In loving memory of Babsy, Barbara Nieters Buchen.
The overlapping circles at the bottom represent the connection between generations and the free-floating orange peel at the top is the separation felt in losing Babsie, the last of her generation in our families. During a week spent with family, I began hand quilting the piece in the evenings as we remembered Grandma: her love of food, her horrible massages, and her unyielding curiosity to the end. She graduated with a degree in Chemistry in the 1940s, supported her family during WWII, and she was a pillar in her community and family.
The mini quilt finished at 12″ wide by 16″ tall. I started the quilt a few hours after we learned my husband’s grandmother passed away. It’s the first quilt I have fully hand quilted, and quilting it in the evenings as the family sat together and remembered Grandma was a very soothing and cathartic experience.
The upper orange peel has a double layer of batting (I used Quilter’s Dream Dream Orient batting), and I machine basted the batting to the quilt top in preparation and stabilization prior to hand quilting.
I used a combination of Aurifil thread colors and weights for the hand quilting. I used: 28wt 2135 (Yellow), 40wt 2340 (Cafe’ au Lait), and 40 wt 2312 (Ermine). My plans for the quilting evolved as I stitched along, and I especially love the quilting detail in the overlapping circles orange peel where the 2135 and 2340 merge and blend together.
The texture of the mini quilt is really like nothing else I have ever done. The final background stitches in the upper right hand corner took me about 8 hours to complete. I purposefully made the quilting more and more dense in that area and less dense in the lower left. Loss can make us feel unmoored, ungrounded, and floating with the weight of the world pressing down on us. I tried to achieve that feeling with the quilting.
This is a full view of the back of the mini quilt prior to adding the quilt label, which has been added since I took this photograph. The quilt is made using American Made Brand solids, and to add to the finish I graduated the binding fabrics to mimic the piecing in the quilt top.