Saturday, February 4, 2012

A quilt for Grammie

This weekend my husband's grandmother turns 87! When I looked up how old she would turn this year I was shocked by the number. For as long as I've known her (14 years) she has been such a goer and doer. How on earth did she get to be 87?  We visited 'Grammie' this past summer in New Hampshire and Maine.  It was the first time we'd seen her in a few years and it was bittersweet to see her in decline for the first time since I've known her. So we (and by 'we', I guess I mean, 'I') decided to make her a quilt. It's something I've wanted to do for a long time.

Adding to the feeling of urgency, we had planned to visit my husband's other grandmother while on the same trip this summer and she suddenly passed away 2 weeks before we came. Sadly, she had been suffering from dementia for years and probably didn't remember us, but we would have liked our kids to see her one more time so that they could remember her. I also feel bad that I never made something similar for Nana Jean. That experience was a good reminder not to wait when Grandmas are concerned. Because you never know. So I feel relieved that this quilt is on it's way. 
I made the label using AmandaJean's tutorial. It was SO ridiculously easy. I am finally committed to doing this for every quilt. In the past I have been terrible - I never do it. Honestly.  I am finally getting my act together.
Grammie decided when she became a great-grandma that she wanted to be called Nonna.  Both her parents and her husband's parents were Italian immigrants to the United States in the early 20th Century. So even though she grew up in Maine, her family was very proudly Italian.  (See? You can tell by the tomato harvest.) I'm glad she has passed that heritage on to her great-grandchildren and glad that they will always remember their Nonna.

This quilt has a good backstory.  See how the 9-patch blocks are rectangular? Well, that wasn't on purpose.  These blocks were part of a kit we sold at American Quilting. One afternoon I was working alone and a lady who'd purchased the kit called to ask for help and I (really helpfully) gave her the wrong measurements. As a result, her blocks ended up as rectangle instead of square nine-patches.  So I remade all 80 blocks for her. And in return I've had these rectangular blocks hiding in my fabric mess collection for the past 7 years or so.  
I came across the blocks again this summer, right before our trip and halfway thought of trying to pound a quilt together in a couple of days while trying to get ready for the trip itself. Then I came to my senses and decided to take my time and put it together for her birthday.  Good decision.  I pulled all the fabrics from the stash and was happy to use some patiently-waiting fabrics that have been sitting around for a long time, and finally give them a good home.

Two quilts finished in the past two weeks - one modern and one that's more traditional. It's been good to have quilts to bind recently so that I have a good excuse to just sit still and watch Downton Abbey. :)

62 comments:

Laurel said...

What a beautiful quilt and a wonderful gift. I'm sure she'll love it. :)

And I agree -- I need to find something for myself to do so I can sit and catch up on Downton Abbey as well. :)

Tara said...

It's beautiful! I actually like the rectangular 9 patches :)

Ariane said...

What a beautiful quilt for your Nonna. Love it!!!

Michele said...

She's going to love it! So pretty!

Natalya H said...

Aaaaw! She'll love it! Missing my grandma right now :)

Harrysmum said...

What a lovely quilt for Grammie - I'm sure she'll appreciate not only it's comfort but the thought you put into making it!
I made both my Grandmas quilts last year - they're 95 and 97 (we go on for ever in our family!) My Mum had to have words with the younger one when she found the quilt folded up because she was "saving it for best"!!

bethanndodd said...

So lovely and even more special. No doubt she will love it and think of you every time she sees it/uses it. I know what you mean about not waiting...I finally made both of my Grandmothers a quilt but I didn't get serious about it until after both my Grandfathers passed away. Hope your Saturday is sunny (it's kinda dreary here). Smiles~Beth

LynCC said...

This is a perfect quilt for a grandmother. She is sure to love it.

serendipity said...

That quilt is so beautiful. I love the soft, vintage looking fabrics. I'm sure it will be treasured.

Lara said...

Beautiful quilt! I am sure it will be very much loved and I love the stories behind this one. Including the blocks which I think look fabulous. Hope it arrives safely at it's destination.

