When a Quilt is More than a Quilt

Every once in awhile, a quilt becomes more than “just” another quilt.  The quilt carries special meaning that adds to its beauty and value.  It could be the first quilt a grandmother makes for her grandchild.  A special graduation gift given before a young adults heads off to college on their own.  Or it is given to mark a milestone…in this case a 70th birthday, as showcased in the quilt below.

A couple of weeks ago, I was invited by my cousin to attend a surprise party that she and her 7 siblings were putting together to commemorate their mother’s 70th birthday.  Her birthday fell on Mother’s Day this year, which made it especially poignant for her children to return home from 3 different states to celebrate.

While a gift was definitely not necessary, I wanted to do something special for this aunt.  As a small boy, she lived up the hill from me.  Many days were spent playing in their backyard with my cousins.  Then we moved out of state to Colorado.  A few year’s later, I was back in Utah attending college.  Being away from home for the first time, it was nice to have my Aunt and Uncle just a short bus ride away when homesickness set it.   To be able to escape to a second home for the occasional weekend made being away from home much more bearable.  Everyone was always welcome and Buz and Jan’s.

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling
Buz and Jan Allen…picture lifted from Facebook without express permission….I hope that’s OK. 🙂

So, how to celebrate this wonderful woman and her family…how else?  With a quilt of course!!  If I were a baker, it would have been with a special cake.  Since I am a quilter, it was with a quilt.  But, not just any quilt.  This quilt needed to be special and here is what I came up with.


At first glance, this is a quilt consisting of rectangles, squares, triangles and sashing, which is true.   This is no different than any number of quilts I have made over the years. However, each rectangle, square and triangles holds deep and special meaning.  This quilt is more than a quilt…it is also a family portrait.

The rectangles at the top represent my aunt and uncle.  Down the left-hand side, each of their eight children are the smaller rectangles, starting a row that symbolizes each of their families, made up of squares and triangles.  All in all, my aunt and uncle, their children and their spouses and 27 grandchildren are “pictured” in is this family quilt.

They have one “angel” grand-daughter who passed away as an infant.  Baylee is shown in the quilt as a sweet grand-daughter who is currently behind the “veil of heaven” watching over her family.


This quilt was truly a labor of love.  Happy 70th Birthday Aunt Jan!!  Thanks for letting me be a part of your Allen clan.  And, thanks Jan for naming blue and pink as two of your favorite colors.  That was truly the inspiration and jumping-off point for this quilt.

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