The handprint quilted into the quilt above is mine. Surrounding it are the handprints of my husband and grandchildren. Twenty-seven years ago, I was sitting in the passenger seat of a pick-up truck headed to Wyoming. We were delivering some oilfield supplies. My children’s father was driving; it was late at night; the marriage was failing and I was thinking about my friend who was dying of cancer. The idea for the quilt came to me; I don’t know how or why, but it did, and I started it the next week. Different shapes, of different colors, were hand appliquéd onto a white piece of fabric. I bought the thread intending to hand quilt it, with the different colors running through the quilt, an alternating triangle border pulling it together.
I often wondered why, when you would hear the stories of quilts, uncompleted, “discovered” in an attic, or box in a closet, they weren’t finished. I learned, and understand now, life has it’s own plan sometimes, and it might not include finishing a quilt. I carried the quilt, and it’s thread, from home to home, town to town, from the end of one marriage, through the failing of another, until now. Children grew up and had children of their own; I found a good marriage, a happy place and decided I was ready to finish it.
The quilt like my life, metamorphised a bit; I needed to find a couple of replacement triangles that almost match; a couple spools of thread disappeared and had to be replaced; the stitches are bigger, and there were stains from the colored fabric bleeding onto the white. My quilt and I have aged. The colors match others I have chosen for our house, it will still keep a child, or grandchild warm, and if my husband wants to snuggle under it, while the fireplace warms up the house, it will keep us warm as well, while reminding us of the love of the handprints-the best warmth of all.
Our pasts never really leave us. We can modify them, redirect them and flat out lie about them, but they are still our pasts. Bring your past into your future, embrace it and quilt it together with your future. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, with many things to be thankful for, both past and present.