Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Thinking of Natalie


We quilters know that quilters tend to be lovely people.  The connection seems to me to be more than the simple matter of sharing a common interest.  Maybe it's that the quilting tradition is one of women working side by side, so that the quilting process has an aspect of community in it that isn't true of other art or craft forms.  Or maybe it's that as quilters, we are used to mixing all types of fabrics -- prints and solids and bold patterns and soft, subdued prints -- to see that the whole can be greater, and prettier, and stronger, than the sum of its parts.  Maybe that makes us more open to different personalities and appreciate the differences in people a bit more.  I'm not sure.  But it is true to my experience that, for the most part, quilters are genuinely friendly and kind and generous.

I've been thinking of this especially this week, because on Sunday I met with some quilting friends to celebrate our mutual friend and quilter Natalie, who died at the end of July after a long illness.  She was a lovely woman, with a warm smile and big, expressive eyes.  I met her through an ongoing workshop group I was in for some years, and I so enjoyed her -- hearing about her family, and her travels, and of course seeing her quilting talent.  She was so self-deprecating, and even as she'd mutter about how she finally finished some 'little thing" she'd been working on, she'd unfurl a huge, detailed, immaculately pieced quilt with colors and fabrics that'd take our breath away. 

Her family, having no quilters among them, decided that Natalie would want her friends to receive and enjoy the fabrics she'd not used during her life.  So when we met on Sunday, as we shared stories and memories of Natalie, we "shopped" in her very large stash of fabric.  And it struck me as such a quilterly thing to do, the passing on of fabric to be used and incorporated into the quilts and lives of Natalie's friends.  We all enjoyed noting the eclectic assortment of fabric Natalie had collected, and how there was so much beauty and vibrancy in her stash.  We wondered where she'd bought some unusual pieces, or what she'd planned ... and of course, knowing how quilters shop, we figured that probably most of the time she bought what she liked with no plan in mind.



I know I'll be thinking of Natalie as I use these fabrics.  I've already put them away, tucking them into my own stash.  How nice to have this way of remembering a quilting friend.

5 comments:

Kristin L said...

And it will be so wonderful to keep thinking of her in the future whenever you pluck a piece of her fabric from the stash. :-)

Ms. Jan said...

A friend passed away a number of years ago and I inherited some of her stash. Another friend and I were able to use some of her 30’s repros to make a baby quilt for the granddaughter who will never know her. Every time I use some of Sandy's fabrics, I think of her and remember our good times together. Natalie was my computer partner at E.Q. Club for a while, and she was a lovely lady. Rest in Peace.

Del said...

Lovely thoughts, lovely fabric. Somehow my quilting friends who have died stay in my thoughts more often than friends who were not quilters. Perhaps a shared memory of fabric feeling, color, stitches, and the warmth of their acceptance of others.

Terry Grant said...

Just looking at those fabrics makes me feel I know a little something about Natalie. How beautiful that a part of the "fabric of her life" will be woven into yours. Friends are so precious.

nettiejdear said...

What a wonderful and poignant story! It sounds as if you lost a marvelous friend but thanks to her family, you have a few "pieces" of her to keep you company in your sewing room. I should tell my husband this story in case something should happen to me ( he would be overwhelmed by the huge mass of creative elements I own because he does not realize how much I have lol ) so he could let my friends come and share it all!!