Russell Samson sits by Gloria's quilt
I had an interesting occurrence last year. I got a call from a lady named Gloria Samson, asking me if I would do the quilting for her on a quilt top that she had finished but did not have enough time to quilt. She was referring to the fact that she had terminal lung cancer and despite chemo and radiation, she now had less than 6 months to live. The quilt was for a Christmas present for her daughter.
I accepted the job, which was a double wedding ring quilt. When I brought it back to her, she wanted it bound as well -- not my favorite thing to do, so I asked my quilt guild if they would like to participate in the binding as a charity for Gloria. They would, and they did, and when she saw it, she cried.
She tried to press upon me the quilt you see above as a thank you. She had already paid me for the quilting on the DWR, and when I saw how unusual this one was, I knew I could not accept it as a gift. I have never seen one like this before or since! The baskets are scrappy, and the handles are pointed at the tops. I told her that it needed to stay in her family. She had hand quilted 3/4 of it herself, but her failing health made this a project destined to remain unfinished, since I prefer not to do hand quilting. However, I told her that I would ask the women in my guild if anyone was interested in completing the quilting for her.
Til Tremper, a diminutive, energetic lady in the guild, had a special interest in hand quilting, and she organized a group of women who took turns doing this labor intensive work. Till did not want remuneration for her effort. She regarded it as a labor of love and a chance to hone her skills and those of the other budding hand quilters.
Over several months (October to May), these ladies gave of their time and efforts when they could, and finally the quilt was finished, including the binding. Yesterday I took it to Gloria's husband, Russell, who was overwhelmed by the workmanship. He smoothed the quilt lovingly as he took in the beautiful stitching and then was lost in reverie for a moment.
He says he is going to use it on his bed. They had been married over 40 years. I know he must miss her. I think he likes the idea that through the quilt, Gloria is with him, enfolding him and continuing to give him comfort in this way.