Every quilt tells a story

32 comments
Lovely red log cabin quilt? Or painful reminder? This quilt is a hard quilt for me to look at but it teaches a valuable lesson and my only reason to share this sad story is that maybe it might prevent it from happening to someone else.

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.
-nanette
Next PostNewer Post Previous PostOlder Post Home

32 comments

Darlene said...

Oh my goodness, Nanette - this is such a sad tale, indeed. I can imagine how heart sick you felt but you did exactly what you needed to do. I preach constantly to one of our local quilters about putting finished quilts in white trash bags - she doesn't seem to understand how easily they can be thrown out.

The quilt you've shown is beautiful. Thank you for sharing your tale. I scrapbook about my quilts because every quilt does tell a story.

Blakely said...

Wow, I'm just heart sick reading your story.

The forgiveness of your family is amazing.

Julia said...

Wow, thank you so much for sharing this. Forgiveness is a wonderful thing for all of those involved.

Joanna said...

Oh wow what a sad but wonderful story! So sad about the quilts, but wonderful about the forgiveness shown :) My MIL has a similar story involving quilts and a trash bag. When I read the first lines of your post, I thought uh oh this is going to be another story involving a trash bag, and it was!

Another good thing about your story is how hard you tried to make it up to her. Some people wouldn't have cared, but you went to such lengths to make it right.

So all in all, a very inspiring story, thank you for sharing it!

Brian said...

Nannette,
I am so touched by your story. It gives us all some important things to think about. Even though the quilts were priceless, family is worth even more! Thanks for sharing your story.

May Britt said...

I can just imagine what you was feeling when you discovered it was gone. This log cabin quilt is wonderful too, but it will always remind you of the sad story. But also of your wonderful forgivness of your family.

~D Spack~ said...

OK, tears in my eyes! You are so sweet. Wow. Love that Log Cabin Quilt, your fabrics are so lovely! You are so good at that! I want to see the two quilts that you have made out of Flea Market Fancy! :)
Thanks for sharing Nanette!
~Diane

Busty LaRue said...

What a beautiful but sad story. Thank you so much for reminding us all that forgiveness is one of the most important things we can give.

Stephanie said...

Wonderful friends and family are the best. I can't imagine the feeling you have about the lost quilts. On a happy note, your red log cabin is absolutely gorgeous.

Ravenhill said...

I am so sorry to hear about your sad experience. It must have felt so terrible. May it never happen again. I am in such admiration of your gorgeous red quilt!!!

Lola said...

Yikes! That just makes my stomach sick for you!
My mom was cleaning out the cupboard once, and threw away a box of "almost empty" pancake mix. A few days later my dad let her know that that was where he had hidden $2000 cash. She's still sick about it!

Jo-Anne said...

What a bittersweet story! *sniff,sniff*
Thank goodness for the gift of forgiveness. Your story is very touching. It speaks volumes about you, your sister and your niece. A wonderful family!

jen said...

Oh gosh Nanette- I'm livin that lesson right now! I KNOW I put my grandmother's old window coverings in a hefty bag, and now that I got all the crafting crap put out in the new studio I'm trying to put the house back in order. I'm looking and looking, now looking in same places again, and I just can't find those panels. I am beyond sick about it, but not yet ready to give up. :-( I'm glad your family forgave you, but I'm not sure if I'll be able to forgive myself!!

janet clare said...

what a sorry tale and what a lesson to have to learn. I shall be much more careful in future.

Linda said...

Oh Nanette, how heart breaking... but how fortunate we are that our family members show us forgivness when needed. So glad it turned out ok for everyone.

Hannah said...

Thank you for sharing this, Nanette.

The same thing happened to my family once when I was a little girl. My grandmother sent home a quilt that was mostly white with my mother to be washed at our house. My grandmother did not want to wash it at her house because she had tons of rust in the water. It came home with us in a black trash bag. Needless to say, the quilt and two brand new pairs of my jeans were accidentally sent to the dump!

Now, I always place my projects in the clear zippered bags that sheets, curtains, comforters, and such come in.

Kim said...

After I had my son I ordered a quilt kit make a log cabin. Beautiful greens and creams. I hand pieced and quilted it for our queen sized bed. We had it for a few years and when we bought this house my never thinking husband used it as a moving blanket to cover a mirror. Needles to say somehow it got ruined on the backing side. Eventually I broughtmyself to make teddy bears out of the quilt for my friend's children but I wanted to kill him for months to come. Do you think maybe that's why he buys me all these cool tools???
You did the right thing about your niece's quilts.
Hope you're feeling better, I'm trimming #5 to put biniding on it to sew down during the baseball game tonight ;) #6 is about 1/3 of the way quilted

Lily Boot said...

