Wednesday, August 10, 2016

And it whispered, "Please finish me"

Notice - long post. Grab a drink and a snack if needed. ;)

I've been a bit overwhelmed with chaos and sad things lately. My website crashing and dying right in the middle of it all hasn't helped. Not to mention, the stress of having to "make money" to pay for all this new technology, is an absolute creativity killer. It drains the inspiration right out of me and makes me question as to whether I should just throw in the towel on all of this and go get a job at Starbucks. "Would you like an extra shot of espresso in that?" hee,hee,hee.

A couple of weeks ago, my little stitching group came over to my house for our weekly visit. My dear friend, Jean, works in a local quilt shop and said a lady, named Tammy, had called and asked if there was anyone who could finish a small quilt her mom started. Jean asked around the shop and then gave her the number to our quilt guild. Jean told Tammy to call her back if she didn't hear from anyone. Well, as you can imagine, nobody called.

Jean told Tammy to go ahead and bring the quilt to the shop. She would take it around and ask some of her other sewing friends if they would finish it. Tammy brought the quilt to the shop and all the gals there stopped to admire it. It had been hand completely hand stitched and hand quilted by her mom. The gals at the shop said it really should have a border on it, so they helped Tammy pick out a soft lavender fabric that would accent the blocks. The tricky part would be adding this border to the quilt since it was already quilted. However, there was jsut enough fabric around the edges to it.

So Jean brought the quilt to our little stitching group. She pulled it out and told us the story of how nobody would take on the project of finishing it. My friend, Molly, said she could probably do it if Jean couldn't find anyone, but it would be a few months as she had many things on her plate.

While Jean is a talented garment sewer, she is not a quilter and didn't feel comfortable taking on the project herself. I sat there looking at the quilt in awe at all the work that had gone into it. All those hours and hours of cross-stitching each block.

While I wanted to help, I said I couldn't do it as I had absolutely no time, not to mention I was totally stressed out and needed to be spending my time designing new projects so I could pay for my new website. Everyone understood where everyone was coming from and Jean put the quilt back in the bag. We finished up our little visit and when I was tidying up, I noticed Jean had accidentally left the bag with the quilt in it. I texted her and let her know. She said she would pick it up in the morning.

Well, that quilt kept whispering to me, "please finish me." Around 8:00 that night, I pulled it back out of the bag and brought it up to my studio. I sat down and looked at every single block and then suddenly, I took a long look at this block.

There was so much meaning to me in that one block. First, my two sweet friends from my new sewing group, Molly and Jean. Second, November 19th was the day my beloved grandpa passed away in 1997. Third, I adore and am totally intrigued by Chinese astrology and this little girl was born in 2004, the year of the monkey. I too am a monkey and not only that, but 2016 is the year of the monkey again!!! Then, something really special happened. Sabrina came upstairs and crawled into my sewing table cabinet and laid down. She has never done that.

It brought back the happiest memories of my beloved Harrington bunny who loved to lay in the cabinet while I sewed.

Well, that did it for me. I decided I was the one who was suppose to finish the quilt.

I had to fix a few of the edges first before I could sew on the borders. When the borders where on, I started trimming down the sides getting the quilt ready for the binding. When I flipped it over, I noticed this small blood stain on the back. Immediately I thought about the woman who must have made this quilt and what she was thinking as she obviously pricked her finger with needle. She probably thought the same thing I did, "Oh thank goodness it's on the part that will be cut off instead of on the front of the quilt!" LOL! We have all been there in quilt world haven't we?

The next morning, I got up early and was excited to finish the binding. I got my coffee and headed upstairs. I thought to myself that I still needed a few hours to finish the binding. I love the calming and meditative time that comes with hand stitching and wanted to enjoy every second of it. I thought I would call Jean and let her know I would bring it by later. I wanted to surprise her with it. Well, low and behold, she texted me and said she wouldn't be able to come by until later that afternoon. PERFECT!! :)

Jean was totally shocked when she came in and saw the finished quilt. She couldn't believe it. I told her the whole story and why I decided I needed to do it. She asked me if she should ask Tammy for some money for my time. I told Jean what I would really love in return was the story behind the quilt. I really wanted to know more about the lady who spent all those hours stitching this quilt and why she never finished it.

Jean called Tammy and told her I had finished it and what I wanted in return. Tammy wrote me the following letter.

Hi Michelle,

I cannot thank you enough for finishing this quilt! It has quite a story associated with it. Feel free to share the story with others.

My mother, Mary, loved stitching. She found it very calming and meditative. At first she made pillow cases for friends and family. Picking out their favorite colors and stitching designs on their borders. She would often hand them out as presents to those she loved.

She died 5 years ago. My father and I did go through some of her things when she died, but we did not come across the quilt. She must have been keeping it to herself to surprise her only granddaughter, Molly. Molly was a baby at the time, but my brother's only child. Years go by and then my father passed away in November. While going through his belongings, my husband and I found the quilt. You can imagine my surprise when we came across it! She had obviously spent a lot of time making it for Molly. Now thanks to you...Molly will now have the finished quilt that her grandmother so lovingly started so many years ago and never got to give. 

I know she is smiling down on us, thankful that her project is complete. I also know that Molly will treasure the quilt for her lifetime. I am glad that it was you who finished it because I am sure that the finishing stitches were also done with love. Making that quilt everything it was intended to be - a gift of love. 

