The Quilter — a video blog for Mom

I can never really express what Mom has meant to me. Even as a young mother, she somehow knew how to love unconditionally, while providing guidance and consequences – tough love – when we needed it. As Mom turns 90 on May 24th, I want to share the video I made for her 85th with more of you, and highlight just a few of her many talents hidden in the lyrics. Your comments, calls, cards and letters will be a birthday gift to her. Thank you!

bit by bit, the quilter makes a comforter     Mom knew that a quilt was more than warmth. With its many colors, and love sewn into every piece, it truly was a comforter.

piece by piece, the peacefulness is grown      It takes a lot of patience to make a quilt, as it does to raise kids. What a blessing it was to be raised in a peaceful house. Were there problems, disagreements? Of course. But fighting was never the answer.

stitch by stitch, a lonely thread will soon be wed
so no-one has to sleep alone     
Sleeping with one of Mom’s quilts is sleeping with love.

day by day, the quilter is a comforter      Mom was and is a comforter. No matter what the problem – a skinned knee or broken heart or failed ambition. Her understanding love always found the right words to comfort me and so many others, and still does.

word by word, she listens to your heart      Mom might be surprised to hear me say she always found the right words, as she has always said English was her weakness. But listening is the source of words, and she has always had that gift. She knows how to listen without judgment, yet share her opinion and wisdom, both in words and action.

year by year, her handiwork may fray and wear     The pictures of Marissa, with the shredded blankie “Gramma Audrey” made for her are two of my favorites. Though void of warmth and even color, clearly there was still some love coming through those threads.

but good friends never tear apart     Mom is grateful for the friendships that have lasted since days of youth. They are a testament to her and those friends. But it also speaks volumes that young people who rented from her and Dad or were taught quilting or mentored in other ways have grown into adults maintaining and treasuring their relationships with Audrey. It wasn’t unusual for my friends to say they envied me for my mom and our relationship, and I was happy to share her with them.

never wasting, always tasting new creations from the old     Truly, my lifestyle of frugality and creative up-cycling was inspired by my parents’ thriftiness and ingenuity. We didn’t have a lot, but never wanted for anything.

cutting, sewing, laughing, knowing quilting stories often told     Mom sewed and quilted at home (I often fell asleep to the sound of her sewing machine and sometimes still hear it in my dreams!) but also loved being in quilting groups. What could be better than sharing scraps of cloth, ideas, and stories?

each one differs, soft as slippers, little nippers shy or bold
love her blankies, used as hankies, and as diapers, truth be told     
Okay, so I doubt any of her baby quilts were really used as diapers (creative license, you know) but they went to so many little nippers that I’m sure a few were peed-upon. She wouldn’t mind. They were to be used, not just for show. It wasn’t unusual for Mom to see a mother and baby on the street and ask “Does he have a quilt?” If the answer was no (or even yes) she would often go home and return with one. It would be hard to say who got the most pleasure from these surprise gifts!

face by face, she smiles at every shape and hue     Mom loved every kind, color, and shape of the pieces she quilted, and could fit them in to one quilt or another, just as she loved every kind, color, and shape of the people she met, and could fit them all into her heart.

row by row, connecting as she goes     She loved bringing people together, whether to quilt or just visit, and made real, not just superficial, connections.

quilt by quilt, for baby, newlywed or old,
she warms our hearts and hands and toes     
Yes, it’s true. She met Dad on a sleigh ride and he fell in love with her when she warmed his toes–sticking out of the cast on his broken leg!

bits and pieces, sewn together, grown together, in her hands
fingers bending but still lending love to every block and band     
As in most quilters, arthritis bent her fingers as she aged, but that didn’t stop her.

friends and needles needing guidance, knowing that she understands
nothing’s perfect, no-one’s finished, ’til returned to dust and sand     
The graceful acceptance of imperfection, one of life’s most important lessons, was one she taught and also learned as quilting became more difficult.

night by night, we lie beneath her works of art
dawn by dawn, awakening our souls
one by one, her beauty touches eye and heart
how many, heaven only knows

I am so grateful to be one of the many. I love you, Mom, and always will.

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10 thoughts on “The Quilter — a video blog for Mom

  1. Mother Audrey…
    We are grateful that God blessed you with so many gifts and you are willing to share them with us! The first are your amazing stories of love and life in your quilting. You have planted beautiful stories in the blending of each piece of material…your light will never die nor grow dim! Secondly, I want to thank you for the angel you named Holly! Having her in my life has enriched me in ways too numerous to list! I thank God for her friendship and for her willingness to share the wisdom of her she-ro (YOU) with me. May the lord continue to smile on you and give you peace!

    • Thank you so much, Jevetta, from Mom and me. Your words are so thoughtful and kind, and touched us both. They are yet another blessing you have shared over so many years.

    • Thank you, Bernie, from Mom and me. We love seeing you in the video! Happy memories of quilting together.

  2. Happy 90th Birthday, Audrey!
    You and I have the same birthday on May 24th. I met you when I worked with your beautiful daughter, Holly at Oxboro Library in Bloomington.
    Your quilts are lovely and filled with love. You are an inspiration! As I have become a quilter, I now have quilting friends in Minnesota,
    Little Rock, AR an Belle Vista, Arkansas.

    Thank you for your beautiful life in which you have brought warmth, love and happiness to so many through your quilts.
    I am also deeply grateful for the pleasure of knowing your creative, enthusiastic, and smiley daughter.

    HAPPY 90th BIRTHDAY
    Marilyn Lee
    Currently living in Cave Springs, AR
    Formerly of Bloomington, MN

    • What a lovely surprise to hear from you, Marilyn! Thank you for your very kind words, and memories of working together. That was such a special group! Mom had a birthday filled with love, and I hope you had the same. Happy quilting!

  3. Dear Audrey, you are an ARTIST !!! The designs are intricate, unique and creative! I never knew you personally, but your love for others and for beauty in ordinary things shows clearly in your marvelous creations. As Holly says, only God knows how many people you have comforted and blessed with your quilts — and with your life. May you receive blessings back a hundred-fold! Happy, Happy 90th Birthday!

    Holly, may you be blessed in return for this wonderful tribute to your Mom!

    Angie Norell – (long-time friend of Holly)

    • Thank you so much, Angie, for your sweet and thoughtful words. You have always been such an encouraging friend, since our days as volunteers at the zoo. Mom was so moved that her work has touch more people than she knows. I’m sure you have done the same!

  4. Happy birthday auntie you have done great work with family and quilting. We will try to get together this summer

    • Thanks, Greg, from both Mom and me. She lit up upon seeing your message, and we would love to see you this summer!

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