Oh Nanette - you're very brave for sharing this story - I know that when I do something foolish or careless I cannot bear to re-tell it because it just makes me cringe. So not only do I have respect for your sister and niece - their love and dignity in the face of such a loss is admirable - but I have great respect for you in your willingness to share this story. You're a good woman and I'm sure this is why your sister and niece were able to accept your offerings with forgiveness. Oh dear! Those poor quilt tops!

Jodi said...

Nanette, Thanks for sharing. I love reading your blog. Never stop. I'm so impressed with you and your family. I think there are too many people have forgotten how to forgive. And I loved this post you have shared with us. Awesome! Thank You.

dot said...

What a story. It could happen to anyone. I am happy to know your family forgives you but you must forgive yourself also. God Bless.

RobinE said...

Such a touching story! It brings tears to my eyes. Forgiveness is such an amazing and special gift. I love that you were also able to create a beautiful reminder of that as well.

Thank you so much for sharing the story of this quilt. :)

Winona said...

Oh Nanette,
I had almost the same thing happen to me, only it was our daughter's wedding gown! After their wedding, they got changed and had to leave for the airport, so our family stayed behind to clean the hall and take everything back to our house. I put her wedding gown in a big trash bag till I could get home and put it in its own bag. We were too tired to unload the vehicles that night. The next morning I started looking for the dress. It was no where to be found. My son remembered taking some trash bags out of the car and putting them in the dumpster. I almost died. Thankfully, this was early Sunday morning, so the trash had not been picked up, but it was raining. We made a flying trip back to town. Our son climbed into the dumpster and retrieved the dress. I was so relieved to get her dress back. It wasn't even damaged. We laugh about it now, but I learned a valuable lesson. Important things do not go in trash bags. I am so sorry about the quilts. Take care.
Winona

purple and paisley said...

wow - how sad but happy at the same time...sad it happened, but happy the way it all turned out...forgiveness is a wonderful gift...

i love your log cabin...the reds and especially the fussy cut centers...the flowers are fabulous...i'll be stealing this idea...=)

Catherine said...

I know the sick feeling you must have had when you realized what had happened. I think a top I had made has gone out in the trash because I put it in an opaque bag. I'm not sure yet -- as I have 2 places left to look for it, but am almost afraid to complete the hunt in case it's not there.
A wonderful story about the forgiveness. And a wonderful red log cabin quilt that you made!

Erin said...

Wow! That was hard to read! I almost didn't finish...you know like at the movies when you don't want to see a certain part...I just wanted to close my eyes and stop readying...think of daisies and puppy dogs...anything else. Ahh - The Miracle of Forgiveness" -hard lesson, but sweetened with understanding and love!

KSedlak said...

Dear Nanette,
What a sad story, and yet so beautiful written. It really is a lesson learned. Thank you for sharing it with us.
I love the quilt you have posted. The fabric for the border is beautiful.
It truly does tell a story.

yellowfarmhouse said...

Oh Nanette - what a sad story and I can imagine how you felt. But it was an accident and your family new that.
What a beautiful quilt - thanks for sharing the story and the quilt.

Hugs - karen

erica e said...

what a tragic story. I know you must have felt horrible about it all. what a great way to turn this into a growing experience for your family and you. your red log cabin is beautiful.

Thimbleanna said...

Hmmm, I got the weirdest error -- something about duplicate error, so if you already have this message, just ignore it! ;-)
Just wanted to say how VERY sad! I can't imagine how awful you must have felt -- you're so sweet though, your sister and niece obviously knew you didn't do it on purpose. I made the same garbage mistake once -- put all of hubby's nice shirts to go to the cleaners in a garbage bag. We never saw them again. And expensive mistake, but certainly not as heartbreaking!

Scott, Amber, and Landon said...

First of all Nanette, you need not ever feel bad about what happen again. It was a mistake anyone could have made and you went above and beyone to repair what had happened. The quilt you made me was absolutely beautiful and it lays over my couch. To me it is a beautiful reminder of what a sweet person you are for taking the time to make me something so personal and beautiful. You also gave me 3 other cute quilts. Not to mention the adorable baby quilt you made for Presley. You are truly amazing!!

Ginger Patches said...

Oh Nanette I can only imagine the feeling in the pit of your stomach when you realized what had happened. I was feeling sick reading this as I anticipated what was coming. I am always telling my kid's to put their stuff in their backpacks but not grocery sacks or trash bags for the same reason. We've had a few close calls with clothing and belongings almost going out with the trash. What a sad story...I'm glad your family is forgiving sounds like you did all you could to make up for it :)

rachel griffith said...

how heart breaking.
but this story REALLY touched my heart.
sometimes i have a hard time letting people off of the hook, but reading something from this point of view...well it was an eye opener.

thank you for sharing this nanette.
no matter how sad it made you.

*here's a huge hug*