Jenny said...

It is beautiful, and I know she will love it. My husband's grandmother was the quilter of the family, and she was my inspiration to start quilting. I set about making my third quilt for her, but she passed before I could finish it. So I am very happy yours will be received and appreciated.

sonia said...

Such a beautiful quilt, and so emotive... She'll love it.

Aunt Spicy said...

totally, totally love nana! what a rock star! and that quilt is perfect for her, rectangles and all!

Richard Healey said...

That is a wonderful gift. I too want to make a quilt for all those I love.

http://richardquilts.blogspot.com

notes of sincerity said...

What a sweet quilt for your dear nonna. :0)

luciethehappyquilter said...

Thank you for sharing Grammie's quilt story. My daughter calls my mother Grammie so I can indentify with this story. Love the quilt. I'm sure it will be treasured.

Mary said...

I never made a quilt for my grandma. She made quilts, Crocheted bookmarks and Dresses for me and my children and it never occurred to me to make her one. She's been gone for a while now. She lived to be 97. What a great way to honor her birthday! Will you get to deliver it personally or send it to her?

amandajean said...

oh, Amy! it's a wonderful quilt and a beautiful story to go with it. i made a quilt for my grandma a few years ago and she absolutely loved it (we all kinda wondered if she would) and i'm so glad that i gave it to her when i did. it's fun to bless your grandma with a quilt.

p.s. so glad that you liked the quilt label tutorial! (i need to get better at labeling my quilts, too! esp. the ones i keep at home.)

Rosa said...

What a beautiful gift.She`ll be very glad!

Fru Larsen said...

Very beautiful, I Think she Will be so happy!

Leanne said...

Such a beautiful story to go with a beautiful quilt. You did a great job Amy.

Anne said...

So pretty & very special.

QuiltinMama said...

I really like the rectangular nine patches, Amy...they're a nice change from the garden-variety square and I'm sure Nonna loves it.

Sewing In CT said...

I didn't notice that the 9 patches weren't square til you mentioned it but it doesn't matter because the colors are so lovely. I'm sure Nonna will treasure it! Toni

Fiona said...

What a beautiful quilt! I think the 9 patches look great rectangular. You have a lucky Nonna

strandkorbtraum said...

ohhh I can relate to the joy of watching Downton Abbey .. sadly I'm already through with it. Any reccomendations?
And I really liked the un-square nine blocks, if you hadn't said anything Iwoudl have taken it to be purpose.

Leah said...

Beautiful Quilt. For a beautiful lady...

I understand how important Grandmother's are (and not waiting, either)... one passed away in November, and my other one isn't doing well.

The Cottage Mama said...

Wow, SO beautiful, Amy! And gorgeous pictures. She's going to love it!!

Lindsay

Becky said...

The quilt turned out really great and I'm sure it will be well-loved. It really is important to stay close to the grandparents because they slip away from us way too soon.

Claire Jain said...

What a beautiful quilt and a great gift. The story of how you ended up with those blocks is pretty hilarious. I'm glad those blocks found a home in such a beautiful quilt. I spent the last day and a half binding two baby quilts. I think I'm ready to do some piecing again!

Cutie and Company Quilts said...

I love your quilt for Nonna and the story behind her quilt is very sweet. Quilts gifted are the best!

audrey said...

gorgeous quilt! i'm in love.:)

Jan said...

What a sweet quilt! I'm sure your Grandma will love it. My mom is 89, and I know she would. I like the rectangles - something different.

mjb said...

What a great gift! Absolutely beautiful:)

Nicole said...

Happy Birthday to Grammie! What a special gift to her. I'm sure she will love it. Thanks for reminding me of the importance of labeling quilts. That's something I need to make more of a priority.

true2beeme said...

I love this quilt...just gorgeous and looks so comfy, and love the story behind it and who it is going to...hope she enjoys it!

Betty Lou said...

This is the perfect quilt for your grandmother. There is an urgency to life no matter what the age, we never know.

Betty Lou said...

