April 6, 2011
The Purple Quilt Rides Again
The purple quilt that began with a few lovely purple patches draped on my mantel is now completed -- except for the batting and backing and hand-quilting and binding, which always go faster than making the quilt top because they require handwork rather than decision-making.
As I've mentioned, I was making this quilt for Dr. Nancy A. Hardesty, my dear friend who is near the end of her two-year struggle with pancreatic cancer. Nancy asked that I give the quilt (in her honor) to someone with breast cancer (in honor of my own breast cancer). Then I suggested we raffle or auction it off to benefit the Evangelical and Ecumenical Women's Caucus, of which Nancy was a founding member. Nancy loved that idea and thought it would be a nice touch if whomever won the quilt then donated it to someone with breast cancer.
It's the circle of love, and I as designer wonder if anybody but Nancy and I could ever love this quilt. The fabric pieces are all relevant in one way or another or six to our families and friendships. The newspaper piece because she's a historian. The cross because of her faithfulness. The tiara because (not everybody knows this) Nancy could never resist a fine tiara. The lime green Halloween piece because she hasn't missed sending me a Halloween card in more than twenty years. The pinks with polka dots because I love pinks with polka dots, which meant she would delight in having them there. The purples, because it's her favorite color; she even owned a purple car for a number of years. The New York scene because she's sophisticated, the ancient ruins because she took a fabulous trip through Turkey some years ago. And the little piece of dragon, green on purple, because he's on many of the quilts I've made for family members and certainly belongs on hers. Finally, there are the psychotic cats (bits of black on green on the bottom left) and the vintage piece I bought on ebay from a woman in Iowa who was selling batches of quilt pieces her mother had collected for sixty years, give or take a decade.
The quilt was in my car when I attended the Kentucky Cancer Foundation / Junior League breast cancer survivor weekend last month, and on Sunday morning, when the Reiki masters were there, on impulse I went to the car and brought the quilt in. We discussed it and decided I would lie under it while they (there were two of them working together) offered healing energy to me and through me to Nancy. When I got home from the weekend, I found the news waiting for me from Letha Dawson Scanzoni about Nancy's rapidly eroding health.
The quilt is on the chair where I set it down that day. It's a good place for it for now. One day I'll pick it up again and attach the batting and the back and begin the stitching of love and memory. When a decision is made about auctioning, you'll be the first to know.