Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Quilt to Comfort

So, as I've become better at this quilting/sewing/creative thing, of course my mind starts to move towards the commercial benefits of my talents. In fact, the past two weeks I've been pulling together paper work to make Strong Creative legit, and start making some extra cash for the family (or, at least be able to write off my fabric purchases!)

However, Thursday night put everything into perspective. My sister, my Hannie, Aunty Ha, watched Delaney during the day while I was at work. When I got home, the two lazy butts were sleeping on the couch. I woke them up, and rushed out of the house so I could avoid traffic and get home. Hanna mentioned going to the ER for a doctors note for work (she had called off with headache the day before), but I wasn't the least bit concerned. She doesn't have a primary doctor, and has come to know the local ER docs quite well over the past couple years.

This time was different. The doctor that saw her remembered her, and didn't like her headache symptoms one bit. So, they ordered a CT scan and spinal tap, and discovered a mass in her brain. After 5+ hours in the ER, they ordered a medical transport to take her to UCSF for an MRI and further monitoring. I found out at 12:30am as my mom followed the ambulance into the city, and I couldn't sleep. I was still awake when Trevor's alarm went off at 3am, and still awake when he went back to bed after calling off of work to be with us. Because the Royal Wedding wasn't distracting enough, I got to finishing my mom's Mother's Day quilt. It was a project, I had to focus, and not cry. As the night wore on, I kept thinking of my little sister in a cold hospital; of my divorced parents sitting in a waiting room for hours without answers. I wanted to rush out of the house and be with them, but with the baby here, and no news until morning, I had few options. Each row of quilting brought me 15min closer to my sister, to some answers.

After 6 hours of sewing, the quilt was done. I sat in the dark at my machine from 4:30am-10:30am, and Han's MRI had been rescheduled until 12:45. Trevor drove up to my mom's house to gather items she needed, giving me time to quilt and bind. I so badly wanted to be there, to hug my sister, to hug my mom. Tears poured when Kate Middleton's sister and maid-of-honor picked up her gown train, when my bobbin tangled, when I found the receipt from the lunch I bought Hanna in exchange for her babysitting on Thursday. When we got to the hospital, she was sleeping, and my mom found some comfort in the quilt for a few hours. When Hanna woke up, I brought it in to her, and it's been on her bed (and on her "personal items" claim sheet) ever since.

Monday she had surgery, and today we finally found out that her tumor is benign! It was a neurocytoma, a ventricle tumor that usually appears in young people. The doctor said it was calcified, so it had likely been in there since she was a child. While the quilt was a Mother's Day present for my mom, I think having all her babies safe at home is even better. Besides, I don't know if she's getting that quilt back now, Hanna has bonded with it!

But this is why we quilt. Yes, the quilts can be works of art, the can be sold, or awarded fabulous prizes. But ultimately, it's a gift of warmth, comfort, and protection. I know that quilt was with my sister at all times when we weren't able to be, a constant reminder of the family who loved her and wanted her well. Now, it will come home, be washed of the hospital smell, and be folded next to other blankets, but this one will always be a little bit more special.

quilt is based on Fabric Worm's 5-Point Quilt Tutorial...full post to come soon!


  1. What a lovely story. I got goosebumps reading it. Thank you for sharing and I am so happy that your sister is going to be healthy.

    Such a beautiful quilt!

    Nanci Byers

  2. beautiful quilt and beautiful story! I am planning on making this quilt for my sister's 30th birthday. I saw your comment at the bottom of the fabricworm tutorial post, and clicked over. I'm glad your sister is doing well.


Somedays I feel I'm talking to myself! Input is appreciated :)