A couple years ago we were visiting my sister and her family at their beautiful secluded huge ranch outside of Afton Wyoming. We love it up there and its such a wonderful place to be with family. My sister Michelle had given me 2 quilt tops, backs and batting that her daughter-in-law, Amber, had sewn. Amber had taken a beginning quilting class and had made a log cabin quilt and a sampler block of the month type quilt. Michelle asked me to quilt the 2 tops for Amber and I was only too happy to do that. They were placed in a white plastic trash type bag to keep them clean and placed in our big van to bring home. (big clue - trash bag) The Wyoming ranch doesn't have trash collection, and they have to dispose of any trash themselves so my family had been keeping our own trash in a couple white trash bags to dispose of when we got back home. The trip home was complicated by a few family issues and when we got home I was preoccupied. The van was unloaded and we began putting things away and sorting laundry to be washed. I just didn't even think about the quilts in the bag. It never occured to me that they might be mixed up with the bags of trash. My family didn't realize that the quilts were in that bag and the bag with the quilt tops must have been thrown away. About a week later I went into my old sewing room to get the quilts (still not realizing they were thrown away) so I could lay them out and contemplate quilting them. When I couldn't find the bag I became frantic. The whole family was involved in trying to find the missing bag with the completed quilt tops. It started to dawn on me then that they were lost forever. I felt so careless and horrified at what I had let happen. There was no way to bring back those two carefully sewn quilt tops. Quilts are not only expensive to sew but the time and effort goes into them can never be replaced and in this instance there was also the learning involved for a new quilter that could not be reproduced. For days I was sick and I didn't know what to do. I was too ashamed to call my sister or my niece. In the end I knew I couldn't ever replace or give Amber back what I had lost so I just had to do my best to try to show her how sorry I was.
I remembered the colors of Amber's log cabin quilt and I went about finding fabric to make the blocks as similar as possible. It was a hard quilt to sew because I knew that no matter how pretty it might be, it would never be the log cabin quilt Amber made herself. I completed a log cabin quilt for her and then had it quilted. I still hadn't made that confession phone call though. I called the quilt store in Las Vegas where Amber had taken her sampler class and arranged for a gift certificate for her and also put together a quilt kit for Amber to make another quilt and I got my package ready to send off.
Making those 2 phone calls to my sister and Amber was such a hard thing to do. Of course they were both gracious and as forgiving as possible. My sister is such a kind and loving person and Amber already knew about the lost quilt tops by the time I phoned her. She was very sad but also forgiving and sweet. I'm sure they were both very disappointed and upset by my carelessness but they couldn't have been more loving and understanding to me. I'm sure it still hurts Amber when she thinks about those lost quilts.
So I learned several things from this awful experience. One - don't ever put quilts or tops in an opaque trash bag. I only put them in clear bags. Two - always be forgiving. They could have chosen to be unforgiving and grudge holders but they didn't. They were sad and unhappy about the unfortunate mistake but they put it aside because we are family and they knew I was heart sick. In turn it makes me realize I need to be more forgiving of others if I want to have forgiveness for my stupid mistakes.
The quilt shown above is not the quilt I made for Amber. It is one I made for myself out of the left over scraps from her log cabin quilt and some scraps from other quilts. The border is different from the border on her quilt. I chose my border with log cabins, family trees and bees to help me remember that family is the most important thing. And everytime I look at this quilt I remember the importance of forgiveness.