On my last trip home my mom said she wanted to give me a quilt that my great grandmother had made.
She pulled this out and before I could even take it in, immediately sprung to her grandmother's defense. There were nicer quilts, she said, but those had fallen into her sister's hands and were lost or destroyed over the years. This was the only one of her grandmother's quilts that my mother had received, and here, in my thirties, I was seeing it for the first time.
The quilt is scrappy and asymmetrical, two things I very much enjoy. The hand quilting alternates from diagonal to straight lines, which is fun. The sashing fabric is rather bizarre and seeing it humbles me. I doubt it was her first choice. But it was what she had and what she used and that's a good reminder for me.
There is this strange loop of string hanging off one of the blocks. It looks like it was placed there intentionally but I can't imagine why.
This poor quilt...it's not doing well.
Despite quilting lines an inch apart, the batting has shredded into lumps on the inside. There is no block that does not have some of the thin fabrics wearing away on the dresden plates. The edges are a shambles. I looked it over with my mom, taking in the fabrics, the hand quilting, and, of course, the wear.
"I thought maybe you could repair it," she said.
I shook my head slowly. I couldn't lie to her. "There is no way I could repair this, mom," I said.
She looked so shocked and upset. Her cheeks were flushed. It was the way a person would look if you splashed them with a bucket of cold water. I felt like I'd taken her grandmother away from her in an instant.
I understood too late that our simple conversation meant so much more. It was about mortality, and loss, and loneliness. It was about a young person not understanding yet what it's like to grow older, to lose your parents, to suddenly find your treasured mementos crumbling to dust.
I told her I still wanted it. I wanted to figure out a way to salvage some part of it. With the batting in such shreds I don't think it would work to turn a block into a pillow or a potholder. And my mom has so much framed art already...I don't think that's the answer either.
So what I'm thinking about is taking pictures of the least worn blocks. But what should I do with the pictures? Print them onto notecards? Print them onto fabric and make a new quilt? I'd really love your creative ideas for this challenge, because I'm officially stuck.