surprise! the flower quilt was for grandma

flower quilt made by a happy stitch

Remember the flower quilt I was being all cagey about before Christmas?  My grandma got it.  My grandma is 91 and had a difficult year, she really deserved a quilt.  She had open-heart surgery several months ago.  Yes, a 91 year old lady had open-heart surgery.  Not just any lady but my grandma. My beloved grandma who believes, no matter what, that her grandkids are amazing.   That everything I sew is incredible and perfect even though she sews well enough herself to find all the flaws if she were looking for them.  My grandma who spent my childhood summers sneaking me Twizzlers while cooking in her swimsuit at their rustic lake house.  My grandma, who as a young pregnant woman, walked herself to the hospital during a snowstorm to give birth to my aunt.  Only stopping to sit down in snowbanks and wait through any contractions.

It seemed for a little while after her surgery, when her time at the ICU kept extending and intubation and pain kept her from doing anything but pleading with her eyes, that the doctors had forgotten this was my grandma.  She had been a healthy, woman just weeks ago.  The surgery was a pre-emptive decision based on the condition of her artery.  My mom blew up a picture of her from the church directory and tacked in on her door to remind them.   And, slowly, she got better.  Amazingly, she is now walking around and back to living on her own in her apartment enjoying wine and movie nights with her friends.  It still blows my mind that we could have lost her.

flower quilt quilted (from a happy stitch)

Despite all of that, everything heroic she went through, if I had just asked her what she wanted for Christmas, she would have replied like she always does.  “Oh. I don’t need anything”.  The unspoken end to her sentence being “…because I probably won’t be around much longer.”  It’s what she says every time.  So, I didn’t ask.  My grandma deserved something priceless and in my mind, the time and care it takes to make a quilt makes them all priceless.

flower quilt detail (from a happy stitch)

As soon as I saw the free pattern designed by Ellen Luckett Baker up on the Sew Mama Sew website I knew that was the one for her.  I was able to use special scraps, some from pairs of pajamas I’d given my mom or things I made for myself.  All of it worked its way into the quilt.

Of course, December was crazy for me with classes and markets and the quilting and binding of the quilt almost didn’t happen.  When I did get to it, it happened quickly and frantically.  The quilting is pretty simple, as a result.   I was right down to the wire.  For real.  Very down to the wire.  I finished the quilt, took it outside for these pictures and then had to wash it because of the snow (!).  While it was still hot from the dryer I stuffed it into a Priority Mail box and it arrived to Grandma the day before Christmas.  Phew.

flower quilt

I wasn’t there when she opened it but when we talked on the phone she was so thankful and happy to have it.  She thought it was amazing, of course.  (I know she is ignoring the larger than 3/8″ sewing errors.)  She also told me, in a whisper, “The quilt comes right back to you when I’m gone.”  Ha! I guess grandma got the last word anyway.

Love you grandma!  Stay warm.

16 Comments on surprise! the flower quilt was for grandma

  1. Daniela D
    January 12, 2014 at 3:53 pm (4 years ago)

    Your grandma sounds like one fantastic lady! So happy to hear she is feeling better and back to her sassy self.

    Ever since you started making this quilt I have been slowly collecting fabric/scraps to make one as well. Thanks for the inspiration. It’s beautiful.

    Reply
    • Melissa Q.
      January 13, 2014 at 8:58 am (4 years ago)

      Yay! You are going to love making this quilt, it’s fantastic. Curves, curves, curves!

      Reply
  2. Aunt Cindy
    January 13, 2014 at 10:16 am (4 years ago)

    Beautiful handmade tribute to a humble and salt-of-the-earth woman that inspires more people than she will ever know. You have many of the same qualities that make your grandmother so special. Love from the woman born on that cold January morning in MN…Aunt Cindy

    Reply
    • Melissa Q.
      January 13, 2014 at 11:24 am (4 years ago)

      It means so much to hear you say that. Thank you Miss Snowbank Baby!

      Reply
  3. Kristen Gilmore Powell
    January 13, 2014 at 11:32 am (4 years ago)

    LOVE this story today! Special quilt for a special gal!!

    Reply
    • Melissa Q.
      January 14, 2014 at 8:49 am (4 years ago)

      Thanks! She is a good one!

      Reply
  4. Pat
    January 13, 2014 at 12:13 pm (4 years ago)

    The quilt is so beautiful. Your grandma treasures it and knows the amount of time, love and inspiration that makes it so special. I was there when she opened it, and so wish I had videoed it for you. She was in awe. Beautiful work from a beautiful person. MOM

    Reply
    • Melissa Q.
      January 14, 2014 at 8:48 am (4 years ago)

      Aw, love you Mom. Thanks for being my surrogate.

      Reply
  5. kristin
    January 13, 2014 at 12:53 pm (4 years ago)

    Wow this is the sweetest post. My grandma got “morbid” like that in her last years too (though there was a lot of “this will probably be my last Christmas” stuff and then she just kept kicking year after year!!). But the quilt is really gorgeous, and I think that it’s so special you made it for her. Even if she doesn’t get that much time with it (which I’m sure she will), she will know how much love you put into it just for her.

    Reply
    • Melissa Q.
      January 14, 2014 at 8:50 am (4 years ago)

      That is hilarious! Sounds like you and I have some good, hearty genes. Practical, too. 🙂

      Reply
  6. Laura
    January 14, 2014 at 7:08 am (4 years ago)

    The quilt is stunning. What a special gift that must mean so much to your grandma.

    Reply
    • Melissa Q.
      January 15, 2014 at 11:45 am (4 years ago)

      Thanks Miss Moxie!

      Reply
  7. melintheattic
    January 17, 2014 at 3:34 pm (4 years ago)

    It’s so beautiful! (I’m a few days behind on my blog reading.) I just love the colors and the linen and the loving sentiment behind it. Impressive and lovely.

    Reply
    • Melissa Q.
      January 20, 2014 at 9:40 am (4 years ago)

      The linen is a huge part of what sold me on making this quilt. Love it. Thanks for the compliments.

      Reply

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