Jane’s last quilt

This post may make your think (or confirm) that I am totally crazy, but I want to tell you about the most magical quilt I have ever quilted, and the special lady who made it.  Jane was a nurse in my town.  Her last post at the hospital was in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit), and not only did she do a superlative job in caring for those precious little premature babies, she cared so much for them and their families.  She started a project in which many quilters in town participate, me included.  We make quilts for the babies in the unit.  Mostly, I just quilt them – I’ve done a bunch – but I have made a few too.  Anyway, about a year and a half ago, Jane got sick.  It turned out that she had ovarian cancer.  Still, she kept working until she no longer could, and then she kept sewing until she could no longer do that.  Her husband said that when she stopped sewing, he knew he had lost her, as it was her greatest passion.

I quilted a quilt for Jane shortly after she stopped working.  She wanted to finish up her UFOs and leave them for the folks she cared about.  She had never had a quilt professionally done before, and it was my honor to do her first.  As it turned out, I also ended up quilting her very last quilt.  She passed in September.  She earmarked this one for her son, who is now a grown man.  It is full of Jane’s whimsy and zest for life, and it was my honor to do it.

Now, I have to tell you that Jane was not your conventional piecer.  As you will see in the photos here, none of the points seem to match, there are embellishments and dimensional pieces all over the quilt, and it just seems to be very wonky, except that it isn’t.  It’s actually very well put together.  I put pieces of painters tape on my leveler bar so that I can be sure the edges of a quilt stay straight all the way down as I roll the quilt.  In most cases, I have to fight to keep a quilt flat and square.  Not so with Jane’s quilt.  It rolled like glass, straight and smooth all the way down to the very bottom.  As I worked on it, I talked to her – I told her that I was going to need help avoiding those dimensional pieces, and I didn’t want to run over her embellishments and ruin them or my machine.  Almost by magic, as the machine moved across the quilt, it managed to avoid all of the embellishments and most of the dimensional items.  I had no trouble with it, even with the stuffed bear!  Yes — I did say stuffed bear.  I didn’t take nearly as many photos as I should have, but I was trying to pump it out with the Christmas rush, so I’ll just give you a few.  Simple bubbles pattern, but I’d say this is the best quilting experience I have ever had.

wonky stars just bubbles 2 just bubbles janes close up janes last quilt


My camera program is playing hide and seek with the location of my most recently uploaded files.  Anyway, here are a few of the photos of avoiding the embellishments and the quilt all done.

janes giraffe janes quilt finished monkey eyes