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The Anniversary Quilt

Beginning today, and running through May 28th is the Blogger’s Quilt Festival. Thanks to Amy of Amy’s Creative Side, quilters are invited to share their work by listing on her website.

I’m excited to participate in this event.  I think all quilts tell stories, but some certainly more than others.  This is one of those quilts for me:

Six months before my in-laws were celebrating their 50th anniversary, I started planning the “perfect” quilt. It would be in shades of gold, of course, and I knew immediately what it would be:  a scrappy Hunter’s Star. I loved the pattern, and I was anxious to try paper piecing. So I collected several prints, found a paper piecing pattern, and the right paper, and started in. Printing & cutting paper, rough cutting fabric and sewing and trimming and ripping and sewing again. And before I knew it, I had a small pile of boring blocks.

I was crushed. This was important. This was about quilting a feeling, and if I wasn’t feeling it when I looked at what I’d done, how could they? So I started again. It wouldn’t all be a Hunter’s Star – maybe I could add some other blocks? After all, one of the reasons I chose the pattern was that my father-in-law was a hunter. It was meaningful. So I started looking for other patterns that represented their lives, adding more fabrics along the way. And slowly, the pile began to grow.

Too slowly, as it happened. The anniversary party came and went, as did Christmas, and then a couple more.  I would pull it out occasionally and work on it. With great enthusiasm, but always with a bit of sadness about an opportunity lost. Delayed, anyway.

And despite all that, it still grew. Log cabin blocks for our family cabin. Pineapple blocks, both for their generous hospitality and grandchildren with a proud Hawaiian heritage. Peace and Plenty, my wish for them. A block I named Shining Star for their 4 grandchildren.  Last year, the layout was decided, and all the blocks were finished, except the center and 4 triangle blocks. For months I looked for applique designs that would work. The colors presented a challenge, and I just wasn’t finding what I wanted.  Plus, all of last year was devoted to a wedding quilt for my son and his bride. A quilt that would be finished in time.

A week after the wedding, I realized I’d had the answer in my hands for a year. The center of my in-laws anniversary quilt, and the 4 triangle blocks, are the same sunburst as their grandson’s wedding quilt. Right down to some of the fabrics.  The final assembly was easy, the quilting trouble-free. This quilt had found it’s time.

When I look at it now, I see far more of the journey than I imagined. I see the struggle to communicate my love and respect, the sewing and design skills I didn’t have at the beginning of the process, but did at the end. I also see how letting go of doubt and disappointment clears space in your heart and your mind.

But most of all, when I look at this quilt, I see two wonderful people I am grateful to know and love. Thank you, Mom and Dad ~

37 Comments Post a comment
  1. Fred & Shirley Holtman #

    This quilt means so much to us. We have it displayed so we can look at it every day. We know the love and hours of work and thought Sandie put into this wonderful gift and appreciate it and her more than she will ever know.

    May 21, 2010
  2. margaret #

    What lovely colors and blocks!

    margaret
    http://www.quiltsoflove.blogspot.com

    May 21, 2010
  3. What an amazing story! This is also an absolutely amazing quilt! I love how it has so much meaning!

    May 21, 2010
  4. Wonderful beautiful work !

    May 21, 2010
  5. wow i like your quilt.

    May 22, 2010
  6. Gorgeous I love neutrals the quilt is fantastic. Congratulations

    May 22, 2010
  7. Absolutely stunning! Your story of the challenges and how your skills and confidence grew during the making of this quilt is so interesting & inspiring. Thanks for sharing!

    May 22, 2010
  8. Oh my, I got a bit goose-bumpy reading your story . . . and then almost teary reading Fred and Shirley’s reply.

    What a wonderful quilt . . . and I’m guessing a wonderful group of people.

    Thanks so much for sharing. Regards, Sue

    May 22, 2010
    • Thank you. I had the same reaction when I saw her comment. We are very lucky.

      May 22, 2010
  9. A beautifully elegant quilt.
    Thanks for sharing the thought process behind it. I’m sure many people can relate to that.

    May 22, 2010
  10. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful quilt, but thank you even more for sharing the journey of how it came to be. What a treasure.

    May 22, 2010
  11. What a stunning quilt, and heartwarming story!!!!!!!

    May 22, 2010
  12. What a wonderful story, and what a beautiful quilt! Every quilt has a story, and I love this one. It made me a little teary. You must have a special family!

    May 23, 2010
  13. What an incredible journey that quilt had! Wonderful story and the quilt is beautiful.