I know you did not want anything for finishing it, but me and mom appreciate it and want you to do something special for yourself!

Thanks again, 


As you can imagine, I was brought to tears with this letter. In fact, I cried again just now as I typed it for you. Tammy gave me a $100 bill for finishing it, money that will go towards my new website. I know in my heart, that Mary whispered to me through that quilt. It was a sweet and gentle reminder that I love what I do and even though chaos, sadness, computer crashes and financial worries come, there is nothing I would rather do than share my love of quilting and stitching with you.

Thank you Tammy and Mary. Jean took this photo of Tammy with her mom's quilt. :)

Light, love and hugs,


Sharon said...

The quilt is beautiful and I love the story behind it!

Carol said...

What a charming quilt and story! I'm sure it is a blessing for you as well as the family.

Natascha Rieper said...

What a wonderful story! And how she found away from the other side to get her quilt completed and to her granddaughter

Jeanette said...

Fabulous quilt & story. So glad you finished it Shell. There was some eye leakage happening here. Hugs, xx

quiltingtaylormade said...

Michelle I just KNEW you were going to finish that precious quilt!! And it didn't take you long at all !! What a beautiful and touching story behind the quilt. It's a very sweet and lovely quilt. So pat yourself on the back. You have done a very good thing!!

quiltingtaylormade said...

Michelle I just KNEW you were going to finish that precious quilt!! And it didn't take you long at all !! What a beautiful and touching story behind the quilt. It's a very sweet and lovely quilt. So pat yourself on the back. You have done a very good thing!!

LindaC said...

How wonderful! Made me cry just reading this. You are such a special person Michelle.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

All quilts have a story, but some have that special story. And how wonderful to be one of the chapters in this book.

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...


I read this and felt the call myself...a call in the heart to look closer at the connections in our lives. Just when I saw the DATE of the birth, that alone said to me that this piece was done in celebration of a life. That then turned my thoughts toward the reality that life is short, and that we must try to finish as much as we can that we started. But this work is not just a piece of art. It's our living. So much ran across my mind as I read your words, and to me, I felt that ALL THINGS WORK together for the good. You listened to the call. You fulfilled it, you were blessed in the quiet of your work place, and you were unexpectedly rewarded. Oh Shell, these technology crashes can ruin our dreams, but in all honesty, they can't rob them. Our dreams are not made of silicon or even flesh and blood, but of spirit that can't be crushed. CONTINUE!

JudyCinNC said...

Sweet Michelle, we really should always stop and listen to our needs and thoughts more often You were so involved with trying to resolve the problems surrounding you that you did not see the opportunity to love and lift your spirit at first. Aren't we so lucky to have persistence take over for us sometimes. Even the animals were involved in guiding your way. I so love this story and I knew from the beginning of your post that the quilt came to you for a reason. You are a very wonderful and special lady and I am so happy to call you my friend. JudyC

Mrs. Duval said...

That is one of the best stories!! Thank you for sharing all of it!!!

Sherry said...

Thanks for sharing this wonderful story. It was something I needed to read this morning. The quilt looks wonderful the way you finished it.

Loris said...

What a sweet story to cherish, Michelle. Blessing that family like that is wonderful!

Barb N said...

It's perfect and seems to have been meant to be! Couldn't have worked out any differently.

~Laurie~ said...

So glad you listened to the promptings and finished the quilt. I'm sure that the recipient will be so pleased with this heirloom! Isn't wonderful to be part of all of this love :)

Kathy C said...

it's just my allergies. Really, I'm not crying. I love this story and I'm thankful for you sharing it.

Mary Baars said...

What a wonderful story to read, even through the tears.
Every sign led you and your wonderful decision to follow your heart. The quilt turned out so nice and now Molly has a nice quilt to treasure for the rest of her life.
Michelle, you are such a generous person, with all the time you spent following through to finish the quilt.
God Bless You.

Gale said...

Thanks for sharing that sweet story.

Fiona said...

How absolutely lovely... got tears in my eyes too. It's a lovely finish and very special

Brynwood Needleworks said...

Dear Shelby:
Sometimes the greatest reward comes from those tiny voices that speak only to us. I'm so happy you listened to yours, my friend.
Love and hugs,

Jules Woolford said...

You told it beautifully! Love you for giving so much happiness to Mary's family. You gave them a treasure which could not be

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Good morning, Shell!!!

Oh, you dear heart, YOU...thank you for coming to visit me and Vicki. I tell ya, it's quite the honor to grace her page. She is a very talented and generous soul. And how are you? Planning to relax or work the weekend? Whatever you do, may you be at total rest and peace. What a crew you have, Sabrina and MISS HANNAH-B! Much love to you!

Createology said...

Michelle Dear this is truly a beautiful story. You are such a blessing to have finished this lovely and very special quilt. Heirloom treasure and Love! Sabrina is such a sweetheart. May your trials all work out and allow you to be at peace and enjoy your amazing creativity. Hugs...

FrenchGardenHouse said...

Oh my goodness, what a wonderful, lovely story. I love this, it just shows that things come together at the right time. You have greatly encouraged me today, thank you! The quilt is beautiful, and it is so sweet that it has given so many joy for different reasons. xo Lidy

Deb~Paxton Valley Folk Art said...

What a wonderful, wonderful story, thanks so much for sharing it, you are one in a million Michelle! Deb xo

Stephanie said...

What an honor for you to finish it!