On Christmas Eve Eve 2007, while I was at home taking care of my 9-day-old Julia, my little sister had a stroke. Since my sister was only 30-years-old, it took a L O N G time to diagnose her. Of course, I assume any time you are waiting for a diagnosis on a relative in distress, it seems like a long time. It was Christmas Day they gave a final diagnosis and really started treating her.
To make a long story semi-short, 2 weeks in ICU and 2 more weeks in the hospital later, my sister was relatively back to normal. She had 6 more months of meds and then was given a clean bill of health. She doesn’t seem to have any outstanding issues, except for some fear any time she has a headache.
I’d say the whole thing shook up my whole family – and definitely me. The youngest of 7 is the one you’d least expect to end up in ICU. And I felt quite helpless in another town with a newborn and being greatly discouraged from my daughter’s pediatrician and others from visiting my sister in the hospital.
It took a while for me to figure it out, but I finally decided what I needed to do for my sister, even though by then she was well into her recovery. I needed to make her a quilt celebrating her life and to be given on the 1st anniversary of her stroke!
Soon I sent out pieces of fabric to several family members and asked them to make an outline of their hand on the fabric and write messages to my sister. I enjoyed seeing them come in and reading the messages:
We decided not to give the quilt to her on her anniversary for logistical reasons, but instead on Christmas Day. I couldn’t be there, but I understand that the minute she heard the whole family had a gift for her, she started crying. (Would you believe nobody had a camera?!!!? On Christmas?!?! That was the only thing I expected — to see pictures of her opening it!)
When I did see her a couple days ago, she reenacted opening it, but since the tears weren’t flowing, one of my brothers started flicking water on her to create tears, so instead we have laughter:
I love my sister, and I hope she cuddles in her quilt often and feels the warmth of all of our love.
A few notes on the making:
*I originally saw some hands quilts like this in Quilter’s Newsletter, if my memory serves, but I can’t find the actual issue. So definitely inspired by that but I figured out the measurements and the sashings on my own.
*The hands are all batiks. I find that the tight weave serves well for writing. And, of course, I love batiks! I also had ironed the fabric squares to freezer paper before mailing to make it easier for the contributers to draw and sign.
*The fabric pen I love most is the Pentel Gel Roller for Fabric . It creates a nice thick dark line and held up well in the wash when I tested it. I found it at Hobby Lobby.
*Yes, those are dog prints in the bottom right corner! I had my sister send me her dog’s prints without any explanation. She bravely put some paint on her dog’s paws and stamped them on some paper and mailed them to me. Her dog’s quote? “Woof! Woof!”
*And here’s the back, made from scraps, including some I bought for possible use on the front but didn’t work:
Filed under: Quilting