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.
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.
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.
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.