I think what surprised me most about designing Neno’s Apron Quilt was how well the colors really all go together. The green one with the flowers in the middle is the one Tess asked me to keep whole. It was the only one with green in it, but it also has some of the same blues and browns found in the other aprons.
As all whole aprons I couldn’t get it to work, but cutting them up and spreading them out in a somewhat symmetrical way made the piece cohesive. As always, I was a bit nervous about cutting the aprons up, but I knew the light blue and white checks and the brown calico needed to got together next to the green flowered apron. So I started there and just kept going. The more I did the more confident I became cutting the aprons.
I tried the stings of the green apron 5 different ways, including tying them in front, but when I stretched them out wide they became two open arms ready to hug who ever came into them. This so fit with what Tess told me about her Neno I had to go with it. Then I mimicked that gesture with the only sold apron which is denim. I had to add a couple of pieces of denim fabric that I had, but they happened to be almost the same color and my mother had given it to me, so it seemed to fit.
I saw as I started cutting them up and placing them that most of the aprons were handmade. A few, even hand stitched. Did Neno make them herself or did someone make them for her? I love the idea of so much thought, creativity and energy going into something which is often simply utilitarian. She must have enjoyed wearing them and choosing which one to wear. Was she trying to match her clothes, or did it just depend on her mood.
Somehow it’s seems perfect that these aprons, in retirement, should become a quilt. They protected Neno’s clothes as she lovingly cooked all those Sunday family dinners. Now they’ll continue to bring love and comfort in a new way to the same people who ate those dinners.