Seeing A Quilt Through New Eyes

The mother of my husband’s friend-for-the-most-years recently died.  This was very hard as the man’s father is also dead and he is an only child who is not married and has no children.  This leaves him rather alone in the world.

Husband, wanting to do something, offered to have me make a memory quilt if he would send along some of her clothes.  Which he did.

The box arrived and I opened it: sweat shirts, fleece pants, pilled flannel pajamas, dog bandannas. I looked again.  And I put the box away.

I can’t make a quilt out of that, I thought.

Every week or so for about two months I would do it again:  Open the box, look at the stuff, put it away.  I guess I hoped something new would magically appear and make it better.

Nothing changed.

But,  I am not a quitter and wanted to finish the thing. I finally started cutting and laid the quilt out.  I struggled.  I called my parents.  “What can I do?” I whined wailed.

And, my father gave me really good advice, “Deanna, to him, it is his mother.”

Oh. My. Heck.  I had forgotten that.  Here I was, showing a little, or maybe a lot of, unrighteous pride.  Wanting to make something beautiful that people would admire as a quilt.  But, this particular assembly of fabric is not about perfect color choices or intricate piecing. It is DEFINITELY not about me.  It is about a son who misses his mother.

I went downstairs and looked at the quilt again.  Hmmm….  When husband arrived home I shared what I had learned.  “Well,” he said, “something I forgot to mention:  She worked for the railroad for many years.  Is there any way you can fit that in?”   I am sure I jumped a little. “Come with me,” I said.

So, back downstairs we went.  I walked to the shelves where my fabric lives.  On the top shelf are the large pieces that might be suitable for backs.  I reached up and picked out a recently arrived piece, which Julie sent as part of a fabric swap a month or two ago.  Trains!

Some things are just meant to be.

So,  here is the quilt.  Don’t look at it as art. Look at it as love.  I am sure that is how he will see it.

UPDATE:  Due to the many requests for a pattern/tutorial, here is some information: The idea for the quilt came from . She has a quilt there called the Sidewalk Quilt and I sort of copied the idea from her.  She has no tutorial up, but a book is being published this fall…

35 thoughts on “Seeing A Quilt Through New Eyes

  1. I am sure he will be over whelmed when he see’s the quilt. He may have the back as the front or enjoy mom’s side best. How lonely it must be to have no one in the family left. The gentleman will know he has a friend that cares for him.

  2. Memory quilts are such treasures for the loved ones who are left behind. The quilt will be like wrapping your husband’s friend in his mother’s hug.
    It will a very special quilt and a lovely thing to do for a friend.
    Warmest regards,

  3. It’s a good reminder for all of us. Sometimes, we are not creating quilts for art, but for love. The railroad fabric was a giant stroke of luck. It’s wonderful when you create something meaningful to give to a friend.

  4. Miss Blue you are a truly good person. Nice huggyquilt .Love the trains That will really help make it too. Good job.

  5. This is definitely one of those “it’s the thought that counts” moments. I am sure he will be thrilled with the quilt!

  6. That RR fabric was not luck. That was God working all things together for good. He knew you would be a blessing for this man, who will be able to have ‘mom hugs’ again. You are a treasure. Jan

  7. That is such a precious gift that you were able to give of your talents, to make a tangible reminder of his mother for him to hold in his arms once again. Well done.

  8. It apparently didn’t post my first response from the Usana Ampitheatre- but this will be a couch item hard to ignore. We must know the story behind the train backing as divine intervention is not to be ignored. Thank you- for Joe! Nah na na na na, na na na na na….

    1. i am assuming your are THE husband..what a wonderful thing to have deanna do for your friend..and yes we must hear the story behind the train backing!!!! it sounds fascinating..(better watch those na na na’s or you might not get dinner!!!!)

  9. When all the planets are aligned you certainly can work small wonders. Good for you, the quilt is just beautiful and yes, it is memories of his Mum he will have each time he wraps himself in it. What a wise Dad you have to point that out.

  10. he thought everything he sent you was beautiful because he didn;t see the fabric–he saw his mom IN the fabric–wearing the pjs, the sweat shirts, the fleece pants..they probably were his favorite things she wore..he will love it..i would be willing to bet it is his mom’s side that is next to him when he needs a hug…that was a wonderful thought on the part of your husband—wanting you to make his friend a memory quilt of his mother..

  11. You did a wonderful job, and I love the way the sizes drift from small to medium to large. It is both artful and comforting. Your dad is an astute guy!

  12. What a sweet person you are! The quilt is so lovely. I love how you started with big squares in one corner and went to smaller ones in the other. I can see the love that you put into this quilt and I’m sure that your husband’s friend will see that also.

  13. Well, this sure brought tears to my eyes this morning. What a wonderful gift of love that is sure to be treasured. It’s the nicest memory quilt I’ve ever seen. Love the layout. Any chance you could share a tutorial on it? I’d love to do the same for my husband who lost his mom awhile ago.

  14. Amazing what a little change of perspective can do. Wonderful job on the layout, like the other commenter posted, I love how the squares wander from small to large.

  15. aaahhh… I so well know the feelings you had, as I had the very same!! I am a little over half way through the same sort of a project- only this one is for the mother of a teeaged girl who was killed in a car accident. T-shirts, sweatshirts, jeans, velvets, baby blanket, little girl dressy dresses, bridesmaid dresses, prom dress, p.js. and more. I decided to do a 2 sided quilt- the front is a lazy log cabin design in blocks with a multi pieced border of all the fabrics & a printed piece with verses form the Psalms on them. The 2nd side is t-shirt mania- it’s like sewing a jig-saw puzzle! ALOT of fitting & refitting. My goal was to finish it this month- that’s been bumped back a month. Whenever her Mom will be very thankful because it is the meaning!! 🙂 🙂 So happy someone else out there also gets themselves projects that are more than they originally tho’t 🙂

  16. Tears here, too. What a beautiful story – you have truly blessed me today! The quilt is precious and he will treasure it.

    I just found your blog recently, and I enjoy it so much. Thank you for taking your time to write and also for the wonderful photos and tutorials. May God continue to bless you and your family in all that you do. xoxo Marilyn

  17. You have done a wonderful job in preserving his memories of his mother and that is what is truly important. It is very hard for us to put aside our own desires that everything we make be as perfect as we are able. Sometimes we have to create beauty and memories with what we are given, and when we are very lucky, the love shines through – as it does in what you created – and love has to be more important than art, right? Thank you for sharing this with us. I was feeling sorry for myself this morning and your blog post set me back on track as I thought of the loss your husband’s friend is suffering. Think of the love you embodied for him, the expression of his mother, in every single stitch, and the train fabric – perfection.

  18. You’re so sweet, Deanna! What a treasure this will be for this man. His Mom would be so grateful for what you did for him! Hugs!

  19. the best quilts are the one’s made of love, memories, pieces of life…they’re not the one’s you see in museums, they don’t win ribbons, they’re the one’s you snuggle on the couch with on a chilly night when you’re alone…this one is truly lovely!

  20. @Merrie- The na na nananana’s were from the “Lovin, Touchin, Squeezin” chorus from the Journey concert I was attending when she made the first post. Sorry, just into the moment and not trying to push my luck at the dinner table… 🙂

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