It's funny, how sometimes someone else's gift turns out to be yours too.
My friend Holly found this quilt among her grandmother's things recently. It's an unfinished quilt top and I'm not sure who made it or when. But because I'm a quilter, she asked if I might take a stab at helping her finish it.
What a gift! Not for her (well for her, sure), but for me too.
I've never met Holly in person, she's one of my online friends -- and so I've never met her family either.
But there's an unorganized sisterhood of quilters in the world. Many of us haven't met each other either, but we might run into and talk to each other when we wait in line at the fabric store, or like this situation, come across a creation someone else started.
I took Holly's quilt top to the fabric store last weekend, and matched some light blue denim style (a chambray, really, a very light denim fabric) to the existing material for the border & the backing.
The line at Hancock Fabrics was desperately long due to an apparent fire sale on fleece, which goes like hotcakes here in Denver this time of year, so I chatted with the lady behind me in line, and we started talking projects. I had Holly's grandma quilt in my bag, and I showed it to the lady, and explained my mission: to finish the quilt for my friend.
The lady gasped with a big "Ohhhhhhhh" as she looked at the ancient fabric.
It's an honor and a privilege to be able to finish an unfinished quilt. My husband the musician said it's like the honor that comes when you're asked to finish someone's symphony after they've left one unfinished after they've died.
Yes, it really is.
For us quilters out there -- we're a long line of people, related or not, who recognize the value of even the plainest of quilts as a creation of love and an act of artistry.
For me, it's a pleasure to work on this quilt. As I started to hand quilt it tonight, I was so glad I made that decision instead of rushing to finish it on my sewing machine. To hand quilt a relic like this feels like it's getting its justice. As I sewed tonight, I wondered about the lady who made it, what caused her to be unable to finish it. I think about whether someone will ever need to finish a quilt for me generations from now. I gently mended the worn areas, and hope that it will hold.
But ultimately, I know that it will become what it was intended: Something that keeps people warm at night, wrapped in the love of the family member who made it, and with a little extra from me.
And that's what makes me feel good.