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.