Today’s prompt is “pattern” and that made me think back to the first quilt my grandmother made for me when I was a kid. I wasn’t even sure where it was in the house, but finally found it sitting in the corner of a closet. It’s pretty tattered and worn now, with frayed edges and bits of fabric dangling precariously in certain sections. As I sketched, I found myself gently restoring it to its original state square by square, as my mind took me back to that wonderful moment when I first received it. It’s not that I didn’t take good care of it, of course. It’s simply a natural side effect that happens to childhood things when they are well and truly loved. The quilt is a delightful cacophony of blaring shapes and colors, assembled in a perfectly random fashion that somehow begins to form back into a pattern. It was crafted from bits of recycled fabric, some from old dresses my mother used to wear and others from items that had simply outworn their original use. And it was my constant companion throughout my school years, guarding me through the flu and chicken pox while cuddling me through restful naps.
As I grew older, and taller, the quilt grew much smaller. Where once I could completely cocoon inside it, I now had to settle for something to drape across my legs. But it always managed to provide the same comfort. It was, after all, still like I was getting a hug from my grandmother. She lived miles away, but I could always study those patterns and they would take me right back to her. She’s gone now, and the blanket has become too fragile to use. Taking it back out again, all those memories came flooding back to me. Both the wonderful thoughts of her, but also moments of no real importance at all. Just the feeling of being cuddling up under on the couch watching some silly show on television. I draped it around me first like a cape for a moment before folding it back into place for this sketch. It’s funny how the first memories the quilt brings back to me are only the simplest. Nothing dramatic or indeed eventful at all. Just a warm feeling of comfort that blankets me with memories of love.
I gently put the blanket back in its place in the closet, but the memories are still spinning through my mind. Looking back, I now realize that each time I was with my grandmother, she also gave me something more than my young brain could ever process at the time. She taught me everything from how to pick gooseberries to how to milk a goat, the latter of which I was rubbish at, by the way. But as she was teaching me these skills I would end up never requiring again, she was also teaching me much more. A steady approach to life that comes with an earnest heart and a positive attitude that never falters, no matter what may come my way. Each moment with her, she added a piece of knowledge that connected with the last to create a tapestry of wisdom that I still hold close to me today. And though objects might bring back memories, I now suddenly realize that, in the end, those wise and wonderful moments themselves were actually the quilt my grandmother made for me.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Hansa Yellow Medium, Quinacridone Red, Benzimida Orange, Manganese Blue, and Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book.
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Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!