Cynthia’s Needlework

My mother-in-law, Cynthia Dolinger, has been under hospice care for the past two years due to an environmentally induced blood disease. My husband and I drove to her home last weekend to be with her during her final days. On Sunday she passed from earth to Glory. As a tribute to her, I would like to share some of her needlework projects with you.

Cynthia enjoyed large cross-stitch projects. On frequent shopping trips to Lancaster, Pennsylvania she purchased stamped linen table cloths and handfuls of DMC floss. She was “into” taupe before it was popular. I have several tablecloths that she painstakingly cross-stitched.

Her love of cross-stitch extended to bed quilts. The stitches of a yellow and green king size bedspread showed so much wear after daily use over the years that she made a second one! The lines of the quilting designs were also stamped on the fabric which she dutifully hand quilted on a king size quilting frame crafted by Amish cabinetmakers.

Another lovely bed quilt features wreaths with ribbons and taupe stitching in the negative space.

The border of rosebuds is equally lovely.

Forty-two years ago, when I walked in the door as her son’s girlfriend, she expanded her needlework interests to include quilting. Quilting is a hobby we enjoyed together from shopping for fabric and searching for stunning quilt patterns, to attending quilt shows and retreats. The fabric of the Maple Leaf quilt is cotton but heavier than quilting cotton. Due to the weight of the fabric, the quilt shows minimal wear despite its forty years of age.

Cynthia found and traced a huge maple leaf for the quilting motif in alternate white squares.

Three of us worked on a Dresden Plate quilt for my sister-in-law, Doli. The wedges came as a pre-cut kit. Doli remembers sewing the Plates together. I helped with the applique, and Mom and I worked on hand quilting it. Isn’t the inclusion of the red wedge so unusual? About half of the Dresden Plates include a red polka dot wedge.

Doli loves purple and irises, so Mom cross-stitched iris blocks purchased, again, in Lancaster.

The quilt has been washed, so the machine quilting design is not readily noticeable. During the photo shoot I wondered who had quilted it since I am their longarmer of choice. Then I noticed the pineapple in the bottom left corner and the heart-shaped leaves and loops, my signature quilting design. Pineapples, a symbol of hospitality, are a favorite decorating motif in their home.

For the past two years, Cynthia has enjoyed sleeping under a quilt that I made. One block of the Log Cabin variation is pictured below. “Heaven’s Light,” published in the October/November 2018 issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts, added luminous color to the hospital bed and cheered her heart during her illness. And now, I rejoice to say that she is enjoying heaven’s light to the fullest.

50 thoughts on “Cynthia’s Needlework

  1. My condolences on the passing of your MIL. It sounds like she had a wonderful relationship with her DIL’s, something that doesn’t happen in a lot of relationships. Blessings!

  2. So sorry for your loss, but what lovely memories you have and will always have every time your eyes land on one of the quilts you worked on with her. I lucked up with a wonderful mother in law also. Lovely memories❤️

  3. What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful human. Quilts are gifts from the heart that turn into treasured heirlooms. Thank you for sharing. ❤️

  4. Abi, my heart was warmed by your sharing of your lother-in-law’s legacy amd the closeness you enjoyed with her. Praise the Lord for her faithfulness . I love the finding of your very own pineapple quilted in her quilt. Can not wait to compare projects in person post covid.

  5. What beautiful memories of your Mother-in-Law. You were lucky to have a common interest that you shared. I’m sure she will be deeply missed.

  6. I am so sorry for your loss, but what a lovely tribute to a talented lady! It’s really special that you shared the love of quilting and needlework over the years.

  7. So sorry to hear about your loss, Aby, even knowing it’s coming, it’s so hard to say good bye. It’s clear to see from her lovely work where your love for needle and thread came from! ❤ You will keep her alive each time you put needle to fabric ❤


  8. Aby, I’m so sorry for your family’s loss, but joyful for you mother-in-law to be in no more pain and suffering and in heaven! Thanks for sharing her needlework, so beautiful!

  9. Aby, I too am saddened by your loss. You were blessed to have had such a wonderful relationship. You are fortunate to have her beautiful creations in addition to your memories as a way to remember her. Your tribute to her was beautiful. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  10. Aby, I’m so sorry for your loss. What a beautiful tribute to your mother in law. Now she is at peace with Jesus. Trish

    Sent from my iPad


  11. Dear Aby,
    So sorry to hear about your mother in law passing. Thank you for sharing her beautiful needle work. She’s very talented. Hope you have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
    Wendy Caridi

  12. It sounds like you had a wonderful mother in law and I am sorry for your loss. Her needlework is beautiful and it is so great that you both shared an interest in quilting. Some day you will see her again and for now you have lovely memories of her. .

  13. I am sure you have numerous beautiful memories of this special relationship with your “other mother”. To have some of her beautiful work to enjoy is awesome. Even more special is to know that her earthly struggles are over and she shines forever with Our Heavenly Father, where this is no darkness. The beautiful promise of our Lord and Savior!

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