My wife, Donna, wants each of her children and grandchildren to have a beautiful, warm quilt. Over the years, she has made sure our children had one for their bed, one for college, one for their wedding, and one for other times when they needed it. Donna has always said that when they wrapped up in their quilts, they could think about it as if their mother was hugging them.
Now that all of our children are married, her attention has turned to making quilts for our grandchildren. This Thanksgiving, one of our sons brought his family to visit. That was the perfect chance for Donna and our daughter-in-law, Janalyn, to work on some quilts for their two children to replace the baby quilts Donna had made for them. The first opportunity they got, Donna and Janalyn sat down to go through Donna’s supply of fabric.
As they were looking at different squares Donna had already cut out, our four-year-old granddaughter came to watch what they were doing. Sometimes Hannah doesn’t say too much, but she usually has a way of letting you know what she wants. At one point, Donna pulled out a bigger piece of fabric that she planned to use for another project she was working on. As she set it aside, Hannah’s eyes showed her excitement.
The fabric was purple and covered with beautiful butterflies. Hannah got up, picked up the material, and left the room. Donna and Janalyn looked at each other, then followed to see what she was doing with it. They found her in the bedroom across the hall and watched as she put the fabric into Janalyn’s suitcase.
Hannah knew that her grandma’s fabric drawer contained material for quilts for the grandchildren. She must have thought the butterfly piece was a finished quilt, unlike most of the material in the drawer. After watching Hannah’s actions, Donna turned to Janalyn.
“Well, I don’t think we need to guess what Hannah would like for her quilt.”
They waited until Hannah wasn’t looking, then retrieved the fabric from the suitcase. It wasn’t quite as big as Donna wanted the quilt to be, so she sewed some beautiful purple strips around each side until it formed a full blanket. The challenge was that each time they set it aside for a moment, Hannah would gather it up and put it back in the suitcase.
Finally, the butterfly side was done. Then came the question of what would go on the other side. Donna found a baby shark fabric someone had given her, and Janalyn said that Hannah loved baby shark.
Donna had just finished putting the pieces together with the batting between, when Hannah noticed the butterfly fabric was missing from the suitcase. She came in and saw her grandmother working on it. She had a worried expression on her face as if she was wondering whether it would be hers or not.
Donna took the quilt to the quilting machine. After she fastened it on, she quilted part, and Janalyn quilted the rest, so it could be a gift from both of them. Meanwhile, Hannah didn’t let it out of her sight. I couldn’t even encourage her to come eat, build a fort with Lincoln logs with me, or anything. She just stood on the couch so she would have a good view to watch her mother and grandmother.
Finally, when the quilt was done, removed from the machine, and bound, the two women presented the little girl with the quilt. Hannah’s eyes lit up with excitement, especially when she saw that it also had baby sharks on it.
While Donna and Janalyn made a Baby Yoda quilt for Hannah’s little brother, Hannah spent much of the rest of the Thanksgiving weekend wrapped in her quilt. Sometimes she wanted the butterflies to show on the outside, and sometimes she wanted the baby sharks.
And when she brought her blanket to curl up in as she sat by me to watch a movie, I could sense the greatest pleasure she got from it was knowing her mother and grandmother love her.
Nancy H.December 8, 2021
My mother always pieced together quilts for her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She then hand quilted them. This article brought tears to my eyes. Thanks for sharing.