The road ends, but the journey continues...

Tattered and Torn, Loved and Worn

One day, years ago, Amy-next-door came to call. She often came to visit with her two little girls in tow to play with my youngest two kiddos as they were all around the same age. This time, she stood holding two paper grocery bags.
“Look what I found!” Amy said as she thrust the two bags into my arms.
Feeling light as a feather for all their fullness, I immediately knew they were filled to the brim with fabrics.
“I found these at a garage sale for $0.75 and I thought you might like to use them.”
More than just neighbors, Amy-next-door and I were enablers…always on the look-out for each other’s vices: she and her buttons, I and my fabrics.
As I began rummaging through the brown paper bags, I noticed they contained more than just scraps or random cuts of material.  There was a huge piece of white cotton flannel, a stack of pre-cut 10 ½ x 10 ½ flannel squares, a handful of 3 ½ x 3 ½ ones and miles of uncut flannel fabrics of varying designs and colors.
This was someone’s UFO (quiltspeak for ‘UnFinished Object’).
Upon further investigation, there were cardboard templates for the squares and a diagram outlining a basic 9 patch quilt pattern, alternating with solid (unpieced) blocks.  The mysterious quilter titled it: M’s Quilt.
I had always wanted to try my hand at sewing an all flannel quilt, and here was my chance handed to me in two brown paper bags. Adding fabric scraps from the flannel ‘granny’ nightgowns I made for my mom, sister-in-law, niece, myself, and my two daughters that Christmas, I plunged in and took on the mysterious quilter’s UFO.

M Quilt Label

Label with scrap-square of the girls ‘granny’ nightgown fabric

Following the basic plan she outlined, I finished it up with scraps to spare.  Honoring her intent with my own, I labeled the full-sized quilt the M Quilt and gave it to my middle child, Michelle.  I figured there were plenty of M’s to accommodate the given name.
My Michelle was 5 the year she was given the M Quilt.  I never expected it to survive much beyond her elementary school years.  She is now almost 29, married and about to start work on her Doctorate.

To reconstruct the quilt, it had to be deconstructed first.

Through countless washings and numerous moves, the M Quilt has endured. It has also become somewhat tattered and torn.  Being an enabler, I recently took on the task of repairing the M Quilt so it could continue being a part of my middle child’s life.
To reconstruct the quilt, it had to be deconstructed first.

See the ‘new’ binding vertically and to the right

I cut out the borders where most of the torn and shredded fabric was.  Because the material was old and worn, new borders could not be added or it would strain at the seams and rip the old fabric worse than if it hadn’t been repaired.  So I left enough of the border fabric on the quilt to fold back onto itself into a ‘new’ binding.  I refreshed the old fabric, restoring it to new usefulness; enabling it to last through many more years.
And while it’s not the primary quilt or blanket that graces my middle daughter’s still newlywed marriage bed, it will be there for her (and her hubby) to serve as a reminder. A reminder of love enduring: past, present and into the future.
Just maybe it will last long enough to cuddle the next generation, if that is how their love life path leads them.  But with or without babies bobbing amidst musical instruments and computer disks filled with PhD research material, it is enough to know Marriage is now part of the M Quilt.

The M Quilt restored-just a simple flannel 9 patch, Loved & Worn



  1. Jayne

    Laura, You’re one of the most creative people I know! Music, quilting, writing, goat tending–those are the things I know about, but I think there’s probably even more!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Wow…thanks for those kind (yet embarrassing) words.
      Interesting to note: I found a good article on this very subject the other day. You might find it fun to read: The Messy Minds of Creative People

  2. Brenda Remmes

    What a lovely story that shows the magic transformation of something forgotten into something memorable.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Welcome, Brenda.
      I appreciate you taking the time to comment on this piece. Feedback from one of the Camden Writers is especially meaningful.

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