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Karen – the Backstory

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the backstory - stories from quilters from around the world. Come take a listen.

Meet my mother.


A month ago she presented a trunk show at her mother’s rest home.  Her mother (my grandmother) is 94.  She had all of her friends come to see the trunk show and show off her daughter’s talent.

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I loved sitting in the back and listening to the stories.  Each quilt of course had it’s own.  There was why the fabrics, why the patterns, this was made during…. this was for…. I learned.  I will never do again.

It was truly amazing to see her talent in each one and what total fun to listen to what she said about each.

She referred to her quilt labels on every one which held extra tid-bits and goodies that you don’t always recall.  She is so good at that! Her labels held a lot of information and was a great reminder for me at how important they really are.

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My father is the ever patient one holding each, taking a peak at each, and folding like a pro when it’s time to put them back.

karen spools quilt1

While you might think this is her backstory, it is not.

Her Backstory is all about this next quilt- I will turn it over to her now.

kathy quilt1

Karen shares:

I have always loved to sew and in 1990 I started to quilt. I have loved and shared my talent with many. But most recently with my sister Kathy who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in August of 2013. She went through several surgeries and then began chemo therapy treatments.

I went to Idaho to visit her and I could see that the many long chemo treatments were a call to action in the form of a quilt. I had the pattern for Lisa’s Flower Garden by Lisa Bongean and so the journey began. Quilt blocks were made and packaged with thread so she could stitch at the weekly chemo treatments. Hopefully, taking her mind and her fingers off the difficult treatments.

My friend Angela got in on the action by donating wool and helping make the needed 9 patch blocks. The label on Kathy’s quilt read’s ” I owe the completion of this quilt to my special sister Karen, who spent weeks taking care of me and encouraging me with her love. This quilt was a labor of love between 3 women, 2 of whom I owe so much for completing my 9 patches.

Thank you Karen and Angela Phillips (not related but probably should be). The process of making this quilt helped me through my fight with this horrible disease called cancer. This quilt was my therapy and now my joy.

The pattern is called Lisa’s Flower Garden, fitting because of my love for flowers. Now appropriately renamed “Kathy’s Flower Garden”. This is really Kathy’s story, but it is also a story of how my love for quilting has touched others.

We have 3 completed beautiful quilts and each is loved and treasured by the owner. The quilts are a celebration of life, love, friendship, and quilting!

There is more to a quilt than just the fabric. Love and tears!

This is the Story from Kathy- who shared it with Lisa here.
It was such a special treat to meet you and spend time in your wonderful CA store today. I hold a special place in my heart for your quilt “Lisa’s flower garden” because it was the first quilt I ever did. In 2013 I was diagnosed with cancer and after 2major surgeries and 6 chemo therapy treatment this quilt was a part of my healing and my therapy. My sister Karen would come from Utah to Idaho once a month to be with me so my husband could go out of town for work. She and her friend Angela together made 3 sets of nine patches (1 for each of us), I cut, ironed, traced, and stitched the beautiful flower patches and when we had everything stitched and ready we spent a weekend piecing our quilts together. Our quilts are done, and my quilt is now hanging proudly in my living room and everyday it reminds me of the journey I’ve been through and still continue to go through as well as the love I have for my sister and my new love for quilting.
Thank you so much for sharing your talent with all of us who love all things quilting and hand stitching.
You have a beautiful store and I can’t wait to come back.
Kathy Swaner.

Until next time…….

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