One of my new friends in this town is a woman called Jenny, who is several years older than I, well past retirement age, but who still works occasionally as a District Nurse when her old centre needs to cover for those on leave. She describes herself as an old hippy and has many stories to tell of various adventures in her younger days that would confirm this. She has a very strong social conscience and has always worked for the benefit of others in her professional life and in many other community activies in her spare time. Jenny still volunteers time at the local hospital on an almost daily basis - on top of a heap of various activities and the chores of looking after two acres of land on her own, where she built an environmentally friendly home a couple of years ago.
I was telling her a while ago about quilts my guild regularly makes quilts for young people who are being cared for in a kid's home, as well as another person who works with female prisoners teaching them sewing skills and quilting. Jenny muttered that she had some old patchwork fabrics she had purchased years ago in the anticipation of one day having time to learn how to quilt herself, but that arthritis in her hands now prevented her from doing anything by the most basic of sewing repairs to her clothes, so that she would be happy to hand them over if they could be put to a good cause. I thanked her for her generosity and waited until she could unearth them from a shed, all the time thinking it would be just a few fat quarters or scraps of fabric. I was very wrong.
Jenny gave me a garbage bag full of fabrics, mostly in yard or metre lengths, mostly fine cottons of 70 - 80's vintage and mostly in shades of blue - a total of over 45 pieces. She told me that she would often walk past a certain large and well known discount shop in Richmond and would purchase bits of fabric that appealed to her, then put them away for future uses. While I knew that the groups to whom these would be given would appreciate the gift and make good use of it, I also felt that this woman's life-long generosity needed to be marked in some way. What better way than the quilt she would never make for herself, so I made her this. I barely made a dent in the big black garbage bag of fabrics.