This gift started over 5 years ago. In September of 2008 I finished the quilt top (you can follow the posts backwards here). I am not sure why I ultimately folded it up and put in on the shelf. Maybe it felt too big to quilt myself? I had the batting, the backing and top done, but never got around to finishing it.
This past fall I have had to prioritize my time in a way that is different from the years and months past. No longer am I crafting to take a break from writing my dissertation. Likewise I am not crafting to fill my days with something other than baby food and diapers.
Life has shifted in our household: we have four growing daughters now - no babies anymore - and no plans for more children. I have gone back to work teaching and am spending the remainder of my time this year volunteering at their school. I know that life balance is ever shifting and precarious. This past fall tilted more towards the computer/classroom/meeting end-of-things and less towards the sewing machine/knitting needles/making end-of-things.
This fall, however, I re-discovered this work from many years ago and called upon a neighborhood friend for help. She is an incredibly accomplished quilter and after seeing my work agreed to complete the project for me. I left her with the top, batting and backing. Two weeks later I went back to her house and picked up this beauty.
There is history behind this quilt. Briefly, the backing fabric was a cover for a blanket that was kept at our family cabin for many years. It used to be bright fuschia, but faded in the sunlight. I salvaged the fabric for later use when the cover developed a big rip down the middle. More than this, however, is the additional story layer added by my friend that helped finish it. She added a heart patch to the back - covering a small hole - that gives it the extra touches that will be discovered, and re-discovered in years to come.
I intended the quilt go back to the cabin, but my Mom wants to keep it around the house instead. I don't blame her - it did turn out quite nicely. This, along with a pair of upcycled wool mittens, were the only hand-made presents I gifted this season.