Yesterday was the last day of spring vacation for us in Nikko and I had planned to do quilty things like practice machine quilting. Make a bag. Start a new prayer quilt. I still did quilty things but not what I had lined up.
A couple of days ago my neighbor was visiting and she said because of family circumstances (divorce) she wanted to give me back the quilt she started a long time ago and that she wouldn't be able to finish. I had to pick my brain to remember what quilt we were talking about. Yes, maybe 10 or more years ago my neighbor had shown an interest in my quilting and I had offered to teach her. She didn't own any fabric so she thumbed through my scraps and decided on making a quilt in pink. I don't remember if she pieced by hand but I think she must have... I remember her thinking about a border fabric, again from my stash and I must have helped her trace the quilting pattern. That's it. My neighbor went back to work and that's the last I ever heard of the quilt. I asked a couple times in the early years but she said it was in the back of her closet and hadn't been touched.
When I saw my neighbor this week she said she'd discovered the quilt wadded at the bottom of the closet but it was stained and her kids had tried to use it as a dog blanket. She wanted to know if she should give it to the dog, or throw it out, but because all the fabric had been mine she felt a little guilty. I told her to hang on to it and someday she'd find time and be able to pass it on to her daughter. She looked at me doubtfully, and I could envision the dog getting the quilt eventually.
This is one reason why I don't really like teaching patchwork. So many of the projects get left by the wayside when people get busy with other things and yet I feel responsible for the started quilt. Often the people have spent money for tools (rotary cutters, cutting mats, quilting hoops) and of course for the fabric. I don't know if it is my advice to piece a certain pattern or quilt a certain design that throws them off but quite often the quilt gets forgotten. I thought about the neighbor's quilt. Am I responsible? If she finished it, wouldn't it mean more to her daughter than if I finished it? But it probably wouldn't get finished. Oh, phoo. Just get it and do it for her! She's been a very nice neighbor.
So yesterday I saw the neighbor's son and asked him if he knew where his mother's quilt was and he telephoned her and finally rooted it out of the bottom of the closet. Stained? Yes! Stiff and dirty? Yes! Cat and dog fur? Yes! It was much smaller than I remembered it but all the fabrics brought back memories of past quilts and quilt stores where I had bought them... The center had already been stitch-in-the-ditch quilted and there were quilting lines faintly visible in some parts of the border and corners though gone in others. My neighbor had planned to make a very nice little wall hanging but I could see how she might look at it and think it an impossible goal these many years later.
I retraced the quilting design and had to guess in some places. Then I spent a very nice day just quilting. The whole day through!!! And last night I gave it a wash and though some of the stains didn't come out I think it is a respectable quilt to hang on the wall or put at the foot of a bed. I've called my neighbor and she'll come and get it today. I hope she'll use it to brighten up her new apartment.
I'm glad I rescued a quilt.