Monday, March 8, 2010

My Mother's Prayer

Quilt No. 70
March 2010
Quilters are often plagued by UFO’s. They lurk around and slop buckets of guilt on us. But unlike the usual kind of UFO’s, which are Unidentified, Fly around, and probably house aliens with questionable intentions, the UFO’s that dog quilters are more benign. They consist of all those projects that got launched but haven’t yet reached the Nirvana of completion. They are UnFinished Objects. And they are mostly alien free.

My Mother’s Prayer is a UFO of a sort. Sometime around 1948 or 1949 my mother completed a cross stitch of the prayer, Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. She was a young, busy mother at the time, and somehow this piece of embroidery never made it into any sort of frame that would allow it to be displayed. As Mom went on with other endeavors, other crafts, and other children, the piece got buried deeper and deeper, and was largely forgotten. Every few years she would come across it as it languished in a dresser drawer or a cedar chest. It followed her wherever she lived. I can’t even say exactly when it passed into my hands. I followed suit and stashed it in a drawer.

Recently, at quilt guild, a friend loaned me a book about making existing linens and embroidered pieces into quilted wall hangings. Eventually I connected the dots and realized that I could finally release my mother’s prayer from decades of seclusion and end its “UFO” status.
Quilt Notes

I found an off-white cotton that matched the embroidered piece reasonably well and added borders to make it larger. The outline and details of each embroidered child has been hand quilted. Likewise, the outline of each letter of every word has also been hand quilted. My initial vision for this quilt was one that included extensive quilting on the border. I spent a massive amount of timing trying to achieve that goal. When I finished it, I could see that this did not compliment the detailed embroidery - it ended up competing with it! I stared at it for weeks, trying to convince myself that it looked great. Or acceptable. Or vaguely okay. I finally gave in to reality. The quilting on the border had to be removed. Eventually I settled on an un-quilted border with a scalloped edge.


  1. Congratulations on finishing the quilt. It looks great and your mother would be so proud. Brings back memories of my childhood as this pray hung in our bedroom.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Susan!