Ode to an amazing seamstress

December has been rough.  Last week I arrived home for the holidays and was looking forward to spending the week at home- hanging out, catching up, and-  most importantly – sewing with my mom.  We got home from the airport and I went straight to bed, excited for the morning so I could show her the most recent dress I had sewn.  Unfortunately mom didn’t get up again the next morning. We were shocked and devastated by her death.  This came right on the heels of an accident that befell my cousin Isaac earlier this month, resulting in extremely severe injuries.  So, not an easy month for us.  And certainly not an easy Christmas.


Mom taught me everything I know about sewing.  Without her patient guidance I certainly would not be the seamstress I am today. She helped me through numerous harebrained sewing projects when I was younger, gifted me her old sewing machine, and was always down for a trip to the fabric store.

Since she was my number one fan- i’m convinced she was responsible for at least 50% of the hits to this blog- I wanted to write a blog post in her honor.  Mom was an amazing sewer.  She has been creating beautiful quilts for as long as I  can remember. All over the house are examples of her quilts, wall hangings and table runners. For years  she has done all of the quilting herself (rather than sending the finished tops to a professional to have the layers stitched together aka “quilted”), and she also did a fair bit of quilting for friends.  Here is a small sampling of some of my favorites:


A Ruth McDowell style art quilt- mom designed it herself based on a photograph and translated it into fabric.


I’ve always loved this flannel lap quilt she created using fabric that was pear and cat themed….what’s not to love about that?


This kite wall hanging has some pretty amazing quilting on it.


another example of her talent for machine quilting


a kaleidescope wall hanging


Another one using Ruth McDowell’s technique, this  wall hanging is based on a photo of my grandmother, my aunt, and my cousin Michelle.


This apple picker wall hanging is based on a photo she took on the farm.  Unfortunately she didn’t have a chance to finish it- this was one of her most recent projects.

I can’t capture them all- there are dozens and dozens more in the house, and dozens that she gifted to others.  Words can’t express how much I will miss her. There were so many things we still had left to do together,  and so many questions I wanted to ask her.  Best mom in the world.

14 thoughts on “Ode to an amazing seamstress”

  1. I have always felt so honored to have a couple of her quilts in my house…they’re so very treasured! She passed along a beautiful talent to you…would you consider completing the “apple picker” quilt she started? Carry on her legacy…

  2. Mackenzie – Beautifully written and love all the quilt pictures you included! Nice job – you do your mama proud every day!
    Love you – Michele

  3. Your mom was truly awesome… Her work is definitely beautiful and so fine! The sweetest treasure of all jewels. Her quilt she offered us a year ago is proudly on our door, aside our dining room, and we can admire it every day; we don’t want to use it on the table, as it is originally made for, it is definitely more art 😉 Keep in mind that not only she loved you as much as you loved her, but she also admired you for your work, and what you are now! She was really proud of you. And of Cam too! She will be missed, and nothing will replace her……. However, good memories stays, and she will still be with you, in your heart, in your mind…

    As a (small) tribute I gathered the few pictures, along with you and Cam & Brian during some family reunions.




  4. A beautiful tribute to an amazing woman. Her incredible sewing skills were matched by her incredible kindness and spirit. She was quite shocked when she found out I didn’t know how to sew a button, but of course, nonjudgemental and sweet.

  5. Very loving tribute. The knowledge she imparted to you will be there when you need it. Always looked forward to a visit at the Valley to see what was new in her sewing room. It was always like Christmas.

  6. I was blessed to have mom give me 2 table runners with irises,my favorite flower, that are on tables as we speak….one of my favorites is the one of Grammie,Jane and Michelle… That technique is amazing … Now you will be carrying on her sewing genes for the next generations!
    Your ode was excellent. Xojo

  7. Beautiful Mackenzie. <3 She's was ridiculously talented and she couldn't have been more proud of the woman you had become. She talked about you all the time. My absolute favorite quilt she ever made was the hibiscus. Freaking amazing. I have 4 table runners that she made me over the years. I feel so incredibly blessed to have had her in my life and be able to call her 'Aunt'.

  8. I was a friend of your mother’s in Rochester, MN.
    When my youngest son was born, she gave me a baby quilt for him. I remember being amazed at the beauty of the quilt and also the kind generosity of your mother. It sounds as though she has an heir in you.
    She was always goodness.

  9. Susan was always creating to give. Back in the day we made community quilts for those in the valley who was due to have a baby (always fun and interesting – each person making one square). I have a baby quilt here that Susan made for Silas, table runners – one of which she presented to me after I finish hiking the Superior Hiking Trail – who does that??! Susan.
    I was always eager heading up the stairs to see what she was up to in her sewing room…

  10. Mackenzie,this is beautifully written. Thanks for sharing the pictures of your mother’s quilts. Susan and I were roommates freshman year of college and recently reconnected. We were surprised to discover that we shared the passion of quiltmaking and even managed to take a class together. What a talented women.

  11. MacKenzie you should be so proud because you are your mother’s daughter. Just the things that your Dad has commented on about what you have done since Susan’s death has convinced me that you are and will be much the person she was. I could not pay you a greater compliment.
    Ellen Gries Astle

  12. MacKenzie, I treasure a quilted jacket she gave me one Christmas -with no way to reciprocate her generosity with her time and talent. Your mother was amazing, and I see so much of her in you. This was a beautiful ode.

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