Skip to main content

Southwestern Sunset Quilt

Five years ago during the holiday season, my mom shared with my brother and me (and our families) that my grandma had been diagnosed with ALS. She had spent several years under the impression she had a mini-stroke, but was simply never getting better. Here’s the story about my grandmother’s life and death and this quilt.


When I was a kid, we went on a few occasions to visit my grandma. She lived a thousand miles away and we were not a vacation/traveling family. So, those handful of trips were pretty special for a kid who had rarely been outside of the Midwest.


 During our visits, I would join my grandma on her daily walks. We often walked in the evening as summertime in the Southwest can be particularly hot. One of my favorite memories was looking for coins on the ground as we walked. Just about every time, we came home with a penny here or a dime there and my grandma always let me keep that change ;) I loved that time together. Since we walked in the evening, we often returned home to a gorgeous southwestern sunset.

My grandma woke up one day and had lost some use of her arm and leg. She was eventually diagnosed as having a mini-stroke and was given very clear rehabilitation orders to regain the mobility she had lost. She followed the prescribed routine, but never got better. After loads and loads of research, guessing and tests, she was finally diagnosed with ALS years later.

She had shared this news with my mom just prior to the holidays and my mom shared it with our family while we were visiting. Everyone in our family made the decision to go and visit her together. Within a week, everyone had sorted out taking off a few days from work, traveling and seeing my grandma. We drafted, configured, sawed, hammered and adjusted our way into helping make her home more accessible and then we all headed home.

The ALS advanced quickly from that point and her health deteriorated rapidly. I speedily put my hands to work making a quilt for her. I had been quilting well under a year. I was in distress thinking about the reason for making this quilt. I needed to get finished and mailed quickly – just in case. To say the least, it’s certainly not the most technically accurate quilt I’ve made. You may see nothing special about this quilt. You may look at it and see tons of flaws.

Here’s what I see: a southwestern sunset.

I see the colors and the shapes and the horizon of the Southwest. I feel the dry heat. I smell the dusty sandy landscape. I see those coins on the ground just waiting for me to scoop them up. To me, it encapsulated the memories of our times together engrained in my head.

I had to mail this quilt to my grandma. She expressed the greatest appreciation through very few words (she was at the point of losing her speech) over the phone. I felt every ounce of thankfulness she had for the quilt. She passed not long after that.

After her death, the quilt ended back up with my mom, who set it aside for me. Five years after being told about her diagnosis, I picked up that quilt while visiting my family this holiday season. We stopped on our drive home to take a picture at a state forest. It couldn’t be more opposite of a southwestern sunset if it tried! But it’s a blending of my background and my home with my grandma’s.

By the way, every single time I see a coin on the ground (which is often), I think of my grandma too :)

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Fanny Pack Sew Along

 Welcome to the Fanny Pack Sew Along! Tina and Jessica look forward to sewing with you!   The Fanny Pack Along is scheduled for June 6 – July 1, 2022. Participants will be able to choose their own pattern for this sew along. We have provided a list of patterns below. Each week, Tina and Jessica will share a prompt to keep you sewing along. Note that participants are welcome to work at their own pace – including finishing early or finishing after the sew along ends. As always, we will end the sew along with a “fashion show” of sorts on Instagram, where participants are welcome to share their final fanny packs. Will you wear yours around your waist as party people of the 90s did or are you super on trend and will sling it over your shoulder?! We can’t wait to find out! SCHEDULE You are welcome to work at your own pace. We like to build in time for life to happen.  Week 1 - Gather materials (pattern, fabrics, and other supplies) Week 2 - Cut fabric and interface fabric Week 3 -

Quilt Coat Along

Welcome to the Spring 2021 Quilt Coat Along , hosted by TinaCurtis and Jessica Plunkett ! We are excited to bring together sewists to make one of the hottest fashion trends around – Quilt Coats. We'd like to start by acknowledging that quilt coats are not a new thing, they were found all over the world being made by people of color and of all different cultures. Below are examples from the International Quilt Museum and the Public Library Quilts page. We appreciate the beauty of both of these garments and are thankful for the rich history they lend to our current mainstream trend. https://www.internationalquiltmuseum.org/quilt/20140070004 View this post on Instagram A post shared by Public Library Quilts (@publiclibraryquilts) This is a low key sew along – while we have a relaxed six week schedule to try and keep you motivated, you are welcome to work at your own pace. Here are a few key details about the sew along if you’re interested in participating!

Transparent Squares Quilt Block Tutorial

If you are new to transparency in quilting or need a refresher, this is a simple practice block to make to play around with fabric choices and the effects of transparency. Transparent Squares Quilt Block I posted a video on IGTV that explains the very basics of transparency in quilting. A short simplified version of what I shared is that transparency is the ability to see through layer(s) of an object. It can be real or implied. So in quilting, you can use fabric color choices to make implied transparency. The most basic way to achieve transparency, in my opinion, is to choose dark, medium and light values of one color. Understanding color structure is important, but being a master of it is not required to play around with transparency. For example, if a grey fabric has a lot of cool color blue undertones, then you have to be cognizant of how that specific fabric color plays with other colors. Also, it’s important to realize that while many colors are available in fabrics, it’s