I designed it for myself - these colors and a third fabric of striped fall colors on gold. It was going to be alternating pinwheels. I forget exactly what I had in mind. The fabric was cut and I was well started on the half triangles when my Mom got sick. It was huge, scary and she felt pretty crummy. The quilt became for her.

My progress was slow, though. My sewing machine didn't have a permanent home and I would work on the quilt for a few days, but then put away my machine to have use of the table. It would take awhile to get it back out. In the meantime, I'm getting settled in to working and life is in pretty constant turmoil. Finally, though, I finished all those triangles. Only I was a new quilter, so I hadn't made any test blocks. After sewing all those half triangles, I put the first of my pinwheels together. I hated it. With a passion. It was so ugly. So, I pulled the pinwheels apart and regrouped. The striped fabric triangles were set aside, and the remainder was moved around in to this setting.

Except then we were engaged, and I moved in with Alex. We were two couples in a two bedroom house, and my sewing machine most definitely couldn't be sitting out regularly. So, more months passed. Life settled out and I eventually had my machine, and a wedding to plan. Finally, though, I had the squares and I'd made more half triangles to add some squares for a better size. I didn't have quite enough, though, and it was now years after buying the fabric. I wasn't likely to find more. Plus, I wanted something to cool it down a little. That's alot of red and green.

So, the center square was born.

There wasn't any debate I knew right away what to do, and when I told my sister she immediately agreed. A favorite family photo of my sister and I on the day she was born. What else? The embroidery played on the leaves in the flannel and it all went together just right. It was done. Well, the top was done. Next came the hand quilting. Gwen really liked this stage of the process. Every time the quilt was out she was on or under it, and I started warning her routinely that this quilt was not hers. But her Grandma would share.

I was cruising right along, despite the wedding planning, and had planned to have this for Mom at Christmas. Except flannel slips, and the sandwich had slipped while I moved it around quilting, despite the basting. Right before the wedding, I realized that I couldn't finish quilting the final side unless I added a little to the backing; it didn't reach. Only a little, but this is a place where a little counts. However, there was no way it was happening in all the chaos immediately before and after the wedding. So, it sat there. I thought I'd still get it done before Christmas, but I didn't feel good and I figured after spending years on this quilt it would be silly to mess it up now. I finally took care of it in February or March and finished the hand quilting almost immediately. And then I put off the binding, and as you know that led to this weekend, muttered curses and cramping hands. But, it's done. And I love it. And she loves it.

And that makes it all worth it.

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