2017, gratitude, grief, quilting, repurpose, reuse

T’s Quilts

I often think about the chain of events required to happen in order for people to meet or experiences to occur. For example, the only reason I found the job description for my current position is due to the fact that I was looking at a part-time blog coordinator position at the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. I was looking into that position by going to their website and in doing so, I found the job I really wanted. I never saw that job description posted anywhere else. Recently I learned that the blog coordinator position was posted and filled twice with both falling through resulting in the position being listed for a third time. The time I saw it led to the discovery of the job I really wanted. Had those other people not backed out, for whatever reason, I may not be in the position I’m in today.

Or, without my sabbatical last fall, I probably wouldn’t have taken the step to go to my first yoga class at my studio. Strangely enough, the first time I registered for a class the studio owner called me to say that class had been cancelled because the air conditioning stopped working and it was too hot to meet. I could have taken that as “a sign” and not signed up again, but that voice on the other end of the phone urged me to reschedule for a class the next day. Little did I know then that I’d be listening to that voice multiple times a week and that her studio would be one of my favorite places to go.

All of that is a long introduction to the quilts I made recently. You see, one of the two quilts I made for T came about because of a major tragedy in her life. And yet, without that tragedy, she and I would have never met.

T’s parents died in a plane crash when she was 13. Her guardians were members of a United Methodist church in town and they started taking her to church with them. She began attending youth group. Not long after that, I graduated from college and was offered a youth ministry position at that church. One of the first memories I have with T was going to Minnesota on a work camp. It wasn’t all perfect though – how could it be when she was a teenager dealing with the loss of her parents while living with guardians she didn’t always like?

About three years ago T was sorting through her things and came across her parent’s clothes. She decided she wanted to finally do something with them, so when she was back in town she brought over a HUGE tote full of clothes from her parents as well as shirts from her teenage years. It didn’t take me long to get the quilt tops completed. She wanted two double-sided quilts and she preferred them to be quilted. I started but soon realized I wasn’t going to be able to quilt them. There were a variety of fabric types (sweaters, t-shirts, rayon, etc) and with these materials on both sides of the quilt my machine couldn’t pull both sides through at the same rate causing it to look really bad. I tried contacting T explaining the situation and offering some solutions.

Fast forward 2.5 years! She’s living back in the area again and had time to come over and see what I was talking about. We came up with a plan and within a week or so her quilts were finally finished!

I hate that it took a horrible accident for our paths to cross. I hate that her life took such a drastic turn as such a critical time in her life. Without that, however, she couldn’t have impacted my life and I couldn’t have impacted hers. It’s the way life works, I suppose. Over the last few weeks and months of our communicating, I’ve loved seeing the life she’s made for herself. I know her parents are proud. And now she can remember them, be held by them, in a simple, yet meaningful quilt.



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