    May 23, 2010
  14. You brought tears to my eyes. Quilts are so much more than bits of fabric and thread. It is the story behind the quilt, what each stitch and block represents to you, the quilt maker and the recipients of the precious gift, thank you for sharing your wonderful journey with us.

    May 23, 2010
  15. plein de douceur dans ces couleurs ,quilt très réussi félicitations

    May 23, 2010
  16. Sandi #

    Beautiful quilt, both for the appearance and for the meaning. I love that your in-laws commented on this post – its so wonderful to know that your effort is appreciated.

    May 23, 2010
  17. What a lot of love in your quilt for your in-laws. You are lucky to have such a wonderful family and they seem to appreciate you and your work. Wonderful!

    May 23, 2010
  18. Pat #

    Loved reading your story that goes with this beautiful quilt. It truly is a work of art and heart!

    May 23, 2010
  19. This is such a gorgeous quilt. The story behind it is fantastic as well. Thanks for sharing!

    May 23, 2010
  20. So very beautiful, and what a lovely story too.

    May 23, 2010
  21. Aahh. Beautiful quilt. Lovely design, love the fabrics and colors. And, of course, romantic story. What a special anniversary quilt!

    SewCalGal
    http://www.sewcalgal.blogspot.com

    May 23, 2010
  22. Lisa K #

    What a wonderful story and beautiful quilt! I’m also lucky to have wonderful in-laws, it’s such a blessing. Thanks for sharing!

    May 24, 2010
  23. Gorgeous! Wonderful setting and the center medallion is lovely!

    May 24, 2010
  24. That is really a wonderful quilt! So much detail….it must have been a lot of work.

    May 24, 2010
  25. That is a beautiful quilt, and a beautiful story. Thanks for sharing.

    May 24, 2010
  26. That is one great quilt!

    May 25, 2010
  27. Hi Sandy,
    My parents had their 50 th wedding anniversary almost 5 years ago and, like you, I wanted to make them a special photo quilt . They had just renovated their kitchen and I thought I would make a funky quilt with each one of us a photo on a mug. It was the ugliest quilt top I ever saw- I took it all apart kept the photo transfer pictures and left the project for awhile. I have since made them a wall hanging that hangs over a bed in their home. I made a large lone star bed quilt to go with it. For the wall hanging, I altered a design I found in an Australian Patchwork and Quilting Magazine. It worked out great and my parents love it .
    Your post captures some of the angst and worry I felt when I was making my parent’s quilt. I wanted it to be something really special that would celebrate and honor two people that I love very much.
    I think your quilt for your parents is stunning. I love that you made a companion wedding quilt. It continues the circle of love. Sometimes quilts need to percolate for awhile ..Finding the right design is the most difficult part.
    Thanks for sharing your marvelous special quilt and it story.
    Hope you are enjoying the many beautiful quilts in the show,
    Regards from a Western Canadian Quilter,
    Anna
    http://quiltmomsjourney.blogspot.com/

    May 25, 2010
    • Anna,
      I sometimes wonder what it would be like to practice an artform just for the fun of it? But, alas, quilting is not that for me (or for most quilters I suspect.) As long as we continue to quilt for the people we love, it will be as messy, complicated, heart-wrenching and rewarding as our relationships with those same people.

      Thank you for your lovely comment!
      Sandie

      May 26, 2010
  28. That’s a true beauty of a quilt – and I absolutely love the story that goes with it. Your inlaws are very happy people, and I’m sure they love their quilt nearly as much as they must love you!

    May 26, 2010
  29. What a lovely peaceful quilt. The light fabrics are very warm and you did a great job with shading using neutrals which is quite tricky. Sometime better late than never is very true.
    Come see my antique quilt entries
    http://utahquiltappraiser.blogspot.com
    http://starleyquilts.blogspot.com

    May 26, 2010
    • Thank you. I knew I was in for a challenge with the color scheme – but I certainly felt tested more than once. Getting good photos had proven to be interesting, too.

      Your work (and your antique quilts) are beautiful and inspiring. Thanks for sharing!

      May 26, 2010
  30. What a beautiful story and a gorgeous quilt. I’m happy to know I’m not the only one who “overthinks” these things, but the result is more than worth it! : )

    May 26, 2010
  31. It is simply beautiful. I bet your parents love it.

    May 27, 2010
  32. What a great story with a lesson for us all to let the quilt grow and evolve.

    May 29, 2010
  33. Anne #

    What a treasure for your in-laws and a real sign of your love and affection for them.

    May 30, 2010

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