Prov. 31:25

Cancer is a word, not a sentence.

Hi! My name is Jenny. I have been married to my best friend for 32 years, I have two wonderful children and on June 30, 2015 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I am determined to get well and I know that with the strength my Lord provides and the love and support of my family and friends, that will happen. The road to healing is a difficult one… however I strive to be thankful for the blessings I have, to find joy in every day and maybe in some small way be a blessing to those I come in contact with. The support and encouragement that I find on this blog makes my heart smile and helps me to realize that I am not alone. All of you are so much appreciated and help me more than you will ever know. So thanks for stopping by....if you would like please leave a comment after my post....I would love to hear from you.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Warmth and Comfort of a Quilt








Hello Dear Friends,

I have finished it! I am so happy I could just well….do a happy dance! My pink and white quilt is done. The last tie has been tied, the last stitch in the binding has been completed and the last thread has been cut. The needles and pins, threads and scissors have been put back in their rightful places and it is just my quilt and I….together….sharing a quiet moment in time, reflecting on the journey, relishing in the fact that at long last this quilt has been completed, maybe not as I first envisioned it but lovely just the same. Handmade with love that is hopefully felt in every stitch! Remembering when it all started…….

The year was 1996…and yes you did read that correctly…grins….My family and I had just moved into our house and I had the desire to make a quilt! As I unpacked boxes, set up my kitchen, hung pictures and worked to make our house into a home I thought about this quilt. I decided on a pink and white gingham fabric and I knew I wanted it to have hearts appliqued on it as well. (You know me and my hearts…lol) Once we were settled in and the last box was unpacked I set about gathering my supplies. I found the perfect fabric, cut out my templates, washed and dried my fabric and was now eager to begin. I planned to cut out my first squares that evening after the children were in bed. I did not count on a precious baby girl starting to teethe that evening and become extremely fussy. No one would do but mommy….so mommy rocked and cuddled, sang and walked back and forth and looked longingly at the pile of fabric sitting neatly on the table. Scott knew how important this quilt was to me and he knew how eager I was to begin it so my “ knight in shining armor” patiently began to cut my squares for me. Now this was before my cutting mat and rotary cutter and to this day this is one of my fondest memories….Scott cutting my squares for a quilt I was so excited to make and me rocking our baby girl to sleep. At the time Andrew was just 4 years old and Emily was not yet one. Tiny little children that needed their mom….so my days were busy indeed. I loved absolutely everything about being a mom so I knew that this quilt would not be done in a hurry. I worked on it in spare little moments of my day. These little moments became very special to me and now have become the special memories of which this quilt is made.

I remember…..

Emily taking her morning naps to the gentle whirrrrr of the sewing machine.

Me quietly sewing on the quilt while Andrew would play nearby with his fire engines and Emily with her baby doll.

Sitting outside on our patio with a heart block in my hand appliqueing it on to the white fabric while Andrew and Emily played outside in their sand box or played with our sheltie Laddie.

I remember sewing on this quilt one night when Andrew was really sick with pneumonia and Emily had strep throat and as I watched my two precious children sleep I took one little stitch after another….each stitch a prayer…and each stitch keeping me grounded so fear would not take over and I could be calm….

I also remember working on this quilt right after my Grandma died. I remember promising her that I would keep her love of needlework going strong and that I hoped she would be proud of the things I made.

And after baths were taken, favorite stories read, teddy bears and rabbits tucked under covers for cozy sleeps with their child…..I would sit in the now quiet house, with the lights just bright enough for me to see and stitch and sew this precious quilt together….piece by piece…stitch by stitch…remembering the day and how blessed I was to be a part of this family and how much I loved my little boy and my little girl and how proud I was of them and all their little accomplishments.

It took awhile for me to complete the quilt top as you can now see. Andrew and Emily were growing up. I was actively involved with Andrew in his preschool and then kindergarten and first grade. I was busy with Emily and her little friends and I was actively involved in our church. I then started homeschooling both children and our days became busier and busier…lol. Little League, Basketball, Horseback Riding and Soccer became a part of our lives. Sidewalk chalk ,markers and crayons were replaced by bicycles and skateboards.  Weeks would go by and my pink and white quilt would wait patiently in its basket for me to pick it up again….which I always did … and then finally one day the quilt top was completed…..

I love hand quilting and I knew that would be the next step on the journey with my quilt. I guess I was overwhelmed, I wasn’t sure how I wanted to quilt it, nothing seemed right. So my little quilt was put aside but never forgotten. Never. I loved this quilt and I would find myself taking it out often and laying it on my bed, looking at it and remembering all those times I worked on it, trying to figure out what to do with it from here. Never having any of my ideas feel right somehow.

This quilt has traveled with me, believe it or not. When my parents both had major surgeries I brought the quilt with me to L.A. both times. I would take it out of my suitcase and lay it on my lap and be comforted by it. It traveled to San Diego for the same reason when my MIL had surgery. It has been to Morro Bay and felt the sea air…grins.

