Sunday, August 20, 2017

Grandma's Kitchen Block #6: Wash Day

While we were in Europe, I missed 3 blocks in Pat Sloan's weekly mystery quilt, Grandma's Kitchen. Now that we're back I'm playing catch up.  Block 5 is called "Wash Day."

Pat's inspiration for this block was the old-fashioned wringer washer her Na-Na used. I don't remember much about my Gramma doing laundry, other than that the laundry room in her old house was in the dark basement with a shower I thought was kind of scary!

Since I have been using some of Gramma's clothes for this quilt, it seemed ideal to use clothes for this Wash Day block. Although, mine is sort of an anti-wash day. Gramma's clothes haven't been washed since she wore them, and even though it's been a few years, I can still smell a faint scent of her as I work.

I used fabric from the green shirt on the last block, but it goes so well with her pink oxford that I'm using it again.

She really liked this shirt, and another one that was just like it except it had some embroidery on it.

Can you see the family resemblance?

Here she is wearing the non-embroidered shirt while my son tries to teach her how to use his first tablet.

This shirt was one of the last she wore. I love that she's wearing it in this photo of her in her assisted living apartment shortly before she died. She is surrounded by so many of her favorite things: the memory quilt I made her hanging on the wall,  Betty Boop, art from her great-grand children, photos of family, mesh for the scrubbies she crocheted, and on the counter you can see part of a statue of a saint from one of her travels.

She also wore the shirt in one of my favorite pictures of our family. Here we are with my mom, brother, nephew, and son.

Gramma Ann loved babies. I am so glad that she was able to spend time with my baby boy. He was 5 when she died, so he's old enough to remember her, but I fear the memories will fade in time.

I was feeling very sentimental at this family gathering, my first since becoming a mother. 

I don't write much since sustaining my brain injury, but that weekend I wrote a poem.

Four Sets of Hands 

four sets of hands 
lay still on the green cloth
four sets of hands 
representing four lives 
intersecting, intertwined. 
the great grandmother’s hand 
still wears the ring of her late love 
a testament to her years, 
the depth of her heart, 
and the fullness of her life. 
the grandmother’s hand 
is marked with rheumatoid bumps 
her life has not been easy 
and her hand shows the marks 
of a life filled with dream-chasing 
and dreams fulfilled. 
the mother’s hand is reaching out
first to her elders, 
gleaning wisdom from experience 
and then to her son 
as she learns to nurture him. 
the baby’s hand is curled up tight 
life is too new to fully embrace yet 
he is drawn to hands: 
the safety of his mother’s hands 
the delight of his grandmother’s hands 
the serenity of his great grandmother’s hands. 
he reaches to them 
drawing their hands to his own. 

- Jen Abbas de Jong 7/30/09

Here's a look at my quilt so far.

Previous blocks:

If you'd like to see what I'm currently working on, follow me on Instagram at de Jong Dream House.

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  1. Jen,
    Oh my goodness. I am blinking back the tears here at work. First of all, how sweet is that picture of the four hands?!! I can't even read the poem right now without actually crying. I love the pictures of your grandma - especially the crocheting one! I love those scrubbies!! Wonderful family pictures, and the Wash Day block is just the best. The colors go great together, and what better fabric to use than some she loved?! {{Hugs}} I'm sure that poem will be so touching - I will read it. ~smile~ Roseanne

  2. What wonderful memories. Makes me cry. Your quilt is coming together nicely! I love how you are making each and every block a sweet remembrance. Thank you for linking up to Wednesday Wait Loss.

  3. You have wonderful pictures of grandma, and great memories too!

  4. I LOVE that you are using her clothing in your Grandma's Kitchen quilt! That's so loving and makes a great memory quilt. That is a beautiful shirt, in either version, and I can see why it was a favorite, and that it really was. Keep photos of her on display, talk about her, celebrate her birthday, help him remember. The block itself is great. This is a reminder to me that I let this one slip through the cracks this month and need to go download the pattern!


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