To be honest, I’m not sure where to start. I suppose this starts with a challenge. In January 2009 after many years of spending silly amounts of money on nonsense Christmas presents, my older sister set the family a challenge of making our presents for each other. We all felt a little daunted to start with, but we agreed.
I had lots of little projects on the go for the whole family including making piccalilli, candles and lavender salt bags for the bath. However, I had one big project. I desperately wanted to make a quilt for my little sister Keara. The thought had come to me quite quickly but it took months to get the materials together.
The colour scheme was simple. It either had to be pinks or purples “Keara colours”. As Keara would be 11 years old in October and quite the distinguished young lady, I decided to go for purples and lilacs. I started my search in Batley near Keara and Mummy’s home at Colway and Sewon. I found some lovely fabrics there for approx 80% of the quilt. I love this shop, the staff are so amazingly friendly and the material is excellent.
I started to think of patterns but knew I didn’t have enough material to make a single quilt. During this time, we happened to be on our annual family holiday. this usually comprises of my mum, Keara, sister’s Bex and Emma and their husbands and children. We also invite Bex’s in-laws the Coolings. Each year we go away somewhere in the UK and in 2009 we decided to go to Prestatyn in Wales. One day Mark and I ventured out to Anglesey on our own. There had been some literature in the holiday let that we were staying in about a craft shop on the island called Copperfield Crafts. The shop was tiny but full of lovely fabrics and fat quarters. That evening, I cut the fabric into squares and Mark helped me to get an idea of a pattern.
I was a bit nervous of sewing the quilt. Due to time and expecting our first baby that December I decided to use my sewing machine. My Mummy had bought me the machine as a wedding gift and it had never even been out of the box. It’d been 15 years since I’d last used one. All in all, the quilt took me about a weekend to make. I also made a matching pillowcase to go with it. I wrapped it and waited excitedly for Christmas to give it to Keara.
We had a big family Christmas and we gathered around as Keara opened the quilt. She loved it and it stayed on her bed until quite recently.
A few weeks ago, keara became very ill un-expectantly. At the end of her illness, Keara went to Martin House Children’s Hospice in Boston Spa, a place that she had visited many times before, full of friends. She took her final breaths snuggled under the quilt whilst being cuddled by our mummy and surrounded by her family. It was one of the most precious moments I have ever experienced in my life. The quilt stayed with Keara until her final farewell when she went to church.
A simple home-made gift, that has now been returned to me. A precious reminder of the most amazing little girl, my beautiful little sister, wonderful god-daughter and inspirational life. I love you Keara xxxx