My mom is the genesis of my quilting disease. She started quilting when I was going into 5th grade, and the first quilt she ever made is the one that was on my bed all the way through middle school, high school, and in my apartment and first home with my husband until we got a down comforter.

I have never made a quilt for her, which annoys me, when she’s made so many for me. I think there are at least 3 of her quilts if not more of them in this house. Two of them are hanging on the walls.

We have also never collaborated on a quilt together. So we’ve decided to change that.

What we’re going to do is generate a bunch of random quilt parts — the Parts Department, if you will — using the colors that make us happy from our scrap stashes. And then at some point in the future (December? or after her annual trip to Colorado this winter?), we’ll get together and start arranging these blocks and strips and random fabric items into a quilt piece. Her color palette is mostly the same as mine; it’s perhaps not quite as bright, but we shop at the same Crackhouse so they’ll probably go together quite well.

The interesting thing about this is that we will likely bicker about who gets the privilege of doing the machine quilting on it — both of us LOVE that step, and are getting better at it and growing to enjoy it even more than the process of putting together a quilt top. It’s sort of like the journaling on a scrapbook page — quilting is the lifeforce of a quilt. It’s what gives it depth, warmth, and spirit. Maybe we’ll both do some of it. But this is unusual because most quilters pay other people to do the machine quilting for them — something I would love to do for people one day when my life isn’t quite so scheduled. I’m too cheap to pay someone else, and so is my mom. And, frankly, I enjoy the challenge of sharpening a skill that most people find to be “too difficult” or intimidating to do themselves.

We’ll enter our collaborative quilt in the “group quilts” category in the quilt show next October. I love that. And if we can get Helen and Alice to put handprints on it, it can be THREE generations of collaborators.