This is the perfect quilt for your grandmother. There is an urgency to life no matter what the age, we never know.

Lexi said...

Wow I actually love the patches as rectangles. Thanks for the great idea!

Linda said...

I do love the quilt. I guess those are really my colors. I like your new colorful quilt, too. They really both have their place in my heart! Thanks for sharing.

lifeinredshoes said...

What a heartfelt gift. And time has taught me, never miss a chance to say or show...I love you :)

diane said...

Amy, you're so smart ! Ha, get it. But this is a lovely quilt even if my joke is bad. Thanks for sharing Nonna's quilt story.

Katie Doggart said...

Amy

I too was planning on making my Nana a quilt for her 91st birthday last June. (I have just recently started quilting - probably less than a year since I made my first quilt). Unfortunatly she passed away suddenly last March. I know that she would have loved anything made by me, but also loved the fact that I have been sewing/quilting.

I am glad that you were able to finish the quilt.

Gmama Jane said...

Living life without regrets is true freedom. Don't wait on telling others you care and/or doing acts of kindness. I feel like the real winner when I follow through with my own advice. Blessings to your Nonna
Gmama Jane

madebymum said...

what a beautiful quilt and story.

Michele said...

What a beautiful post to go with a beautiful quilt. And I am very glad that you are committing to labeling every quilt now. Preserving that information is so important.

Peter said...

A beautiful quilt for you're grandmother. Our grandmothers have been gone for a few years now, but our mothers are both in their 80's, and they are in nursing homes within 10 miles of our home. We see them several times a week, one has Alzheimers and the other has dementia. The one with dementia my wife's mother quilted faithfully until about 5 years ago when she suddenly couldn't remember how. But she still loves beautiful quilts.

Ric Rac and Polka Dots said...

Happy birthday Grammie! God bless. And what a wonderful gift, you are so sweet!
Julie

Kristy Sioux said...

Beautiful quilt!

2ne said...

A butifull quilt you have made for her :-)

Katy Cameron said...

Gotta love the go getting 87 year old grans! My 87 year old gran just got an iPad the other day, her very first computer...

Sandra (Cherry Heart) said...

It's a beautiful quilt, I'm sure Nanna will love it. Well done you on getting it together :)

S x

Lucy @ Charm About You said...

Pretty quilt! I'm sure she'll love it. Great tip for labels too.
Grandmas are the best, I just spent the weekend with mine, she's 93 and we had a great time. I think she had me eating cake 2 minutes after I stepped in the door!

Patty said...

Pretty quilt, I'm sure your Grammie will cherish it.

Shop Girl said...

Amy, have to laugh at how in sync we are at times. Just finished giving a lesson on Family History, watched Downton Abby while binding a quilt (luv sunday @ 8pm.)& made a goal this year to gift more quilts to those important people in my life. Your awesome, love the quilt & so will Nonna! Take care my friend. You are a jewel.

Leanne said...

It is a beautiful quilt and a great story. It is so nice that you are able to send the quilt to her, I am certain she will love it.

Thimbleanna said...

Wow - it's beautiful Amy. I love the pretty, soft colors. And the elongated nine-patches are a very happy accident!!!

Laurel said...

Love it Amy. Love your Italian heritage too! You lucky girl. :)

amy said...

i love that quilt! I didn't notice the rectangular blocks at all until you told the story and that's kinda neat, too, but I bet it was a major "arrgh moment" at the time. i really love the binding. You do such great work. xo amy

leigh said...

I love it Amy! And I don't usually love 9 patches. I think I love that little corner piece in the sashing and also that they're rectangular. Funny - your story.

thegoose said...

Such a sweet post. The quilt is beautiful and I am sure she will cherish it.

Gnomemade said...

Amy - I've been a blog reader (or perhaps "lurker" is the better word) for a while now and have continually been impressed and inspired by your work. But, as I read this post, I could help but tear up. My grandmother passed away in November and in October I hand delivered a quilt I made for her, so your sentiments struck home. Thank you for sharing your story. And, of course, the quilt is beautiful.