Inheritance – More than Just Fabric

When my Aunt was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in the summer of 2008 I offered to visit her one last time.  It was sad, but it was also nice to spend time with her.  And we got to talk about a lot of things – including quilting.  My Aunt didn’t have a lot of money, but she did have a garage full of fabric!  So I flew there with 3 empty bags and just enough clothes for the time I was staying.  I flew home with 3 huge bags full of quilting fabric.  And I am still working on sewing all of it to this very day.

At the time, I thought that it was nice that my Aunt gave me some of her fabric.  And when I sew it I always think of her.

But in the meantime, I realized that my Aunt gave me more than just fabric.  She gave me sewing lessons, challenges and a lot of work!  But I am learning so much!  Every time I sew a new quilt, consider what to do with a certain fabric  or think about how to finish a project she had already started, I learn something more about sewing, fabric or quilting.

In 2011, when my Grandmother passed away something similar happened.  I collected a lot of UFO’s (unfinished objects).  My Grandmother quilted, embroidered and took a lot of fabric art classes.  So her gift to me has a different emphasis.  I see a lot of techniques I am not familiar with and wonder what she was planning to do with the piece or how she liked it.

I am quite fond of this particular piece.  It is a thread painting.  My Grandmother really liked flowers and I have lots of different squares of fabric that she made with different techniques – painting, French knots, thread painting, embroidery, etc.   I’m not so sure that my Grandmother liked this piece – it puckers from the tension of the thread painting and I think that would have bothered her – she was a perfectionist.  Maybe that’s the reason she never finished it.

But I decided to make it into a pillow.  And so here it is.  And every time I see it, I think about the fact that my inheritance is more than just a bunch of fabric, but a continuous study of fabric, embroidery, quilting and more.

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