An Unmatched Spirit

A quilt for my Mom


Have you ever made something for someone right under their nose? Have you publicly shared the process knowing the recipient would see the details?

Have you ever kept a secret, for months, from your own mother? I have.

One of my favorite stories Mama tells of her childhood is her experience watching Secretariat win the Triple Crown. It was June of 1973, she, a young girl, tuned in to the remarkable event via television set. She recounts that after the unmatched win, she whinnied and galloped wildly around the living room, likely much to the chagrin of my poised Grandmother. When she references 31 lengths, her eyes brighten. The story always ends with a beaming smile. The kind of smile that only occurs when you recollect a significant memory.


Quilt lying on front porch steps


A familiar smile lifted my face when I discovered the “Spirited” fabric collection by Sharon Holland for Art Gallery Fabrics. The designs couldn’t have been more appropriate – they are my mother, in fabric form. Sharon’s use of floral and color perfectly captured both of us – Mama’s love for lavender, my love for rich yellows. But most importantly, the prints representing the movement of horses struck a chord. In fact, I immediately deemed the “Boundless Spirit Sorrel” print as the perfect backing and binding. In a nutshell, the idea came easily, the secret keeping not quite as much.

Back in March, I was blessed with the opportunity to test this “Kaleidoscope Burst” quilt pattern for Amanda of Quilt Cakes. When I saw the design, I knew it was the perfect match for “Spirited” and my planned quilt for Mama. So, I made the choice to continue updating my Instagram account as normal. I shared photos and stories of the test process with crossed fingers -and toes! – that Mama wouldn’t catch on.

Once I completed the top and backing, I mailed them to be long arm quilted by the capable hands of Amanda of Prairie Folk Quilt Co. She and I worked together to select the “Dainty Lady Floral” pantograph by Urban Elementz. Her contribution to the quilt, and its story, is incomparable. There is a lot of love dedicated to the construction of this quilt and I am forever indebted to Sharon and the Amandas.



My mother during a horse show in the late 1970's.


To the recipient of this quilt, my Champion Mother,

Surprise! I hope you truly had no idea that this quilt was being made for you. But, deep down I know, like mothers do, that perhaps you had some kind of inkling or hope. This quilt invokes feelings I cannot express in words, but I will certainly try. I chose you as the recipient of my first gifted quilt because you gave me life. Not only in the literal sense of the word, but also because of your uplifting, playful attitude. The encouragement and support you give endlessly. The sense of comfort you provide.

I hope this quilt comforts you as you’ve comforted me. I will share more details and other significant aspects of your gift, privately, after you’ve finished reading this. I am grateful for you. For everything.

Happy Birthday to a lifelong horseman, an unmatched Spirit : my mother.




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