The "FINALLY" Quilt for Zach
Finally …. I finally finished a new quilt for my son, 19 year old Zach. That’s him right there, Zachary Harrison Fogg. The last quilt I made for this 2nd of 7 child of mine was when he was 2. And that was 17 years ago. That is a very sad admission for a quilt designer and instructor such as I am, it really is, but to thine own self be true. And it’s the truth. We were living in Chicago when I made Zach’s first quilt, and this was the age before the glorious Amy Butler and Anna Maria Horner fabrics that we quilters have the privilege to hoard and collect. Back then, I had to make do with Joann Fabrics & Crafts, and I had to drive 40 minutes to Indiana to get to it. I used a Mickey Mouse sheet for the backing, and in my mind using that Mickey sheet was the very ultimate and quintessential idea of how quilting began, the way my fore-mothers made quilts 200 years ago. Remember this quote?
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.”
I was broke basically, and pregnant with kid number 3, Noah, and I needed a quilt for him too, so the sheet was the only choice I had for a large enough piece of fabric to make the back. And I
wanted to be connected to my historic fore-mothers, I am full of wonder and I mostly look at life through my permanent rose-colored glasses….but in reality, I was just broke! I sat in the community room of our apartment house and stitched and stitched and then I quilted it by hand on a frame I borrowed from someone once my next one Noah was born, little by little. It was only the third quilt I ever made, and was made up of various squares of kiddie-printed cottons and seersuckers, just a dumb arrangement of squares that didn’t make any sense when I see them now, don’t know what my mind was seeing back then. I am giving amazing credit to Zach for his unending patience and great sense of self-esteem as he has continued to use that Mickey Mouse- backed quilt most of his life and through all his teenage years.
His virtuous patience has finally brought him a just reward. And a big one, too. On Christmas Day, 2010, he opened his FINALLY quilt, an 86″ x 90″ token of my affection for this brilliant son of mine who now lives 12 hours away from me in Tennessee. His quilt is made of batiks that I collected for six years from at least 8 quilt shops from California to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. They range in tones from teal (my all time favorite color) royal and soft dusty blues to dusky purples and plums and then some subtle taupe-like browns, which help to settle down the blues. I free-motion quilted with a bevy of paisleys, florals and curlicues, and there are several sayings and feelings stitched into the fabric. And the backing?
Nope, it’s not that squeaky mouse again, but it is a sheet. I am nothing if not frugal and
remember, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.”
In my quilting stitches, Zach will find his name and nicknames, hiding among the patterns, and my name, the date of the quilt, and one special saying….
“This quilt hugs you when I can’t”….because this quiltin’ Mama misses him so much.