Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Quilts are stories told in fabric.

Let me tell you about Marissa. (RIP you little monster.)

Marisa loved. Fiercely. Often, her love consumed what she adored. Or at least, took little bites out of it.

This included endless articles of clothing, a $400 comforter, a rug, and items even more priceless: quilts my Mom made for us.

In 2000, Mom gave me a quilt that we used for years as our bedspread. This quilt is well loved, and often washed. 15 years later it's in good shape, faded and soft, just perfect for snuggling with. But, it has a 4"x2" hole (thanks, Marissa), some other areas of lose fabric, and a few wear spots.

That wasn't the only casualty. Something piqued her interest along the edge of the log cabin quilt Mom had given me in 2005 right after we moved into our home here in Oregon. The result was a break in the binding, and a 3"x2" hole up to the edge.

In our living room in September of 2005!
When Mom saw it a few years ago, she was aghast. I could feel her upset, and could also understand it. But I explained that in our house, to honor something was to use it. So, that quilt had spent much of its life on our bed, wrapped around us on the couch, or covering our friends as they slept while visiting.

To me, it was a little endearing. To her, not so much. The time and attention put into a quilt like those she makes is incredible. This is something I can appreciate first hand, although I've only done much smaller, simpler projects.

I assured her the damage would be repaired, and in my eyes the result would be all the better. For instance, the oak hope chest we still have prominently in our home has a chewed corner, as one day Winston thought it looked like a good thing to snack on. While it is a physical mar, every time I see it, a smile breaks out as memories of the little stinker flood back. The hope chest is all the better for it. It has a history. It holds memories.

That was... like over a year ago that I set my mind on patching the quilts.

Since then, the act of patching the quilt loomed large. The solution had to be something that didn't look like a hack, and that added to the quilt's story. Quite some time ago, the paw print fabric was chosen, and I researched how best to do it, even querying on Reddit for ideas. Clearly well prepared, action was still stalled out of worry of doing it wrong.

Finally, this weekend I tackled it. As things often are, the reality wasn't as difficult as anticipated. First, I made a paper template to cover the spot. The binding remained in tact, just severed, so that was first connected with a zig zag stitch, knowing it would be hidden. I then applied the patch as a "wrap" over the binding, inserting some batting to fill the hole, and then hand stitching it on.

The results look great -- just don't look TOO closely at the hand stitching, I am really bad at that. But it's DONE. And the quilt's story has another chapter.

The very first quilt Mom gave me was also customized -- again by Marissa -- this time smack dab on the middle of the quilt. That one will actually be easier to patch, given the location, and my experience with this one.

The older quilt has some loose fabric and other things that I've fixed, and my hand stitching is getting much better.

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