Back in May, my mother-in-law started planning a birthday party for her mother-in-laws 90th birthday(my husbands grandmother). A friend of hers had told her about their family tradition, where for significant birthdays, they made a poster with quotes equivalent o the number of birthday years that was being celebrated. My mother-in-law wanted to adapt the idea and solicit 90 ideas from all of the family members as to what each loved about Mom, Grandmom, Mom Mom. Having recently attended a lecture by Cheryl Lynch, who has made beautiful tribute quilts for special occasions, I immediately exclaimed, I could make that into a quilt! Grandmoms quilt was born!
Let me interject here that Grandmom is one amazing woman. She is 90 years young and still very full of life. After her husband died two years ago, she moved into an independent living residence and is now more active than even before (if thats possible!) She swims or exercises every day, plays bridge several times a week, volunteers with several church related organizations, including an adult literacy class and loves to socialize. She has to check her calendar when you want to visit! Her wit and sense of humor are as sharp as ever!
Over the summer, we collected 90 quotes and combed through family photos that would be representative of Grandmoms life. In May, I had acquired my EQ7 upgrade with its new photo capabilities and new grid feature on the custom quilt layout screen. These new features would prove invaluable in designing this quilt!
I used MS Publisher to turn all of the quotes into standardized text boxes and printed them all out onto EQ Printables Premium Cotton Lawn Inkjet Fabric Sheets. Wanting the quilt to have a random feel, the grid feature on the Custom Layout screen allowed me to to easily arrange (and rearrange) the text boxes (inserted as plain blocks) and photos. It was wonderful to be able to import the photos into EQ7 and adjust their sizes to make everything fit. I also printed the photos onto the Printable Sheets, once I was certain of the sizes.
After many iterations, I was finally satisfied with the layout and began to sew everything together using the Custom Layout as a guide to cutting out the fabric pieces in between the text boxes and photos. Because of the randomness, I worked on one section at a time, creating segments that were roughly 8 x 12. Each section was sewn together with one of a handful of gold fabrics that I had selected to blend together. Of course, because the text boxes and photos were all different sizes, the sections ended up being irregular shaped pieces. It created what I called a giant Chinese jigsaw puzzle with lots of partial and inset seams. What was I thinking when I thought this layout would be a good idea! When the last two pieces came together perfectly, I breathed a huge sigh of relief! The finished quilt measures approx. 41 square.
Once the quilt was done, I created a label similar to the heart in the center, telling Grandmom that although there were countless reasons why we loved her, we wanted to share 90 of them with her and then listed all of the contributors to the quilt. Realizing that the label would be hidden behind the quilt when it was hanging in her home, at the last minute I ran to the store and bought an 8 x 10 frame and framed the label instead of sewing it to the back! I did however sew a label on the back with the quilt’s complete provenance. I am also planning to attach a separate label that identifies all of the people in the pictures so that future generations will know who everyone is.
This past Saturday was the big birthday party at my mother-in-laws house. With all of her children(4), grandchildren (8) great-grandchildren(2) and respective spouses and significant others present, we first gave her the wrapped frame to open. The tears started to flow and this wasnt even the real present! Next came the quilt and a request for more tissues! After Grandmom had time to digest it all, we temporarily hung the quilt for all to see. Since the family members had only seen their own contributions, much of the night was spent with everyone taking a turn to read 90 Things We Love about Peg, Mom, Grandmom, Mom Mom!
Love you, Grandmom! Helle-May