Our lives have changed yet again. My children are all grown up… honestly I turned around and there they were all grown up….I am battling cancer…. But the pink and white quilt top was just the same as it had always been. Maybe that was what it was supposed to be. I just didn’t have the energy to quilt after I was diagnosed with cancer. I just couldn’t for some reason. And then this summer I was reading a blog post about a quilt a woman had just finished…a TIED quilt. I stopped and thought a moment….yes this could work for my quilt! I went and picked up my pink and white quilt and laid it yet again on my bed and realized that yes I could finish my quilt this way…by tying it! I was so excited! I picked it up and held it close to my heart….” You will be finished after all”  I thought as I smiled, and placed it gently back in its basket, with a final loving pat! I layered it with comfy thick batting, after all it deserved to be cozy, and found a soft ,white muslin for the backing. I picked a darker pink fabric for the binding to match the darker gingham squares and I pinned it all together. I used pearl cotton to tie it with and actually managed a few rows before I ended up in the hospital. When I came home again there was my quilt waiting for me, still in its basket. I picked it up and held it close and once again laid it across my lap. It worked its magic yet again and brought great comfort and joy to me. I slowly began tying the little knots. One row was finished and then another. Soon a few more rows were finished and before I knew it I had tied the last knot and I was feeling better too! And stronger. I sewed the binding to the front of the quilt and then began hand sewing it down in the back. One little stitch at a time. I wasn’t in a hurry, I just sewed at my own pace, remembering all the times I had worked on the quilt before. I thought about how much had changed since I made the very first stitch but more important I remembered how much had stayed the same. Love! Faith! Family! Friends! The important things were still constant in my life! How thankful I was for that! The last stitch was finished!

My VERY favorite part of making a quilt is when I take it out of the dryer and hold that warm, cozy quilt to my heart and just hug it! It is that moment that I think WOW! I made a quilt! A real quilt! One to hold on to, to cuddle with and to love! For those of you who have made a quilt you know exactly the moment I am talking about because we all know that quilts are a commitment of time and they don’t get finished in a hurry…lol….most don’t take 20 years though…winks!

When most people see this quilt they see fabric squares sewn together. They might see the imperfections, the squares that don’t always match up, the hearts that are not quite centered. When I see this quilt all I see are the memories that have gone into its making.  I see my children growing up, I see my husband lovingly cutting fabric for me…because he loved me…and that is what love does. I have felt its comfort over the years and its healing as I tied it after my stay in the hospital. If you look closely you might even see a tear stain or two when the nostalgia made me cry or when I was working on it after my Grandma died. Mostly though I just see its love….because that is how I made it…with much love…every stitch a hope…a dream…a prayer….a memory!

The quilt is finished now and right where it belongs! Where it was always meant to be. For you see this was never “ my” quilt. I made it for my daughter Emily. It has always been for her. The little girl in my arms that night when Scott cut the squares for me now holds the quilt in her arms, now cuddles under its softness and now feels it warmth!

Enjoy the quilt my precious Emily and always feel its love…..because that is how I made it…Handmade With Love! For You! Love, Mom!

So what does a person do when the quilt they were making is finished and their heart is too full for words but their fingers are itching to work on another quilt? Why you start on another quilt of course! That is exactly what I have done and this quilt is just as special to me, just as sentimental as the pink and white quilt has always been. But that is a story for another day!

Take care my friends!

~Jenny~


5 comments:

  1. Amen! What a story, what a wonderful story ... and so much YOU! Love it. A life in a quilt, a quilt in a life, what miracles it can bring ... I bet Emily will cherish this quilt her whole life and the story that goes with it.
    And your Scott is such a special man, to cut the fabric for you ... I couldn't help but giggle when imagining André doing that ... but he and Fleur drove to Utrecht to buy fabric for a binding when I had the flu and even came back with a book on Amish quilts then, so sweet, but cutting fabric??? LOL
    Scott is just such a wonderful man, that's all I want to say (and so is André of course LOL).
    Thank you for this wonderful story, my friend. I think it should be published. You're a great writer!

    Many hugs across the ocean and I wish you many happy hours working on your next quilt.
    Love, Carolien

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  2. P.S. The pictures show a great quilt and I LOVE the picture of Emily 'in her quilt'. Please give her a hug from me. Thank you!

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  3. Oh Jenny, what a beautiful post. AND a beautiful quilt for a beautiful, young lady.♥ You have a GIFT for writing my friend. You had me tearing up. Yep. Ah, how swiftly time passes. We all need to take time to reflect on life, how important our family is to us.
    Congratulations on finishing this quilt Jenny. I know that you are enjoying the next one already! :D

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  4. Okay, let me wipe the tears away first before I comment... There, that's better!

    Oh, what a special story of your pink and white quilt, Jenny. I truly enjoyed reading of its journey to completion and its twists and turns, just like life itself. What a treasure this will always be for your beautiful Emily, and then for her children some day. Such a wonderful heirloom!

    Wishing you a lovely, sunny, blessed day in California...

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  5. I just loved reading this BEAUTIFUL story about the pink quilt dear Jenny! It looks just perfect. You are a very talented writer and this story made my heart melt! Emily looks beautiful in her quilt by the way. I also love to wrap my quilt (which my Mom made as you know) around me as much as possible. I'm actually laying under it while I am typing this LOL. Sending hugs your way! With love, Sofia

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