Sunday, July 21, 2013

Grammie's Quilt

"What're your summer plans?"
"Not much, watch Dr. Who and work on my quilt"
"Oh, you're a quilter?"
"I guess, a newbie quilter, this is my first quilt"

This conversations played out at least a dozen times during the end of the school year and the first week of summer. I wasn't sure I could actually call myself a quilter, having not actually created any quilt yet, and being rather unsure of what I was doing still.

Then, plans, and my perception, changed. I got a phone call saying that my beloved Grammie decided to stop chemo treatment for the ovarian cancer she had been battling for three and a half years. It wasn't working, it just made her more sick, it was time. As heartbroken as I was, I knew immediately what I wanted to do. My quilt went on the back burner, and I started drawing up plans for hers-while watching Dr. Who, of course.
With classes done, and designs in hand, I made the drive to see her, and to spend some time with her and with family. Looking them over, her favorite was one of mine as well. So my little cousin and I picked out the fabric, and the cutting began. Looking back on the experience, it was the time I was kneeling in an aisle in the fabric store with some cut squares, surrounding a rolled fat quarter that I realized why the noun 'quilter' goes with the verb 'to quilt'. Despite my previous uncertainties, I was, in reality, a quilter. 

Since the best place to cut was our high kitchen counter, the whole family got to watch the project take shape. When it came to creating the layout, everyone jumped in, looking at the squares, helping me rearrange until you could really see the pattern I was going for. 
(If you look at the original pattern, you can see the yellow was a last-minute addition that made a huge difference!)

Momma sunshine was a big help getting it sewn together. I felt so spoiled, I had her all to myself for a couple of days as we watched movies and sewed the quilt top together. 

Getting it quilted was truly a God-moment. Time was of the essence, and Shirley Stills, the quilter recommended to me, had not projects waiting, and was able to long arm quilt the top in one day!

It was a newbies lesson in binding, as I watched several episodes of 'Chopped' and 'House Hunters' with Grammie, sewing on the blue silky fabric around the edges. And here I have to shout out to Amy Smart at Diary of a Quilter for her amazing Quilting 101 tutorials, which were a huge help in making this quilt happen, throughout the whole thing, but especially the binding. 

We hung the finished quilt up on the line, in the sunshine to take a few pictures...

And then I gave it to Grammie, who absolutely loved it. From the moment I gave it to her, she never took it off, and stayed cuddled under it for the next several weeks. That was the greatest reward, and comfort. Grammie has been a rock in my life, someone who has been there through everything, always loving me, cheering me on, supporting me. We were/are incredibly close. The quilt was a gift of thanks, and also something that could hold her, even when I wasn't there. Grammie flew home to heaven from under that quilt on July 15th, 2013, and while I do and will miss her terribly, I know she is more at peace now than even sleeping under a quilt made with love. She is home, and free of the cancer, the sickness, and the pain. 

Love you Grammie, always and forever.