I have wanted to share the progress and process of this quilt for so long, but I wasn’t able to because it was to be a surprise and my parents read my blog on occasion.
To commemorate my parent’s 25th wedding anniversary in 1988, I made them a blue and white, Irish Chain quilt. I didn’t know how to quilt it, so I tied it like so many of the quilts I grew up with were completed. They loved it. I was happy with it and glad that they liked it and for years, it hung on the balcony of the second floor of the family log home for all to see. And the years marched past.
Now, with 50 years looming, I began wondering what, if anything, I could do that would be worthy of celebrating such an accomplishment as being married for 50 years in a culture that
tends toward ditching a problem rather than holding firm and fixing it. After much deliberation and secret plotting with a quilty friends (who is also one of my Mom’s quilty friends) I decided on making a signature quilt to commemorate the event.
I figured that getting 50 names might be do-able; one for each year of marraige. However, the task became more and more daunting as I tried to track down people who would be significant to my parents. My Dad’s family resides in New England, while Mom’s family is in the mid-West. We are in the Deep South, so this wasn’t something where I could meet up with most of the people and get them to sign a block and just slip it in my purse to deal with at home. We also all live together (which is wonderful in so many ways, but I was in constant fear of being found out). My super sleuthing involved finding a friend of Mom’s on FB who helped sneak blocks into hers and my Mom’s 50th class reunion for signatures, old friends from when my Dad was in the Navy, and a few former church friends and co-workers that I could track down.
So this little project (it’s a quilt! I make lots of quilts! How hard can it be?) officially became an ordeal! My Aunt and cousin who live local tracked down family members addresses for me and helped get some of the semi-local signatures of former neighbors, friends that I don’t run into, etc. My quilty friend let me use her mailbox to receive scads of blocks and let me know whose had arrived. I could NOT have managed without the help of these friends.
Many postal workers helped me get postage on return envelopes, outer envelopes and such. I don’t think they really enjoyed being a part of my little surprise, but they at least didn’t roll their eyes at me while I was still there. I will take that as support!
All told, the postage for this quilt cost far more than any fabric or supplies used. I utilized scraps wherever possible and even mooched a lovely piece of blue floral from the quilty friend to use as a backing. Hand quilting didn’t cost a thing as I used thread left over from a larger project and needles that I already had used on other projects.
I am usually not one to make labels for quilts, but this time, I did make one in my own handwriting for posterity. It reads: Machine pieced and hand quilted for John and Judy Purdy on their 50th Wedding Anniversary, 11/2/2013, by their daughter, Jan Hatchett with the help of many family and friends. We love you always.
I don’t know that I would try to do this kind of surprise gift in about 4 months like I did with this one, but it certainly was worthwhile to see the look in my parent’s eyes when they opened it. After appliqueing the final blocks on to the borders, we ended up with 158 blocks and one signature in the border. I can honestly say it was a success!
What gifts have you made lately?
Till next time,
7 thoughts on “How Do You Celebrate 50 Years?”
Beautiful quilt!! I’m sure they will treasure it. How did you get it quilted without their seeing it?
I am not sure how I managed to keep it a secret either, except that I worked on it in my bedroom in the evenings. I think it was darn near miraculous that they didn’t catch on.
I love the story of this quilt. What a beautiful gift for your Mom and Dad that they will surely treasure. Happy 50th Anniversary to your folks!
Thanks, Lea! I will relay your well wishes to my parents. I am glad you stopped by!
What a lovely gift to make, I am not surprised they love it so much!
Thanks for stopping by, Emmely! I am glad you like the quilt.