Heirloom

It may not be heirloom material for anyone else but for me this quilt holds a lot of significance.


It is made from a tablecloth that was found amongst my maternal grandmother's belongings after her death. The fabric was fragile and the stitching was coming apart in places. It was also made in several panels and where they joined they were also coming apart. And, lastly, a corner had been less than skilfully removed as if someone had cut it in a hurry or a child had gotten hold of the scissors.

At the time my mother wondered if her maternal grandmother - my great-grandmother - could have hand stitched it as apparently she had made tablecloths for her three daughters when they married and for many of their daughters until her eyesight put paid to that. If this is the case, then the workmanship is superb. The countless stitches, each even and evenly spaced, could only have been done by an expert needlewoman. Whether or not my great-grandmother was the creator I will likely never know, but the tablecloth reminds me of her and that is enough. She died when I was fourteen but I still have memories of time spent with her listening to stories about the family.

The quilt also contains serviettes that belonged to my husband's aunt. When he first left home he lived for a while with his aunt and uncle before moving out into a place of his own. His aunt and uncle had no children and often considered my husband their own son. She died less than three weeks after we arrived in New Zealand - before we had had a chance to see her again - after bravely battling breast cancer.

The quilt has other significant links outside my own family. I was piecing it when we received the news that a dear friend from our church had died in Africa. He and his wife and young daughter had just arrived to take up mission work when he was struck down by a heart attack. He was still a relatively young man and it was a shock to all of us back in his home church in New Zealand.

With so much significance attached to the quilt one would think that it would have a special place of honour in our home. But this hasn't been the case. For years - more years than I care to admit - it was packed away in a box. Why? For the very simple reason that it was unfinished and I had no desire to finish it because I didn't actually like it.

That's right. In fact, I hated it.The only reason I didn't throw it away was because of the links it had to my own family.

Then two years ago we renovated our kitchen and I thought that a blue and white quilt would go in our new dining area. I still had no desire to finish it but I did think it could act as a kind of accessory.

Can you see it hanging over the doors, half hidden by another quilt?
And so it stayed for two years. Until a little less than three weeks ago when I suddenly had the urge to get it out and quilt it - and which I did in record time. Now that it's finished I find myself actually liking it and wondering where we're going to hang it to show it off to advantage.






Meanwhile, I am now busily quilting another unfinished quilt that was put aside because I had more important quilts to quilt - wedding quilts and baby quilts. It seems that I'm to have a reprieve (not for too long please) from such quilting and it's time to get in and finish those projects that have been languishing away in the back of cupboards and over the arms of sofas.


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