January 22, 2010

Nancy’s Quilt

Posted in Cancer, Friendships, Quilting at 8:10 am by Liliana

Nancy's quilt

Nancy's quilt – work in progress

The year I got married, I learned how to quilt. I have always liked handicrafts, but quilting was an American art, and I didn’t learn it in childhood. Maybe learning to quilt was one of my ways of becoming an American. Once I learned the fundamentals, I taught my mother and sister, and we approached this craft the way we approached everything else – by working on a project together. It took us a year, but we made a richly colorful, intricate bedspread of our own design with definitive Southern European overtones. It now covers my daughter’s bed.

Years passed and I worked on many smaller projects, but I never had time to make another bedspread. That is, until I made a commitment to Nancy. Nancy is my neighbor and one of my dearest friends. Nancy loves quilts and has a lovely collection. Three years ago, her husband Ken died of esophageal cancer. Ken was in his forties, a kind, gentle, man; a brilliant scientist who just wanted to work in his lab and do some good in this world. Nancy was left alone with her two boys.

Nancy loved Ken so much that she couldn’t stand to get rid of his belongings. I asked her if it would be easier if Ken’s clothes were not thrown way, but used to make something beautiful. Something that she could keep. Something that she could wrap herself in. Like a hug from Ken.

I went to Nancy’s house and took Ken’s shirts, ties and pants. I also took a few of Nancy’s colorful, flowery blouses. They will give punch and warmth to contrast with the more somber tones of Ken’s clothes. I designed a pattern, and have now been working on that quilt for two years, every stitch made by hand, by me and our group of closest friends. It will be an artifact representative of a beautiful marriage. I hope to finish it this year. It is a labor of love.


  1. Dave Harrison said,

    This truely is a labor of Love that only a true freind would be able to do. With all Ken.s things & a few of Nancy’s & a TON of TRUE LOVE from LILIANA this will be one of her most prised possesion’s. True freinds like this are had to find. This is just one more of the many reason’s I’m honored to have the privalege to know you.
    Thank You for always starting my day with a smile.

  2. arlijohn said,

    What a great remembrance and what a wonderful friend you are. Pat yourself on the back from me.

  3. Priscilla said,

    Thank you for this beautiful story. For your entire blog, actually. I found it through a link to Huffington Post. Your writing and insights are beautiful. Keep the faith!

  4. Peter said,

    Hi Liliana,

    that’s a great idea, wouldn’t have thought of this myself. It’s definitely one of the best tangible mementos I’ve ever heard of.

    Do your best and good luck with finishing the quilt!


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