Saturday, August 28, 2010

for Jenny and Lucy

About 2 years ago my sister-in-law Kim had told me that her Aunt Janet had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, instantly I felt horrible for her and their family....Ovarian cancer is so, so nasty (what cancer isn't?) My Grandma Heeter passed away from ovarian cancer at the age of 80 so in a lot of ways she was a lucky one....she was diagnosed at 78 and fought it 2 hard years so to die at 80 that is still a really full life. Janet too fought it for 2 hard years and passed away in May at the age of 60. 60 to me is NOT that old. Janet had 1 child, Jenny. Kim (my SIL) and Jenny are cousins and very, very close. Kim and Jenny asked if I could make a quilt using some of Janet's clothing...I had never done anything like it before but I agreed and got a bag of clothing in July and Jenny got the finished product on Thursday.
Jenny liked the quilt I had made for my nephew Garrett so I knew what quilt block I would use and she wanted something modern, not real feminine, no florals, just something nice and clean but incorporating clothing of her mom with the other fabrics I had too. I used a lot of my Amy Butler stash, it felt so good to use it for a project like this.

These are some pictures of what I came up with. In the bag of clothing was a skirt that Jenny really wanted to have in her quilt, it was a bit stretchy and a little challenging to work with but I did it. I also used a pair of her moms brown/camel colored corduroy pants, a pair of linen capri pants and some hankerchiefs. At first I thought it was a little odd that Jenny had included some hankerchiefs but then she told me why. She explained to me in a little note that these were the hankerchiefs that her mom had worn while she was going through chemo (gulp, lump in my throat) but then she also went on to explain that when Jenny was growing up Janet her mom was a single mom, no dad, no help, no support EVER. It was always just Jenny and Janet. Janet worked in a fish cannery and everyday would wear a kerchief to work. (double gulp, lump in my throat) I found myself while sewing these blocks imagining being a single mom, working in a fish cannery everyday to support myself and daughter and realizing how lucky I am to be a stay-at-home mom. Janet did everything she had to/needed to for she and Jenny.

After thinking about the hankerchiefs for the chemo and the cannery I remembered that I have some "kerchief" girl fabric and I knew I had to use it in Jenny's quilt. Above is a close up of one of the blocks with some of Janet's kerchief.

I also used the last of my little scraps of Heather Ross fabric with the little fish in a few of the blocks all worked out so well.

Just for fun I added a little Heather Ross banana seat bike just because Jenny was born in the early 70's and what kid from the 70's doesn't remember riding a banana seat bike? :)

Jenny had also asked if I would make something for her daughter Lucy from Janet's clothing.....I wanted to go more feminine/girlie for this because Lucy is just 3 years old....I used a few of the kerchief pieces left from Jenny's quilt, the same linen as Jenny's and then a white with gray polka dot fabric from a blouse along with several different pink, red and blue fabrics from my stash. I also incorporated some red "kerchief" girl fabric in Lucy's so she has that memory too of her Grandma going to work with a kerchief on her head.

Her is the back of Lucy's, I backed it with chenille, it is so cozy. Jenny sent me a message and told me how much she loves the quilts and that Lucy slept with hers the first night. :0)
I have enough clothing left over to make Jenny's step-dad (Janet did marry when Jenny was 18 I believe) a throw and Jenny's mom too....I am hoping that I will have enough after that to make one for my SIL and her brother also to have a little bit of Janet to remember her by.
{click on any of the pictures to see them closer up}


  1. I had to step away and come back, you've done a wonderful thing!

  2. they both turned out great! nice job.

  3. Aren't those the hardest yet most rewarding quilts to work on? I did a series of quilts for a customer who's mother died quite unexpectedly. It was terribly hard to cut into the clothing and I always made sure to never let her see the scraps.