Completing the Journey

May 2007


This journey began in 1976. When my mother reached her 40th year, she decided it was time to find a good hobby. She had always admired her godmotherís quilts, and decided it was time to begin making her own quilts. I remember how we searched through the limited supply of quilting kits offered by our local department store. My mother was drawn to a bicentennial eagle cross-stitch kit. The eagle took up the entire center of the quilt. The border of the quilt was made up of leaves and triangle designs. The kit included fabric printed with xís and dots, as well as all the brown, green, yellow, red, and black embroidery thread to complete cross-stitching. The xís would be cross-stitched and the dots would help guide the hand quilting. The kit cost $25.00. I thought that was a lot of money, but my mother knew it was well worth the price.


My mother and I began working on the quilt right away. I was only allowed to stitch the triangles that ran along the outside border of the entire quilt. This would limit any observable mistakes. The actual eagle stitches were off limits to me. That was my motherís job.


The quilt sat in a drawer off and on, and ten years passed before my mother finally finished the quilt. I have the quilt today, but it is in tatters. But I plan to repair the quilt and make the eagle soar again. But I have something else to do first.


Back to 1976. After telling her godmother, Angela, about her new project, my mother decided to buy another quilt kit as a gift for Angela. She found an acorn design cross-stitch quilt. Angela completed the cross stitching within a few years but passed away shortly thereafter. Angelaís sister Maria later found the completed quilt top among Angelaís things. My mother helped Maria add the batting and backing fabric. Then my mother decided to complete all the hand quilting and finish the quilt. My mother completed almost half of the hand quilting before she passed away in August 2000. Before she died, she asked me and my daughter to finish the quilt. Knowing nothing about how to hand quilt, I agreed.


The quilt sat untouched for six years. In late 2006, I read a delightful novel by Madison-based writer Jennifer Chiaverini. Jenniferís quilting stories inspired me to begin my work on the acorn quilt. I received gracious help with hand quilting from members of the Mad City Quilters. Iíve been happily quilting for over a month now, with plans to complete the quilt by Christmas. After all, I turn 40 this year and need a good hobby.


Update: The quilt was completed on June 10, 2007