When your mother comes to visit

Last Thursday, after our community school day, I was changing the lightbulb in my closet when Olivia started barking and losing her mind in a way that never happens. I walked into my kitchen to see my parents standing there and the tears came on quickly. It was the best surprise. They’ve been dealing with a lot of heavy life stuff, and have been so sick they haven’t been able to travel for months so I was certainly not expecting them to be able to visit.

On Saturday, my mom and I decided to check some of the many antique stores in the area for a dresser and bookcase. The first shop was clearly more of a tourist trap and everything was priced highly. They had some great pieces but it was ultimately a bust. The next shop was better. I didn’t find either piece of furniture and we are still living in suitcases, ahem. BUT I found the most spectacular antique quilt I’ve ever laid eyes on in an antique shop. It’s not the most intricately pieced that I’ve seen, and it’s actually just the top, but it spoke to me in a big way. The bold, bright clash of color, the florals, the simple layout. Oh, it called to me in a way where I couldn’t possibly walk away without feeling a deep sense of regret.

I took it straight to the counter for examination and to stake my claim. It’s been entirely pieced by hand with a host of wonderful, careful stitches. It’s a generous 70ish” x 80ish”. I had to have it. I had to finish the work of some lady who would have most certainly been a bosom friend had we lived at the same time. My profound love of color is right at home with this quilt.

I have every intention of finding a backing fabric and then carefully hand quilting this top. I feel a duty and excitement to pick up where the dear person who made this left off. And, oh, I will treasure this quilt. I already do.

Color and craft have been a love of mine as long as I can remember. I like to think it’s in my DNA. I get it from my maternal grandmother. As a young child I asked her if she would teach me to quilt and to sew. She agreed to when I was a bit older, but we moved states away and sadly, she passed when I was only 13. I never got the privilege of learning under her but she ignited in me a love making and of color.

This is going to be my tribute to her. As I stitch I am going to imagine all the things we would have talked about had we been working together. She would have asked me about my dreams and encouraged me to pursue them with everything. She would have gently nudged me to make careful and patient stitches and to think before doing. She would have giggled with me and told me bits about herself that I never knew.

Isn’t that the beauty of making? Sometimes we get the privilege of knowing the story of where our treasures come from. Other times we get to imagine our own history, appreciating the beauty and the work for what it may have been. It’s such a privilege to live in a place and time where we can craft for pleasure and love rather than strictly utilitarian purposes.

I don’t know when I’ll start the adventure of finishing this quilt, but I will be sure to keep you posted! Thanks for stopping by.


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Welcome to Olivia Jane Handcrafted! I'm Meredith and this is my creative journal. Here you'll find loads of inspiration for a handmade wardrobe, home decor, bags, and quilts. I even have plenty of projects and tutorials to get you started or help you along the way.

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