It took a village of dedicated quilters to fulfill the wish of Joan to have her final quilts finished before she passes.
After publishing “A quilter’s wish before dying” in The Waynedale News, slowly but surely quilters started to respond. Some of them read about Joan’s dilemma in The Waynedale News while other quilters who lived further away had the article read to them over the phone by friends or family who read about her in the WDN.
Earlier today I stopped by Joan’s apartment. I had been warned by her aide Linda that she had experienced a rough night and had only gotten out of bed a short while ago. This would be a short visit because both quilts were ready for her to see: The bandana quilt for Grandson David is complete and her personal quilt is too except for some of the hand-binding work.
Neither quilt is completed as we had first imagined, but both are truly beautiful. The bandana quilt is tied instead of machine quilted and her personal quilt is machine quilted instead of by hand. By changing the techniques and with the mighty help of quilters they were both finished in record time. First Weezer came forward and helped me create the back of the bandana quilt using a large piece of “Cactus” fabric and tone – on – tone fabric with a similar color pallet from my fabric stash. After sandwiching it we begin to knot it with embroidery floss of various colors. Priscilla joins us that Saturday afternoon and helps us knot before leaving for work.
Soon I receive an email from Sharon who volunteers to take Joan’s fabric and create the top for her personal quilt. I had given up on the idea of a trip-around-the-world quilt because calculating the number of squares, and how to place them and the amount of additional fabric needed to complete it was too complex.
Since Joan wanted her two fabrics to dominate her quilt, I thought of Amish quilts made with a huge center diamond surrounded by triangles to square it up. Sharon comes over to Born Again Quilts, picks up the fabric and a quilt book with the pattern. A couple of days later she is calling me to tell me she’s dropping it off. Her top is amazing! Between Sharon and her friend they added sashing fabrics in teal and deep purple to the diamond in the square design to set it off.
Next up: I make a trip to the fabric store to purchase appropriate cotton fabric for the back and batting.
Now another email pops into my box. Carolyn Campbell of Carolyn’s Quilting happily offers to donate her time to longarm quilt it! I meet Carolyn at her home with top, backing fabric and batting in hand. We discuss what quilting design we think Joan would like and decide a floral would look pretty. Carolyn tells me she plans to start working on it on Saturday and by Wednesday morning I’m picking up a beautifully quilted quilt!
Now it is back to Weezer and I to finish binding it.
So today Joan sees the quilts for the first time! As Linda and I hold up the bandana quilt to show her the front, back and label which reads, “To my grandson David, Love, Gram 2016” she is overwhelmed. When she sees the quilt so lovingly designed and created, she begins to cry so overcome with joy and gratitude.
She never expected them to be done so soon or that with the fabric she had supplied they would be so stunning. She asked me to convey her gratitude to all involved.
Not wanting to tax her, I leave her with the bandana quilt and take the other to complete. I leave with a sense of completion: a simple request garnered so much goodwill, thoughts and prayers for a woman who now has her last two quilts completed in time for her to gift the one to her grandson David and enjoy the other in her last days.
Thanks to all for making it happen – you are truly blessed!
Lois Levihn is the owner of Born Again Quilts located at 4005 South Wayne Ave. www.borngainquilts.com firstname.lastname@example.org