What’s Your Story? – My Sister’s Unfinished Quilt by Barb R.

What’s Your Story? – My Sister’s Unfinished Quilt by Barb R.

BLOCK Magazine is always looking to publish original stories from quilters like you. We believe that everyone has an important story to tell and that sharing our stories brings us closer together. Quilting isn’t just a hobby for some. For many it’s a way to cope, stay inspired, or even honor others.

Thank you, Barb, for sharing your story.

“Prior to my sister, Susan’s, untimely death from ovarian cancer at age 49, we had the opportunity to go through some of her “stuff.” There were a lot of boxes to go through and at the bottom of one of her boxes, I found several unfinished projects including multiple finished Christmas tree blocks and already cut fabric ready to piece into more blocks for a quilt. 

At the time, I had never quilted but I had an older sister who was an devoted quilter and I asked Pat if she would like the squares from Susan. She agreed to take them and although there weren’t enough squares or fabric to make a quilt, there were blocks that could be used for some other form of remembrance. 

The first Christmas tree square Pat used was on the back of a quilt that she made for me as a way of thanking me for helping Susan. Pat came up with the idea of using the squares to make pillows for the four living sisters. Unfortunately, every time Pat opened the squares to work on them she became emotional and tearful and couldn’t really start. Now I’m new to quilting but I’m up to the challenge of making pillows for my 3 remaining sisters.

Susan died before she ever became a grandmother, but loved babies and knew at some point her two girls would have children of their own. Because she knew she was going to pass before seeing her grandchildren, she wanted them to have something special from her. Crocheting was easy for her to do when she was ill and something she could do without having to sit at a sewing machine. In the year before she died she crocheted six baby Afghans all in different colors. I was the keeper of those gifts until such time she had grandchildren. Twenty years have passed and she has six grandchildren. Each baby was taken home from the hospital wrapped in one of the afghans made by their grandma. It is comforting to know all of her grandchildren have a piece of Susan’s work.

Susan was a remarkable woman and we both learned to sew early. We were only 13 months apart in age. Our first project when we were about eight was a green and white skirt that we made with our maternal grandmother. She made Alaskan parkas for my kids, she made Mukluks, and there wasn’t much she couldn’t do when it came to sewing.

Sometimes our projects get ahead of us and sometimes a little mistake in one project makes it difficult to continue and so it goes to the bottom of the box. Now as I take these squares and make pillows for my sisters I will finish the “unfinished” quilt in a different form. My sisters will have a remembrance of Susan knowing she is wrapping us all in her love with a piece of her quilt.”

Barb R.