A Picture Quilt
A Picture Quilt
by William Land
Earlier this year (2014), a friend, prolific quilter, Julie Domenico, contacted me about another quilt she had made. Followers in my community may remember that Julie created an original quilt for me in 2013 using some of the fabric from the Moda Nancy Drew fabric line. Julie titled this attractive creation, “The Mystery of the Charmed Quilt.” I have written about this gorgeous quilt in another post on this blog.
In her communication about this latest quilt, Julie explains about the origins and reasons behind “The Picture Quilt.” I quote from her message: “ … I’m doing a demonstration at the quilt guild of ‘Picture Quilts’ this week.
I stole this idea from the Sudbury Quilt Guild!
A picture quilt is a 12”x12” little mini quilt – really, just a finished block. You make one with a picture of something on it, and it’s given to an Alzheimer’s patient – it’s a kind of a memory or comfort tool. I’ve made one with a cardinal on it for my demo.
Despite having known many people or their parents who have suffered from Alzheimer’s I do not at present know anyone. Could I send mine to you for your Mom? It’s just a quilt piece to have and hold and enjoy … nothing more. Thought I would check with you first.
Her name is Mary, right – I would put hers on it, that it’s from you, and that it was made by me – on the label.”
In my reply, I told my friend that she had a lovely idea and I would be honoured for Mom to have the quilt.
When the piece arrived, I was captivated by the beauty of the cardinal. I remembered red is a favourite colour of Mom’s and I felt sure she would enjoy it.
One Saturday, I took Handi-Transit to the nursing home for a long overdue visit with my parent. I brought the quilt, and my camera. I wanted to get some pictures of Mom with the gorgeous gift Julie had made.
Mom and I were sitting quietly when my brother, John, also stopped for a visit. He, Mom, and I were sitting and chatting. John has the greatest sense of humour and fun of anyone I know. He loves to tease; at times, I think, he can be slightly unmerciful. But I also know that his remarks are intended as fun.
When Mom was well, in the days prior to dementia, he often teased her. I remember she visited his home one year for Christmas, and I called to speak with her. Before giving her the receiver, he said to me, “Mom is old!” I heard my mother in the background agreeing. Then my brother added, “And useless.” Brief seconds later, I heard my mother’s voice vehemently protesting, “I am not useless!” Her emphasis was on the word “not!”
Mom had two ways of responding to the teasing. If she was in a receptive mood, she would comment that John was a joker. If he was getting on her nerves, she would declare, “John is a bug!”
During a conversation lull, I took the picture quilt and camera from my bag to give the fabric creation to my mother. After she looked at it for a few moments, I started to take her picture. Unfortunately, Mom was at a diminished capacity at this moment, and it showed in the pictures. I was about to put the camera away, when I noticed Mom giving my brother a sidelong glance.
I heard John saying to Mom that he has her glass. (Background: Earlier during the visit, an aide brought Mom juice in a plastic glass. After she finished it, Mom put the glass on the table next to her chair).
Then I heard John say, “Look! I’m wearing your glass!” Mom started to smile.
Then I heard, “I have your glass on top of my head!” By this time Mom was laughing.
John’s voice informed his audience that he was trying to balance the glass on his head. Mom was highly entertained.
I didn’t dare look at my brother because I knew I, too, would be laughing and not able to take pictures. I am a dismal photographer at best and I don’t need any distractions if I expect to get even partially acceptable photographs.
I thought it was wonderful, and typical of my entertaining sibling, to try to make Mom laugh while I captured photographic images at this event which was important to me: the presentation of Julie’s quilt to my mother.
To discover more about this talented artist and her original quilts, visit her blog, “Concepts Quilts.” The URL is http://conceptquilts.blogspot.ca/ .
Mom may or may not have this quilt for a long time. Items tend to disappear quickly in places similar to the nursing home in which my mother resides, but we will always these pictures, and this story this story of “A Picture Quilt,” a lovely red cardinal whose simple purpose is to bring pleasure to an elderly woman living with diminished ability and memory loss. Perhaps this red cardinal might achieve its purpose and bring Mary Land some joy?
Written: October 2014
Revised: March 2015