I was pretty swamped last week because I tasked myself a major project that was super important to me — making my first wedding quilt in memory of J.D.’s grandmother.
When we got married, GanGan made us a wedding quilt in our wedding colors and receiving it at our wedding shower was a truly welcoming experience. It took her months to carefully match fabrics, cut a million squares, carefully piece the quilt top together and finally sandwich and hand-quilt the piece. It was a labor of love and the time and effort she put into the quilt meant and means the world to me.
I mean, look at baby Bean cuddling up in “his” GanGan quilt.
Her intention, I believe, was to make a wedding quilt for each of her grandchildren, but our wedding was the last one she attended, as she passed away in 2014.
When J.D. and I got his cousin’s wedding invitation earlier this year, I really felt compelled to continue GanGan’s wedding quilt tradition, so I started to look up patterns. But, I had a hard time figuring out how to time manage a wedding shower, Bean’s upcoming birthday party, blogging and starting a new small business, taking care of the house and kids and a new quilting project. I was really overwhelmed and discouraged.
But, a few weeks ago, the aunts were going through GanGans things and found a her fabric stash and a few quilt tops that she had left unfinished. I’m the only one in the family that quilts so they saved them and asked if I wanted to have them.
And of course, I did.
Inside the little basket they packed up for me, I found this quilt top — sewn and picked apart, pieced and unpieced.
GanGan struggled with this quilt top. It took a couple of hours to figure out what happened during her time with it. As far as I can tell, she meant to make a simple Floral-Tan-Pink pattern but as some point during piecing, she accidentally started sewed the rows on upside down. I think she finished the top, stepped back and realized that something had gone wrong.
She started to pick apart all the seams but decided to try and create a different pattern, because it was just too much work. She sliced through the squares to make a triangle edge, which she ended up not liking because she only did three sides. Then, she decided to bite the bullet and just unpick the squares that messed up the original pattern, but I think by that point, she was too frustrated with the whole thing that she put it away until she figured out how to deal with it.
The whole time I was picking apart the seams and putting the squares back together, I could hear her tsk-ing in annoyance and chuckling that such a small mistake caused such a huge issue.
I was up late for about a week, getting the top back together and the piece quilted, but I got it done just in time. Honestly it would’ve taken less time if Belle didn’t try to cuddle in every quilt she saw because she thinks she’s getting a hammock ride.
This quilt isn’t nearly as beautiful as the one GanGan would’ve made for the new couple. The pattern is way too simple for a true GanGan wedding quilt, I haven’t learned to make my hand-stitching quite as delicate or even or as straight as hers and I’m terrible at embroidering letters. But, the prayers and the well wishes that went into each stitch was the same.
After wrapping up the quilt, I wrote the new bride and groom a quick note about the quilt…
C & T,
This quilt top was one of the last quilting projects that GanGan worked on before she passed in 2014. It was a quilt that she struggled with because of a tiny mistake that was made while piecing the top. As I was trying to fix and finish it for y’all, I could see how hard she tried to fix it. Let this be a lesson for your marriage — Anything worthwhile is worth the work.
I hope GanGan is happy with where this quilt top ended up. And if any of the other grandchildren are planning on getting engaged soon, give me a heads up. Y’all know who I’m talking to…
Featured Image: Photo credit to Science Encyclopedia.