This quilt was made by my sister, brother and me in 1995, for my parents' 50th wedding anniversary. It was a surprise for them. Months before the event we sent out many envelopes containing pieces of unbleached muslin fabric and brown Micron Pigma pens. They went to friends and family, asking them to write a brief message or favorite memory involving my parents on the pieces and return them to us. Meanwhile my siblings and I took the rest of the muslin pieces and wrote things like all our old addresses, favorite family vacations, significant events in our familiy's life and our own memories of growing up with Mom and Dad. The centers of the blocks held dates—their wedding, the birth dates of each child and grandchild and finally the date and location of the anniversary celebration. When all the pieces came together it really was beautiful and filled with love for Mom and Dad.
They loved it. During the family weekend we spent at Wallawa Lake when we gave it to them they spent hours pouring over it, reading the messages and chuckling at the memories. We had left part of it unquilted so that over the weekend everyone there, including even the smallest grandchildren, could do a few stitches in the quilt. It hung in their home for the rest of their lives.
In 1998 both my parents died. First my Dad, then 5 months later, Mom. I took the quilt home and it has hung in my house, out of direct sunlight ever since. It means a lot to me.
The ink from those permanent pens is fading away. Messages from my aunts and uncles, dear friends, many now gone from us, are disappearing. Our friend Priscilla wrote boldly and retraced each letter. Hers will be the last to go, which will not surprise you if you know Priscilla! But it is sad to see just how ephemeral those marks are. The day I can no longer make out what was written will be a hard day.
I did the same thing for my parents 50th too and have it now in a box somewhere. Is the writing too tiny to embroider over? ( admit I have thought of this for mine but it was too daunting! When I look at mine, already so many family members have gone- I would hate to see them fade off on the quilt too.ReplyDelete
The memories linger. Beautiful.ReplyDelete
Perhaps you could take a close photo of each message so you have the record in some format even though it might not be with the quilt. Or print them out and make a little book. add a pocket in back and keep the little book with the quilt.ReplyDelete
Sandy in the UK
So what is the defintion of "permanent"?ReplyDelete
You might want to take photos of all those precious words.ReplyDelete
Why don't you take a pigma pen and go over things before you can't read them any more?ReplyDelete
What a lovely thing to have done for your parents and how sad the writing is fading. Are you thinking of trying to renew it in any way? And have you taken close-up photos of each of the blocks while you can still read the notes? Perhaps you can make a photo quilt.ReplyDelete
Oh what a shame, I'm sorry to hear about the fading. Take a bunch of close up photos quick before they are gone completely. We've learned so much more about archival products since then. Hope somebody has a solution for you. It's a great quilt.ReplyDelete
And I'm going through old letters and notes, from people who seemed to have loved me dearly, and whom I can't remember any more. Dates are erased, memories are erased -- no last names and thus no way even to reconnect to the Jeannes and Tims. Alas, alack, a well-a-day. But we do go on, until we too fade. But NOT YET!:-)ReplyDelete
What a wonderful gift of love; and, how sad that it is fading! This makes me wonder if the newer pens like the Pentel gel pens for fabric are any more permanent.ReplyDelete