When I was first learning to quilt, the one person I could not wait to talk about it with was my grandma; We call her Goggi. In our family she is, you could say, the Crafty Matriarch. So much so, that years ago, I, to her delight, named my work after her: Lakardia!
I remember that I was on the phone with Goggi, and she was so happy that I was getting into quilting. Perhaps impressed, even. She told me about two matching log cabin quilt tops she made years ago. For whatever reason, I thought she said it was twenty years ago. Now my family is telling me that it was over thirty years ago! That is one long WIP! One quilt was at her apartment, partly completed with evenly scattered knots instead of quilting. The other was with my Aunt. We agreed that it would be great if I could complete this other quilt top.
Spring and summer went by. Goggi’s health was not good, and getting worse. In fact, it got so bad that she was hospitalized, and after the hospital, sent to live in a nursing home. It was during the transition from hospital to nursing home that my Aunt brought the quilt to me. The fabric was shoved into a plastic grocery bag. I didn’t ask anyone how long it had been like this, or where it had been stored. The cotton was stiff, and it oh wow – did it stink! I opened it up and aired it out on my front deck. This is the picture I took:
Despite the added shadows cast by the setting sun, you can still see there were some very deep wrinkles. It was so stiff and stinky, I was pulling it open, wondering if it was salvageable. So, into the washing machine it went. There was a quilt backing in there as well. It was an equal mess.
The quilt top had some damage, probably rot from the neglect. I needed to find some matching fabric for one of the repairs. After asking friends, looking online, I found what I needed in an old placemat from the thrift store.
I cut a piece of fabric, glue basted it in, and then secured it all with a slip stitch. Just the tiniest sliver, I doubt anyone will ever see it.
The backing fabric was in awful shape, though. It was not going to be possible to make it the quilt’s backside. It would however, be possible to make it into binding. For the backing, I bought a length of 110″ wide muslin. After ironing it all, I packed it up and shipped it off to a long arm quilter – someone I had already been working with – that I knew would give Goggi’s quilt the loving attention it deserved – Sarah Thomas of Sariditty Handmade. Sarah lives in another state, but thanks to USPS Priority Mail, that was no problem at all!
Sarah and I, through a fun flurry of text messages, chose a pale blue 50wt. Aurafil thread (no. 2715), and, using her Handi Quilter, she worked a continuous line, edge to edge pattern called Apple Slices.
These are some of the pictures Sariditty sent to me during the process. The backing, the front, and a close up, respectively:
Isn’t the quilting marvelous!? I gasped when I unpacked it. Now, I could have quilted it myself, for free, however, I felt my Goggi deserved the beauty of long arm quilting. It was worth every penny. My quilting would have just been straight(ish) lines, and kind of boring, really.
In the time the quilt was at Sariditty, I had turned the original backing fabric into sashing, so that as soon as I got everything together at home, I could begin to trim and bind. I don’t know how other people trim, but I crawl around on the floor on my hands and knees. Then I machine sewed the binding to the front, and slip stitched it around to the back. Then I washed and dried it for a nice (clean) quilted look.
All in all, the project only took about one month. That means Goggi has been at the nursing home for a whole month now! I brought her the completed quilt this past weekend, and took a few pictures on my way inside. Look at what a bright contrast it is to the institutional look of the place she unfortunately feels is The Snake Pit.
I tried so hard to keep it off the ground! I’m just not tall enough, even when standing up a couple of stairs. My son was hiding behind there with me, giggling, while my mom snapped the picture.
I will always be so happy and proud that I was able to help her see this decades old work in progess to completion. My hope is that she will use it at her new home, and that it will make her happy. My heart is full knowing that she lived to see her work at it’s fullest potential. It turned out prettier than I thought it could be. I love it!