When you work in a quilt shop, you talk to people. You get to know them, you share stories, you find out their struggles and generally share tips, life hacks, experiences, and sometimes we even talk about quilting and fabric.
Yesterday, a young man walked into the shop. I’d seen him many times before, he does gorgeous and unusual piecing…technical stuff. He likes to bring them in to show us, and we love to see his work. Honestly, we love to see everyone’s work, it’s so inspiring. But his is always a bit different. One quilt he brought in was completely Harry Potter themed, with books and potions and characters all arranged on a series of shelves, with tiny pieced accents and Harry Potter memorabilia. Cool stuff.
I turned to greet him, “Hey, haven’t seen you in awhile!”
He shuffled his feet a bit, as uncomfortable early twenty-something young men do, and said, “Well my mom got sick and had a long illness and died.”
At that, all of us working stopped in our tracks and went over to him. We offered our condolences and then he said, “After she was diagnosed, for the next 9 months we worked on a quilt together, and it’s showing in Madison. She died the day before it came back from the quilter.”
At this point I needed a Kleenex.
I asked if he had a picture of the quilt. It was stunning…gorgeous…meticulous. It reminded me of a Judy Niemeyer. He said he did all the cutting, pinning and pressing, his mom did the machine sewing. He told us that they matched every single thread, and if something wasn’t absolutely perfect down to the thread, they corrected it. He said the medallion in the middle had 24 pieces of fabric coming together at the center and he managed to get it down to about 1/8 of an inch thick. He said Best Press is his friend. When they went to square it up it was 100 inches by 100 inches precisely. They worked on it in the nine months that she was still feeling OK.
I cannot include a picture because it’s in competition in Madison at Quilt Expo this coming weekend Sep 8-10.
As part of the show, he’ll be having his picture taken with the quilt. He said he’ll be bringing a picture of his mom to hold up so she’s in the shot.
If you will be at Madison Quilt Expo this weekend, you may want to send a little love and encouragement his way.
And, I don’t know, his quilt may or may not take Best of Show or any award at all.
But it sure is a winner.