Quilt of Love

quilting
One of my hidden talents is designing and sewing lap sized quilts.ย They will never win awards or appear on the front page of a magazine. Instead, they keep my family members warm.

Intrigued by beautiful quilts I’d seen in magazines and online, I decided years ago to give it a try. I took a few classes and made some simple quilts. For those of you who aren’t quilters, making seams match and points pointy is important in many quilt designs. Since that’s a real challenge for me, I decided to create my own designs.

The most important quilt I even designed was for my brother-in-law, John, after he was diagnosed with Stage 4 brain cancer. He asked me to make him a quilt and it needed to be a large one since he was 6’9″ tall. John was very patriotic so I decided on a stars and stripes design in red, white and blue.

I purchased many fabrics in all shades of red, white and blue and roughly pieced it on a freezer paper pattern. There were a lot of curves and hundreds of pieces. Time was of the essence so I worked on it every available moment. It wasn’t perfectly even. None of the sides measured the same, but it was beautiful and he loved it. It was on his lap as he attended his son’s wedding in the backyard of his house; it kept him warm as he lay in the hospital bed in the living room; it followed him to hospice and warmed him as he took his last breath; and finally, it was buried with him.

God was in the details. I tried to make a similar quilt several times over the years and I can never get it to work. I believe God helped me through a process I’d never tried before to make a quilt that would show my love for John and would comfort him and my sister throughout the progression of his illness. I’ll never make a more beautiful quilt and I’m okay with that.

There’s something comforting about working with beautiful fabrics and weaving them together in amazing designs. While I haven’t quilted much over the last few years, the stacks of fabric and my sewing machine are waiting when I’m ready to return.

2/22/14 EDIT: I finally found a picture of John’s quilt. It was about 5′ x 7′, the biggest quilt I’ve ever made.ย 

John's Quilt

Kristi Campbell

What a special quilt. I love that you did that for him, and that he was buried with it. This is beautiful, Jennifer. My mom made my son a quilt when he was born. Each square is dedicated to a family member or very close family friend so that he’s reminded how many people love him. I treasure it (and know that he will, too, once he realizes how much love and meaning are sewn into it.

jasteck

There’s something about a quilt that wraps around you like a hug, Kristi. Your mom is wonderful. That’s such a special gift for your son with so much meaning. I’m so glad I could give John something that meant so much to him. It made us smile, when there wasn’t too much to smile about.

jasteck

I’ll look for one of my pictures of John’s quilt, Diane. I just couldn’t find one this morning. I’ll let you know when I get it posted.

Dawn

I had no idea you quilt too! Like so many interests, I prefer small projects as it is so hard to complete large ones! For me, quilting is a very special labor of love as was your wonderful gift for John.

Jenn

Lovely story. I cannot sew, so I am always jealous of those who can. It is on my bucket list, to learn, along with learning to crochet as my grandmother did. I still use, daily, the afghans that she made for me; so do my own children who she never met.

Mike

Oh my gosh I love that your buried John with that quilt, Jennifer. Awesome story and I had a special quilt like that as a kid. There’s a pic of me lying on it as a kid in my Blogger One Year Anniversary post ๐Ÿ™‚

jasteck

I was on a roll for awhile, Dawn. There was something therapeutic about the process. I’ve made smaller quilts, but my favorites are the lap quilts. I love to cuddle up with a good book and warm quilt.

jasteck

Crocheting is such an art, Jenn. I’m so glad you have the afghans that bring back such wonderful memories and give your children a glimpse of your grandmother, their great grandmother. After I got over trying to make everything match perfectly and let my quirkiness show through in the designs, quilting became much easier and so much more fun.

jasteck

Almost all my family members have received a quilt. So I need to get back working for those who haven’t received one yet. The time will come, Kathy. Thank you for your kind words.

jasteck

Thanks, Mike. As you can tell, John was very special to me and it has brought me a lot of comfort knowing I could give him that gift. Now I need to go back to see your One Year Post. ๐Ÿ™‚

Bluestar68

Oh that is a gorgeous quilt Jennifer! I was hoping you would post a photo of it. Your story touched me very deeply and I bet your brother in law is smiling down at you from the great beyond!

jasteck

Thank you. Looking back over the years, there are a few times where I can truly say I made a difference. I’m so glad that was one of them.

karen

OMG I am in tears right now…what a beautiful gift you gave and what an amazing talent. What you did was beyond love…you are one rocking quilter.

I crochet adn made my first one with granny squares, now my second blanket is all one piece with various colors, it’s fun to learn and progress.

jasteck

Thank you, Karen. I’ve never been able to make a quilt like that since John needed one. God made it come together when I wasn’t able to make it happen. Crocheting is beautiful, too. I have a crocheted throw one of my friends made me. It’s so warm.

jasteck

Thank you, Amy. We were so blessed to have John in our lives and I’m so glad I could give him something he loved so much.

Chris Carter

Oh Jennifer!! I am in tears over here… just precious, this quilt- and this story! Oh yes, my friend. Truly. God WAS surely in the details, in the moments, in every part of your quilt, your heart, and John’s.

jasteck

Even years later, Chris, I can’t believe that I made that quilt. There is no way to explain it other than God. He was with us every step of the way through this difficult time. I will write another story one of these days about the amazing love my sister turned into action. She was incredible and an inspiration.

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