I learned how to quilt from my late aunt. She was crafty before crafty was cool. She quilted six baby quilts for me, my three brothers, and my two cousins. They are all treasured mementos and I know that, at least for me, it’s one of the few things I will be sure to grab if the house ever caught on fire. When she was diagnosed with Cervical Cancer in 2008, I was 6 months pregnant. We had just laid my Nana to rest and then the news of my Aunt’s illness came almost instantly on top it. We knew she was sick, we just didn’t realize it was Stage 4 Cancer. Needless to say, wrapping my head around all of that at once was an impossible thing.
I had trouble with the emotions – missing my Nana, happy about my healthy baby girl, angry about my Aunt’s cancer, excited picking out nursery items…it was a roller coaster that might have rivaled Kingda Ka.
One day, when I was going to Stop and Shop, I got a phone call from my Uncle. My Uncle hardly ever calls me so when I saw his name pop up on my phone, I didn’t know what to expect. What followed in the next few minutes were intense and at the same time so beautiful in retrospect. He was asking me to spend time with my Aunt and make my daughter’s baby blanket. It was hard. I didn’t know if I could do it. She was practically my second mom and every day I miss her because I look at my daughter and know how much my Aunt would have loved her and laughed with her. He didn’t want me to regret not spending the time with her to make something so special – my lasting memories.
She taught me how to quilt over those months. I would go and sit and stitch by hand each piece into the pattern. We would talk about life, memories of the family, how the baby was moving, cute clothing I saw for her, doctors appointments, chemo treatments, religion, music, books. It was wonderful. She had it mostly finished by the time my shower was held.
She worked tirelessly to complete it despite going through some of the sickest months of her life. But she finished it. She lived to see my daughter who was named after her mother. She held her. She laughed with her at my daughter’s first Christmas. She played with her. My heart smiled.
After she passed, I was told by a few people that it was now up to me to continue the tradition of the baby quilts since I was the one who was taught how to quilt from her. The woman once made curtains out of throw blankets and they were the prettiest curtains I remember seeing…and it was so simple!!
Fast forward to now…I’m going to attempt my first quilt.
I am trying not to be too nervous. And it’s weird because in the back of my head, I keep thinking that I wish I could call her for some advice. I just have to trust that she taught me the basics and once I master those basics, I can continue on. The pattern I found was on a free site and it claims that it’s “easy.” We shall find out if their definition of easy and my definition of easy are the same.
The pattern is nothing crazy. I’m still a little nervous. I am pretty sure I picked an easy one….check it out – this blog has some pretty awesome ideas.
So, over the next few days, expect to see a photo or two of my progress. It says that it’s a weekend project but I’m going to really take my time and make sure I do it correctly. I might also cheat and use my handy dandy sewing machine.
Wish me luck!
I also promise that my next post won’t be so heavy…don’t know where that all came from but it was good to get out there. Next time I’ll post something about milk shooting out of someone’s nose, the latest “Call Me Maybe” cover, or something…