I've remarked before that my mother always insisted on cutting out each piece and never did any strip quilting. As you're about to see, she would have been able to do a lot more quilting had she not insisted on cutting out each square individually. Somehow, she got hung up on doing the same design, over and over and over again, literally until the day she died.
My mom did many quilt tops in her day, but she never learned to finish them. She had a standing arrangement with her Aunt Thelma (who I refer to as "That Old Battle-Axe!) who had a long arm sewing machine. My mom would make quilt tops, maybe about 5 in a row, and send them to That Old Battle-Axe to finish. Payment was made in quilts. That Old Battle-Axe would keep as many as she wanted and send back whatever she didn't. She didn't ever send but a few back. Because of this, we have very few of my mom's quilts. Who knows whatever happened to the ones that were kept. Maybe that's why my mom stuck with a simple design, over and over. She just wanted to get them back!
After the Old Battle-Axe died, my mom stopped quilting and didn't start up again for years. She finally decided to learn to finish her own, but died before she could do it. A little while after she died, my dad gave me all of her fabric (which was mostly hideous, I'm afraid to say) and a stack of squares she had sewn for a quilt.
My mother never taught me how to sew. She didn't have the patience and was a little intimidating about it. For years, I would take her squares out of the rubbermaid tub I had them in and look over the stitches, examine them, and marvel at how PERFECT they were. I also thought about how angry she would be if I dared to mess them up.
I did sewing projects here and there, and finally got myself quilting about 6 years after she died. I worked on some baby quilts and small projects and finally pulled out her squares to finish the quilt so my dad could have it for Christmas.
I finished the quilt exactly 7 years and 1 day after she died. I learned a lot finishing that quilt, especially that I don't have to be a perfect seamstress to quilt. It's not the fanciest--probably the most ordinary looking quilt you'll see on these boards. But our quilt, which I call The Seven Year Stitch, represents a lot :)
What she left behind
Quilting as simply as I can--she wasn't a fan of fancy
The finished product!