A change of pace this week: I’m posting a day early, and instead of showing you something new, I’m going to show you something I made four years ago.
Today would have been my friend K’s 30th birthday. She was killed in a car accident a few years ago, and I decided that today would be a good day to show you the quilt I made for her family, especially her mom.
We had a memorial service for K on our college campus, and I put out 5″ squares and fabric pens (and other markers) for people to write messages. I took those and used iron-on fusing to attach them to larger squares (because many of the messages hadn’t left seam allowances). (Lessons learned: mark seam allowances, and don’t use permanent markers – some of the squares bled a lot, and I don’t know how this quilt will hold up in the future.)
I took a picture of K and printed it onto photo fabric, along with her name. I used a zigzag stitch in blue thread to attach it to my center square, and I hand quilted a little pink flower next to her name.
Then I started adding the borders. I used mostly batiks and added a lot of blue prints from my collection, K’s favorite color. I love the lushness of the batiks. When I look back at the pictures, I recognize a lot of blue prints I’ve used in other projects, some of which I still have. A few of them strike me, now, as being children’s prints, but I think that’s appropriate. I think it speaks to the innocence of a young life cut short.
The first border is batiks, in rainbow order. The second border has messages, alternating with squares that are just prints. (They aren’t all squares, actually – I had to do a lot of math to make all my rows even, so it’s more like rectangles.) Then another rainbow border of batiks, and finally another border with messages alternating with blank squares. I used variegated pink thread to quilt little hearts in the corners of the innermost border. I did the same in the third border (the outer rainbow border). A couple of the hearts were done with yellow thread instead of the pink. I also sewed down the corner of each message with a little yellow x. (It’s really not that much quilting, another reason why I worry about how it’ll hold up in the future.)
I finished the edge of the quilt with a blanket stitch in the pink thread. That’s the only time I’ve ever done that. I couldn’t tell you why I picked it, but I think the effect is really cute. It gives it a sweet blanket-y feel.
For the back of the quilt, I used a fabric collection I had, mostly purples, greens, and blues with a little yellow mixed in. I don’t remember what it’s called; at the time I’d had it for a while, and that was back in 2010. (I’m not 100% sure the yellow was from that collection; I might have added it.) It’s just a nine patch of large squares surrounded by a border of smaller squares and then a purple border. I pieced it because I didn’t have anything large enough for the backing. That’s my former roommate A modeling the quilt for me in our old apartment, before I switched jobs and moved to be closer to my family.
I want to share one close up picture. Not everyone could attend the memorial and some people sent me messages that I printed on fabric. I had one extra empty square in the top left corner of the quilt, in which I quilted three concentric hearts. (Concentric is the right word, isn’t it? I think it must be.) I wanted to show you the hearts and one of the messages. Many of us met on the Catholic freshman retreat on campus and I think the message of the hymn is beautiful here. This way you can see the blanket stitch I used for the edging, too.
I still miss K. Sometimes I think to myself suddenly “I need to call K!” or “I have to tell her about that,” like when one of her brothers had a baby and I wanted to congratulate her, or when I saw another brother in a play, or on her birthday. Last year her birthday was a Sunday and I had mass said for her at my church. I cried during mass and I still had the thought afterward that I should email her to wish her a happy birthday. I forget that she’s gone. This year I’ll email her mom, like I usually do, to let her know that I’m thinking of their family and that they and K are always in my prayers. Sometimes I think I should make K’s mom another quilt, something to let her know that people still care. Losing K broke her heart. I’ll let that idea percolate and maybe something will inspire me.
I’m sorry if this week’s post is a little rambling. I still get sad and emotional when I think about K’s death. She was a wonderful friend.