When someone gives you a handmade quilt, it’s like receiving a warm, enduring embrace. I’ve been given various quilts by family and friends, some just the right size for a nap, some commodious enough to shelter against cold winter nights, and some designed purely for looks, to hang on a wall.
My grandmother made the green and yellow quilts at the top of this photo—every tiny stitch by hand. My niece inherited my grandmother’s penchant for quilt making. I did not, though I did participate in one intergenerational quilting effort.
It started years ago when, during long roads trips with my husband, I began making quilt blocks decorated with counted cross-stitch embroidery. Each block represented the official flower of states we visited. My plan was to someday make a quilt for our bed. Then John suffered a paralyzing stroke. I became a full-time caregiver with no time or energy for embroidery.
My mother also enjoyed the logistical challenge of counted cross-stitch. She begged to finish the quilt blocks, whether we’d visited the states or not. When she was done, I showed the fifty quilt squares to step-daughter Jean, who is an expert quilter.
“They’ll never get made into a quilt,” I admitted with resignation.
“We’ll just see about that,” said Jean, as she took the squares from me. Before long, she delivered a finished quilt. My mother enjoyed the quilt until she died, and now I get to sleep under it.
(To celebrate my 75th birthday this month, I’m posting daily stories about the stuff I’ve acquired over a lifetime and can’t let go of—because of those stories. I invite you to consider your own stuff, maybe even share your stories.)