I want to tell you a little story.
It’s also my cat.
That’s Eowyn. You’ve met her before, but this story isn’t about her, she just happened to be on the bed and unwilling to move when I took the picture about the real star of this tale:
My mother sewed it for me when I was little. I’m not sure exactly how young I was, but I don’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t have it, so I’m going with very young. It’s king-sized and she sewed it out of squares of fabric she’d cut out of clothes (I assume it’s clothes people had grown out of).
When you consider that I was born in 1976 and I’ve had this as long as I can remember, you probably wouldn’t be surprised to hear a lot of that fabric is polyester. There’s some cotton, some denim and even some fabric I’m not sure what it is, but there’s a whole lot of polyester.
The backing was a flannel sheet, and there was loads of stuffing. My mom hand-tied that beast meaning that at every point where the squares meet she pulled wool through and tied it to bind all the layers together.
My quilt is freaking heavy. It’s even heavier when you’re a kid, but I loved it then as I love it now. I would drag that thing across the lawn to lay it out for a picnic or drape it over chairs or tables to make the most secure fort you can imagine. When I’d have nightmares I would duck beneath it, growing sweatier by the moment but also safe, secure beneath its weight.
When we moved to the country you might think I’d be smart enough to leave it indoors, but you’d be wrong. That quilt has been through fields and corrals, it has hosted tea parties and listened to whispered teenage secrets.
I know it like no other object in my life. I’ve spent countless insomnia-filled nights counting the squares, playing with the wool ties or looking for a pattern in amongst the chaos. I know the texture of each block and I have favourites among them.
Sadly though, the quilt has seen better days.
It’s worn and strained. The backing sheet is threadbare beyond words, stained and tired. Polyester being nearly immortal those squares are fine up top, but the rest are giving up the fight. The batting is also a mess, spread bare in some places and clumped up in others. There are holes big enough to stick my fist (or my foot) through.
The quilt has spent the last four years or so in my closet, waiting while I tried to figure out what to do with it, how to restore it, how to save it. Recently I was forced to admit that really, its time had come. There might be a way to painstakingly pull out all the damaged parts and add new ones in, but that is beyond my skill or the time I have to offer to it. I could applique stuff on over the big holes and put a new back on it, but… well, it wouldn’t be the same.
So I’m saying goodbye to my quilt. I pulled it out, I put it on my bed and we’ve been using it, sort of a ‘last hurrah’.
Then an interesting thing happened.
Jo was trying to get some work done and Danica and I were baking together and being a bit noisy so he took his books into the bedroom. He’d been in there for a while when suddenly he popped his head around the corner into the kitchen and said, “Hey, Rhonda, did you know that my tartan is all over that quilt?”
Sure enough, the plaid blocks all over my quilt, the one my mom made for me over 30 years ago, is Jo’s family’s tartan.
Just one more reason my quilt rocks.
…maybe I should try to find time to save it after all.