A few years ago, my lovely friend Lucy sent me a big envelope in the mail, and inside were thirty of these hand-embroidered quilt squares. Well, there were twenty-nine completed squares, and the thirtieth was half finished. Someone in her family had made them, completed all but the last one, and then either became uninspired or passed away before she could finish the project.
They seem to have come as part of a kit (the pattern is pre-printed on the fabric) and so I have no idea what the original finished project was supposed to have looked like. There are hundreds of hours of handwork in these blocks. I loved them, love them, but did not know what to make with them, so they waited, neatly folded, in my fabric collection.
I pondered it. I took them out from time to time, laid them out on the worktable, considered the possibilities: there were so many squares, and they are 15” square, maybe a tablecloth? Two twin quilts? Curtains?
Then, last week, came the news that my dearest girlfriend is getting married, and that she wanted a quilt. I knew, then, finally, what the embroidered squares wanted me to do, and that I could still do it with patchwork.
Pieced together with sashing strips of lots of different fabrics, this quilt measures 102” x 112”, so big it would not lie flat in any of the rooms of my little house, so I basted it in sections. (Which explains the way the back turned out, and I hope she never looks at the back.)
It took a whole day to piece the top, and then I began quilting…well, you remember what happened next.
So I knit, and freaked out a little. You can’t just leave a quilt in that state! It cries out to be finished! Besides, my workroom was in a quilt-frenzy shambles, and I can’t live like that.
Enter Linda at the Bernina repair shop, who gave me a loaner machine to use , and when the loaner machine wasn’t compatible with my walking foot, also loaned me her OWN walking foot—I’ll let that sink in for a second—so I could finish this quilt. That is huge. Heroic.
So I worked like mad and got it done, and by the time you see this I will have given it to her. She is marrying the guy we all had a crush on in high school, and I hope their life together is blessed with health, happiness, and many cozy years.
Lucy’s gift to me came with only one rule: that when I made something beautiful with the squares, to show her a picture. Here you go, Ma: