For Donna

In the spring of 2004, I posted on a scrapbooking message board that I had been reading since 1999 that I was going to make a bargello quilt, and a dear friend, Donna, said that she had always wanted to make one too but just hadn’t gotten around to it. When she was diagnosed with terminal cancer two years ago this week, I was on bedrest and unable to sit upright for very long, and I realized she’d probably never get the chance to make her bargello quilt. There were two days during that entire 9.5 week period when I was able to sit up for more than 15 minutes without contractions. During those two days, I made the interior of this quilt, thinking and worrying and crying about Donna the whole time.

Memorial Quilt for Donna

My mom and Jerry picked out the border fabrics, and I layered the quilt for quilting after Alice was born. I’ve been paralyzed by how to quilt it for over a year, not wanting to ruin something that I made with Donna in mind, you know? Finally, after quilting it with a botanical theme, picking it out, quilting it with swirls, and picking it out, I went with traditional channel quilting which is the usual type of quilting for a bargello quilt. I framed the interior with straight-line quilting in the borders.

Then, rather than call it done, I felt that the quilt needed a little something to make it pop. They don’t show up in the above photo very well, but there’s a line of glass beads (purple, red, and gold, in random order and sizes) in the outer border that are individually sewn on. They give the quilt a lot of sparkle and I am very happy with what they add to it.

Here’s a closeup of the beads…

Beads, Closeup

and another one… same edge of quilt, further up:

more beads

I did a very narrow binding, which was finished last week.

Even though the fabrics are all from Jerry’s personally-selected fabric stash, he’s not enamored with this quilt. But I absolutely love it, because of who I think of every time I see it. I hope Donna likes her bargello quilt. It’s about 3’x4′ and will probably hang over the grand piano in our living room, where I can be reminded of Donna’s legacy daily.

Tonight, I presented the quilt at my quilt guild’s Show & Tell, and as they read the story about it I stood there and cried. This woman, who I never actually met — or even spoke to on the phone — made an incredible impact on my life. She is missed. Not just by me, but by many, many people. I hope she knows that.

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