Thursday, March 8, 2012

Quilting Genes

This is a story about the day I found this beautiful quilt pattern designed by Bobbie Jarrett!!

I was put up for adoption at birth a very very long time ago. My first four months were spent with the Sisters of Providence while they waited patiently for my leg that was "malformed" to be treated and healed.

I was then adopted by my mom and dad and older brother and moved with them to Astoria where I spent 19 years growing up on the Columbia River.

My mom loved knitting, needlepoint and counted cross stitch and my Nana sewed clothes, knitted, crocheted, embroidered and made the cutest Norwegian outfits for little dolls. I started sewing clothes in the 7th grade but didn't get to learn the other needle arts because both mom and Nana were a little intimidated by my left handedness!!! Silly!!

I was interested in everything around me. My dad would shake his head and say,"Martha, I just don't understand you".  I wondered why I was so bewildering for a very long time. It was that statement that prompted me to begin my search for my birth family at age 24. Maybe the answer would be found with them.

After 7 years of searching, I found my birth mother Judith. I met my three sisters and brother, all younger than me which was kind of strange because I grew up the little sister and was perhaps a wee bit on the spoiled side!!

Judith, my birth mom, loves to knit and crochet, she sews a lot, and quilts. She comes from a family of quilters. I can honestly say that I really didn't know much about quilts, and had no clue on how to put them together. They looked scarey, and to be honest, I knew that I could not be a quilter

But one day I decided that if she could quilt, I must be able to also because we have the same genes!! Right?? And so I began my journey into quilting and have not looked back.

One summer Judith and Al, my husband and myself were in Bend Oregon visiting my brother in law Marc and his wife Denise. We went to the Sisters Quilt Show and later ended up in a really awesome quilt store in Bend. We all split up browsing the beautiful fabrics, patterns and notions. Eventually, I saw Judith and she saw me. We ran up to each other, and at the exact same moment, we said to each other,"Look at this awesome quilt pattern I found!!" We turned the pattern around to show each other the exact same pattern, Dogwood Delight. Out of that entire huge store, that was the one thing we both picked up separately!! WOW!!

We still do things like this, we buy the same fabric, painted our sewing rooms the exact same color, buy the same greeting cards, the list goes on!! She lives in Northern Washington and I live in the Willamette Valley of Oregon, 100's of miles away!! There must be something in the genes for sure.

She made her Dogwood quilt first, then shared the woods fabric with me. She is fabulous at applique and I am learning to do the same.

How lucky am I that I was given two fabulous moms? I followed in my mothers footsteps and became an RN and a mom just like her, and I am now following my birth mom in her sewing and quilting.  I am truly blessed.

My mom died in March of 2011, and I miss her terribly. I still get tears when I think of her being gone, but she lives on in my memories and in the work I do as a nurse. I learned it all from her :^) Thanks mom for all that you have taught me and thank-you Judith for giving me life. I cherish you both.

Take care everyone, Happy Quilting and keep those needles sharp!! Martha


  1. Hi Martha, Thanks for the words of encouragement about my job. It made me feel much better. You story about your Mom's is touching. My Mom was my very best friend and I miss her alot. My Mom would love my quilts. Thanks for sharing your story.

  2. Isn't it amazing (for us that are adopted and have met our birth parents) how much we are like our parents and then how many things are just like our birth parents! It can be kind of eerie :)

    I really enjoyed reading your story, thank you for sharing it. Your mom and your birth mom both sound like amazing people. I'm sorry for the loss of your mom in 2011, I can't imagine what that's like.
    Blessing and Happy Quilting,


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