Saundra Adams

A Quilt Before Dying

There are many types of sewing that have been handed down through the years. Mother to daughter, grandmother to granddaughter, on it flows harmoniously over time. In the beginning the child is first given a sampler. A piece that has the alphabet on it, perhaps a few pictures of animals or such. This is a rite of passage to womanhood.

There are items to put into your hope chest, napkins, tablecloths, pillow cases with initials, towels and such. Each project becomes age appropriate. After growing up and married, there was baby bibs, clothing for them, hats, and such. As I worked my projects, the world seemed safe and peaceful.

Years ago, I had purchased and planned the projects to suit my taste (harder is better). There they lay, in my cedar chest, to be selected, waiting for me to choose which would be next. Sometimes items sewn from the chest would be given as a birthday gift, wedding gift, or baby gift.

For me, there was a transformation when I learned a type of sewing called "counted cross stitch". The fabric has nothing on it, you start the "x's". from a diagram called a chart. Well I tell you, it changed me. Off I ran to find the projects I wanted to do. They grew and grew as I added them to the chest. A beautiful tree skirt with country blue ornaments and ribbons, lays under my christmas tree, a year long project. Then came pictures that suited the laundry room, with clothes hanging on the line. In the entry way with the antique clock is a beautiful old fashioned picture of a young women sitting on a stone fence, it is named Autumn Rose.

While having fun with all of the small "x's", in the bottom of my hope chest lay a project that I had started and put down, a quilt. I have never done a quilt, and it was stamped pictures of "x's"on white cloth, lots of pictures, the same ones over and over. This was not as much fun to do. After finding the counted cross stitch pictures and such, the quilt seemed old fashioned to me. I kept putting the fun ones on top of the quilt, although in the back of my mind, there it was. When I would open the chest, it seemed to get my attention, even when I did not look at it.

As I have become older my eye sight was not very good, I would find myself making mistakes. At first I still kept my time line of what I thought would be items I wanted to finish. I still worked on the counted cross stitch, but noticed I had a harder time doing so. I made mistakes more often, and then "more often" became daily. Finally I realized I could not get anywhere on finishing the picture, if daily I was pulling out the stitches I had put in the day before. And still, the quilt lay there, a large project but easier on the eyes.

I finally gave up, I just could not see very well and I laid the item I was working down, and picked up the quilt. 12" x 12" squares, enough to make a king size quilt. Each panel has a bouquet of flowers first, which must be stitched before you could put it together. I felt defeated, but none the less, I started to work on it. Then I became sick and was diagnosed with COPD, the # 4 killer in the United States. I still picked up a square of the quilt with every one I finish, placed back into the chest, to be sewn together. I use the time of stitching to think of things I needed to do. I have always been the kind of person who had to be doing something with my hands. Last week, the lung doctor pronounced that I was in the severe stage of the disease. I did not ask any questions. I came home and looked on the internet to see how it was going to be, and what to expect. The next day, I picked up my square of quilt to work on as I was thinking of all of the things I needed to get done. Perhaps the quilt will get done and could be laid on top of me in the casket. Warm and pretty. Or just there to keep my hands busy. Maybe heaven has a sewing room where all of the stitchers meet to talk and sew, and drink coffee.


Saundra Adams is 60 years of age, has COPD, Fibromyalgia, Asthma, and is in generally delicate health. She loves the computer, her four dogs, food, and counted cross stitch embroidary. She has always wanted to write a book and started with poetry. Her poetry is simple, an easy read for those who love poetry. She wants it to touch others somewhere in their lives. Adams tries to take on subjects that others would not.