January 6, 2011

My New Year’s Resolution

Posted in Breast Cancer, Cancer, Friendships, Good people, Health, Hobbies, Quilting, Women tagged , , , , , at 8:02 am by Liliana

The healing quilt

The healing quilt

I was never one for New Year’s resolutions. I don’t like to make a promise (to myself or to others) that I pretty much know that I won’t keep.

But this year, I have made a resolution. I want to finish a large, king size quilt that I started for my friend Nancy three years ago.

When Nancy’s husband Ken died, Nancy didn’t want to part with his clothes. I volunteered to make a quilt out of Ken’s shirts, ties and pants. To make the quilt representative of their life together, I took a few of Nancy’s colorful blouses and added them to the mix.

I made a simple design, something that would work for a disparate collection of colors, tones and materials. Then I bought creamy and burgundy floral fabrics to tie everything together. And when I started quilting, I chose different colors of thread – neutral beige, deep burgundy, emerald green and burnt orange.

This quilt has been an evolutionary enterprise. I started with a vague concept in mind, but the project has evolved into something with a life of its own.

I have done all the sewing and quilting by hand. From the beginning I felt, but didn’t understand clearly, that the idea was not to finish the quilt quickly, but to go through the process of  slow, meditative healing. I couldn’t rush this project.

Ken and I were suffering from cancer at the same time. He had incurable esophageal cancer, I was sick with breast cancer. The last time we saw each other was at our children’s piano recital. He was at the end of his treatments, I was in the middle of mine. We made a sad sight – both of us gray and weary, with no hair and our eyes hollow from nausea and fear.

We said nothing but looked at each other with compassion and understanding. We embraced and cried.

So, when I work on this quilt for Ken and Nancy, every stitch is a gift of tenderness and love. And gratitude that they have given me the opportunity to spend hours slowly pulling silky thread through fabrics that they have marked with their presence. They have given me a chance to mend and heal.

This winter I feel that the time has come to complete the quilt. It feels right. Every evening I work on it for hours.

When the longer days of spring arrive, I will be ready to hand it over to Nancy for safekeeping.



  1. Alana said,

    What a sweet thing to do for your friend.

    • Liliana said,

      Thanks, Alana.
      The fact is, though, that no one is kinder and more thoughtful than you are!

  2. Dave Harrison said,

    You truly are a great friend and I’m pleased & Proud to have you as a friend of mine.

  3. Margaret said,

    Liliana, this quilt is so representative of how you live your life. Just as you bind these pieces of Nancy’s life together in this gorgeous quilt, you also bind your friends together in a wonderful community. We love you.

    • Liliana said,

      Thank you, Margaret. You bring joy and laughter into my life. Love and hugs to you, dear friend.

  4. Sandra said,

    What a wonderful thing to do for a dear friend, and for yourself as you heal. This makes me want to start a project of my own, especially in these long cold days of winter, when all the hurry of the holidays is over. You are so thoughtful and compassionate!

    Thank you for sharing your heart with all of us.


    • Liliana said,

      Thank you, Sandra, for your kind words. Having a creative, meaningful project definitely helps to bring some warmth into these cold winter months. Best of luck to you.

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