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 ~