Sunday, September 28, 2008

Mom's Quilt

Had the nicest visit with my mother this afternoon. I call her every Saturday or Sunday even though she knows most of what I will tell her before I call as I send several emails a week. I get the update on her activities at the assisted living and news of my siblings plus I always fill her in on news of my kids and grand kids, what I am working on at the time and then send her photos when I email.I know she looks forward to my calls as well as visiting with my 2 other sisters and 2 brothers on most weekends. She is so busy at the assisted living center where she lives during the week it is hard to catch her in her room.

She has Parkinson's disease as well as had a pretty major stroke several years before that. She had a hard time at first after she had her stroke and again after she was first diagnosed with the Parkinson's but manages the challenges pretty good now. The stroke left her with a bad shake in her rt. arm so with the added Parkinson's she pretty much can't use her rt. hand now and she was right handed before all her problems.

To make a long story shorter, my mother was a sewer her whole life and sewing included tailored wool suits and coats, upholstering furniture and everything in between but never any quilts. I never had a purchased dress until I was in high school but even after that most of my dresses were stitched by her or me as I grew older.

I started quilting in 1981 and a few years later she asked me to design a sampler quilt for her to make. Still was drafting all my quilt patterns on graph paper at time so got it all designed and the patterns made and met her at a fabric store to help her decide on fabrics. She knew how to sew so piecing was easy for her and she pieced several of the blocks before she got busy doing something else but then the blocks, pattern and remaining fabric got put away for a while.

After her stroke she had to learn to use her left hand to eat and write plus learn to walk, etc. and was so concerned that she might not be able to sew anymore. Broke all of our hearts as that was something she truly loved to do. I think her determination was so strong that when she got home she started trying to sew right away and made a suit with pants, skirt, blouse and lined jacket for herself. They turned out great and she still wears them today. It took a while and was a challenge but she did it.

She had major problems pinning the seams as the shake would cause her to poke herself with pins no matter which hand she held them in. She learned to hold the fabrics together with her left hand without pins and would run them through the machine while the shaky right arm was wedged under the machine to keep it from getting in the way of the needle.

After the suit was finished she got out the quilt and proceeded to finish it. She had to use the rotary cutter (I still shudder when I picture her using it) and slowly she got all the blocks pieced and the top done. She had me mark it and had the ladies at the senior center quilt it for her.

One of the women at the apartment complex where she was living at the time convinced her to enter it in the county fair. She was so excited to win top honors on the quilt and her family were all so proud too.

What amazes me still and anyone else that looks at the queen sized quilt is how she did it one handed with no pins to speak of. Her points are exact and if they weren't she would rip them out having to pick out the stitches with a pin or the point of the scissors with her left hand while something weighted down the block.

When she moved to the assisted living apartment a year ago she had to downsize and gave a lot of her possessions to her kids & grand kids. I ended up getting her quilt and I just love it! One section of flying geese is pointing the wrong way but I will never tell her and no one else has mentioned it. She would hate that it wasn't absolutely perfect. (I wonder where I got my perfectionism from...hmm?)

One time when I was visiting she had just gotten it all pieced and we laid it on my parents bed to look it over. I still remember my dad standing in the doorway and looking at the quilt and saying to me how hard Mom had worked to get it done and how proud he was of her and said it was just beautiful. He died about a year later and that is one of my fondest memories of him.

The Parkinson's has gotten worse the last two years so when Mom moved a year ago she gave her sewing machine to my oldest daughter. Thought she might wish for it back but says she just doesn't want to worry about sewing anymore. My daughter was delighted to get a Bernina and Mom is glad to have it go to a good home.

After all that now you get to see the quilt. Wasn't my dad right? It is beautiful!


maggi said...

What a beautiful quilt. Your mother's story has to be an inspiration to us all. Maggi

Georgeta Grama said...

I think this quilt is more than beautiful, it's a treasure.


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