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The Deer Quilt

Mom’s heirloom wall quilt showcases Native American buck motif

By Tim H. Martin/Buckmasters Online Editor

My mother, Yvonne Martin, spent a year of her life tediously cutting, sewing and piecing together an amazing wall quilt.  Despite the months of intense focus and painstaking work, I believe Mom thoroughly enjoyed every minute of capturing the Native American buck motif in thread and cotton. It was truly a labor of love.

It’s hard for me to fathom how much work must have gone into building it. The number of hours required to hand-stitch the border triangles alone boggles my mind, much less the crazy antlers, tiny eyes and zig-zaggity portions. The echo stitching — the waves of stitching surrounding the buck — were also completely sewn by hand.

When Mom presented the quilt to me and my son Graham in 2013, she gingerly removed it from a special bag, unfolded it and exchanged hugs for the treasure.

I said, “Mom, this is awesome! Graham and I can’t wait to bring it fishing this afternoon and spread it out on the creek bank. This thing is PERFECT for keeping our fish off the mud!”

Mom’s eyes widened and she did not crack a smile. The mere thought of getting a smidgen of dust on her masterpiece, much less grit, grass stains and fish slime, was no laughing matter. And after I realized she thought I was serious, I feared I might make the Guinness Book of World Records as Oldest Son to Get a Butt Whoopin’.

The Deer QuiltWhen her paddle hand began to twitch – an involuntary reflex developed during years of raising three wild boys – I quickly confessed I was joking.

Mom finally laughed, said I wasn’t funny and proceeded to give me and Graham strict instructions on how to care for our new heirloom piece.

The original Native American buck design comes from my old friend and BTR master scorer Bill Leon who created the motif to decorate one of his prized gourds in 2007.

At that time, I was Rack Magazine’s Art Director and fell in love with Bill’s deer at first sight. I asked Bill if I could modify his design to use in the magazine and he immediately granted my request.

Years later, when Mom mentioned she was looking for a challenging design for a quilting project, I told her Bill’s buck would be perfect, and I showed her the magazine with the buck design.

After I printed off a full-sized template and discussed fabric colors, Mom dove into the project. She delayed giving it to me when it was finished to grant requests to show it at several quilting shows, where it received rave reviews.

Today, I proudly hang this unique work of art in my office, and it will eventually be handed down to my children’s children.

And Mom, because we love you and will always treasure your quilt, I promise to spank the fanny of any kid, grandkid or great-grandkid who I catch putting fish on it. Better them than me!

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