While Teresa Wilson was rummaging through her late mother’s attic, she came across a mysterious item: a colorful patchwork quilt with high-quality fabric—unfinished yet beautiful. After doing a bit of digging, she learned it was her great grandmother’s work.
“It would have been constructed with my mom, grandma and great grandma,” she explains. As a child, Teresa used to spend time watching these three generations of women work together in her grandmother’s kitchen. “I remember going there, cutting squares of material and seeing the framework[s] … [while] they would all sit and work on them. My grandmother had eight kids so she had lots of fabric from old clothes.”
While the sentimental side of her would have loved to keep the quilt, Teresa knew she’d never be able to finish it. She works a total of 50-60 hours, six days a week. So in the name of decluttering, she decided to put it up for sale in her VarageSale community (Port Huron Area Swap, MI).
Teresa had no idea if the unfinished quilt would even sell. (In fact, she had to reduce it from $40 to $25 before people started showing interest.) But sell it did—to a woman Teresa now describes as an “angel.”
That angel is Sandi Hayes. A retired nurse with a big family and even bigger heart, Sandi has been making quilts “with much love” for 15 years. She takes joy out of giving them away as gifts, donating them to local charities and putting them away for her future grandchildren. She can only guess how many new additions will join the family, so she set the bar high just in case. “I figure I need at least 24… So I’m plugging along,” Sandi says. Currently, she’s halfway there.
For Sandi, it’s all about passing things down from generation to generation. So it’s no surprise that she was drawn to Teresa’s post. After Sandi first came across it, she couldn’t get the story of the unfinished quilt out of her mind. She described the experience as “an inner voice nagging at [her] heart.”
“I watched [Teresa’s quilt] for a couple of weeks,” says Sandi. “I knew the perfect thing was to buy it and finish it for her.” So that’s exactly what she did. She purchased the quilt, and started work on it the very next day. Friends and family members wondered why she would put so much time and effort into a gift for a stranger. But this didn’t deter Sandi.
All summer, she worked diligently on the quilt. “I spent every available minute on it,” Sandy explains. “I chose not to change or resew anything the [great] grandmother did.”
With summer’s end, her project came to an end as well. “I fell completely in love with the quilt … with each stitch,” Sandi admits.
But how to hand over the finished quilt? Sandi and Teresa didn’t know each other beyond meeting to swap, so Sandi couldn’t surprise Teresa at her home. Instead, Sandi browsed Teresa’s items on VarageSale, and found a vase she knew her daughter-in-law would love—the perfect excuse to meet Teresa again!
The two women agreed to meet at a nearby parking lot to make the swap. On the day of the meet, Sandi got out of her car with the finished quilt in hand. When Teresa realized what she was holding, she was “stunned, amazed.” She buried her face in the quilt, jumped up and down, and cried tears of joy. “I cried with her and was so thankful I was able to do [this] for her,” recalls Sandi.
Now Teresa has a wonderful keepsake of her great grandmother. She loves to wrap her own granddaughter in the beautiful finished piece. “I also … cuddle up with it when I [need] to feel closer to my loved ones that are gone,” she says. “Very cool to know that is my granddaughter’s great, great, great grandma’s.”
“My favorite picture of it shows [Teresa’s] first granddaughter, the next heir of the quilt, wrapped up in it,” Sandi glows. “It makes me smile … every time I see it.”
“I want it to last for years to come,” says Teresa, who plans to pass it on to future generations. And thanks to an angel in her community, Teresa can do just that.