My Grammy was born in 1933, the youngest in a family of six children. She married my grandfather in 1951 and within five years had three young girls. About a decade later she had one more daughter and then a divorce. She raised my mom and my aunts with very few resources in a time when divorce was still stigmatized. She became a grandmother when she was 41 and before long I was calling her Grammy.
Yesterday we celebrated her 75th birthday with all the food, laughter, and love that a big family gathering brings. She was surrounded by all of her daughters and almost all of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren as she opened her gifts.
The gift from her grandchildren and great-grandchildren was a quilt with each of our handprints on it. I used four colors — pink and orange for the girls, blue and green for the boys — and had everyone paint their hand and then press it onto white Kona cotton. After each handprint dried and was set with the iron I trimmed the fabric into a wonky square. I then used two inch strips from Amy Butler’s midwest modern line to frame each of the handprints log-cabin style. Next each frame was surrounded by more white kona cotton and squared up to 14 inches.
I arranged the squares with five filler log cabins and one plain white square to make a 5 x 5 quilt top that measured about 68″ x 68″. The back is from Full Moon Forest by Tula Pink. The strip down the middle has 19 strips — one for each of Grammy’s 19 grandchildren and great-grandchildren — and four bigger rectangles — one for each daughter. My sentimental — or semi-mental, as Amanda Jean would say — side really came through in this project.
And speaking of Amanda Jean, I knew I could trust her with quilting such a special project for me, and fast — you may remember my nephew was born less than two weeks ago. She stippled the quilt around all of the handprints and left an empty space in the middle for the only handprint I was missing…. Grammy’s.
Happy 75th birthday Grammy!