The last stitch now sewn on Lily’s crazy memory quilt, I paused to appreciate my labor of love. Initially observing the workmanship, my attention diverted to the individual pieces and the story they tell about my dear Lily.
This quilt is a gift—one of four that I’ve committed to make. It’s a part of each daughter’s rite of passage from girl to woman. I start when they begin high school. I unpack the trash bag full of by-gone favorites—dresses, skirts, event t-shirts and fabrics that depict what they have loved and start cutting, arranging, sewing, piecing and remembering—the turtle dress dad bought her at the zoo when she was 4, the Winnie the Pooh shirt that evoked tantrums when she had to take it off for laundry even after wearing it 5 days straight, the camouflage tee that became her Peter Pan costume, the plaid skirt where she made her acting debut as Susan in “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”. And then there’s the event t-shirts—soccer team, family reunion to Disney World, the annual screen printing wearable art project from Festival and Worship Arts Camp uniforms from 7 years in a row, and fabrics that depict her passion for animals—cats, dogs, horses.
One piece at a time, I connect the fabrics just like a puzzle—no two the same. Like growing up, each girl on her own unique journey. Gradually it takes form—the quilt and her life.
In the center, I strategically place a worn, well-loved remnant of a gold t-shirt with a large brown cross to remind Lily that the ultimate answer to this crazy life is found in that symbol and the love it represents.
I fold up the quilt top, prepare to hand it off to the professional quilter who will machine assemble the filling and backing then sandwich it all together with stitches that form repeating heart patterns all over the quilt. It will come back to me to bind and then it will go to Lily, first on her bed at home, then far, far away.
I pray it will remind her that she is one of a kind, a custom design, cherished.