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Somber Sewing, Comforting Quilts

Today I am sharing three quilts that were made in the summer of 2011. I have not shared them until now because, honestly, I didn’t know how I was going to sum up my thoughts enough to be able to write about them.

These are comfort quilts, made for a friend and her two young children. Sarah is a friend, our family photographer and, most recently, the photographer behind my pattern covers. She and I met when we taught at the same middle school. We were paired together for our school’s SSR reading program and each morning she’d sit in my classroom reading a novel. It was my first year of teaching and her last before leaving to stay home. She taught art and every. single. kid. LOVED her.

Though it was eight years ago when we met and neither of us are teaching anymore, we have remained friends and see each other for photography sessions. My husband and I have amazing images of our kids thanks to her. I call her “the kid whisperer” because she can get them to ham it up and captures their sassy personalities so well.

Sarah is just one of those people that is simply cool. Kind, caring, creative, faithful, friendly, loyal and funny. Think of the nicest person you know. Then double it and you’ve got Sarah.

Sarah’s husband lost a very long, nine year battle with cancer last summer. It was heartbreaking to hear her updates. They are one of the most faithful families I know and they never once lost hope that a miracle would happen. It was in those final weeks that I started these quilts. There were a lot of late nights spent sewing and thinking about them (and a whole lot of KLOVE on the radio). It was by far the most intense and somber sewing I have ever done. I had the quilts for her kids done and was working on hers when I heard the update that he had passed away.

All of the quilts are roughly 60×60 so that they can be big enough to cuddle under for many years, not just now when they are so young. I pieced the kids’ names into the backs of the quilts and I hope they like having something with their very own name on it. The one for her son (pictured first) is my own improvisational layout. The one for her daughter (pictured second) is the Strips and Stripes design from Malka Dubrawsky’s book Fresh Quilting. I made it from Art Gallery solids.

I finished two of them (for her kids) in June but knew that the third, the one for Sarah, needed a little something that I couldn’t do. There is a verse that is special to her and I asked my friend Angela Walters if she could quilt the verse into Sarah’s quilt. Having met Sarah before and knowing her for just a few hours, she immediately agreed. She actually proposed the idea of quilting the verse so that it would read correctly from the back of the quilt. I thought it was an incredible idea. Angela has written a post about how she did the quilting, because it was quite the process. You can read it here.

The verse reads: ““Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7)

You can see a bit more of it in this image, especially if you click on the image and zoom in:

Sarah’s quilt is made from my Seeing Squares quilt pattern, made in shot cottons and modified a bit by adding a row to the smallest size. Since I’d pieced the kids’ names into the back of theirs, I wanted to do something similar for Sarah’s. I didn’t have to think very long about it before deciding on the word: Loved.


I think about their sweet family every day. Through it all, they have handled everything with an incredible amount of grace and faith. It is difficult to know the right thing to say to her, so I could only think of one thing to do. I could sew for them.

26 Responses to Somber Sewing, Comforting Quilts

  1. Amy C January 4, 2012 at 1:05 pm #

    These are beautiful quilts that I’m sure will be a comfort to your friend and her children. I especially like the verse you picked.

  2. Kelly January 4, 2012 at 1:25 pm #

    all the quilts are really beautiful. thanks for sharing the story!

  3. Libby January 4, 2012 at 1:27 pm #

    This kind work of art is truly awesome as well as the thoughts behind them. Just wonderful

  4. Debbie January 4, 2012 at 3:03 pm #

    Wow – very touching. What a kind gesture you did in making these quilts….Thanks so much for sharing.

  5. Melissa January 4, 2012 at 3:10 pm #

    It’s amazing what a quilt can do and say when we don’t have the words. That is one of my very favorite verses, and I know Sarah and her two children will certainly feel loved wrapped up in the quilts you so lovingly created for them.

  6. monica January 4, 2012 at 3:12 pm #

    beautiful quilt and words. when quilting embodies friendship.

  7. Faith January 4, 2012 at 3:46 pm #

    Those are so beautiful. I think that a quilt gift can be so comforting for someone who has lost so much. xox

  8. Emily January 4, 2012 at 4:30 pm #

    Comfort quilts are some of the hardest, yet most satisfying quilts to make. All of yours are so beautiful. I am sure they will provide much love to the recipients.

  9. Jen Richards January 4, 2012 at 5:00 pm #

    Your quilts are beautiful… what a wonderful friend they have in you.

  10. Libby January 4, 2012 at 6:48 pm #

    Beautiful quilts and such a moving story. Thank you very much for sharing that…and for doing it :)

  11. Paula January 4, 2012 at 7:08 pm #

    Beautiful shea

  12. Diane E. Dodd January 4, 2012 at 8:56 pm #

    You truly are a “friend that sticks closer than a brother!” How thoughtful, loving and comforting. I too lost my husband to cancer almost 5 years ago and I understand your friend’s loss. Trust me when I say she will feel God’s love through the grief and tears because of the kindness you’ve shown and it will help in her healing journey. Perfect scripture too!

  13. felicity January 4, 2012 at 10:03 pm #

    So so beautiful and so so heartbreaking. You’re a good friend.

  14. Carla January 4, 2012 at 10:27 pm #

    Shea, this is a beautiful post and fabulous quilts for our sweet friends! Bless you for your lovely and touching gift.

  15. vicki nagel January 5, 2012 at 8:31 am #

    Great, fun quilts, Shea. I think it’s so wonderful that God gave you this idea for Sarah and her children and that you acted on that prompting. I love to sew, too; in fact, I think we’ve met at the Modern Quilt Guild that my friend, Carla, attends. Sometimes I feel like sewing something is “not enough,” but you have inspired me. Keep on keeping on!

  16. Anita January 5, 2012 at 9:02 am #

    Beautiful quilts…but the real beauty is the kind of friend you are.

  17. Nichole Pyle January 5, 2012 at 9:23 am #

    what beautiful quilts and thoughtful gifts. i am sure they will be well loved. i like how you had the verse quilted into your friend’s quilt. that is a wonderful touch.

  18. craftytammie January 5, 2012 at 3:07 pm #

    just beautiful, shea.

  19. Sue. January 6, 2012 at 7:22 am #

    Such a beautiful thing to do for a dear friend. These will comfort her and her children more than words can say.

  20. Carrie January 6, 2012 at 6:33 pm #

    Yor are a kind and wise soul. Absolutely touching and moving story. Beautiful.

  21. Maria Doricheva January 7, 2012 at 3:16 am #

    Bless you for your labor of love. Thank you for sharing the story and the quilts. What an amazing way to express love, care and compassion. Gorgeous quilts.

  22. Sheryl January 19, 2012 at 10:23 pm #

    Hi, I love your quilts, your squares quilt in particular. Did you design the pattern is it available somewhere?

  23. Sheryl January 19, 2012 at 10:26 pm #

    Gosh I didn’t look very hard did I! Looked a bit harder and found the pattern haha. But is it available on-line as I live in New Zealand.

    • Shea January 23, 2012 at 3:44 pm #

      Ha! I replied to your previous comment and just saw this one. Oops! I am so sorry, but I do not sell my patterns as PDF downloads. I know that Pink Chalk Fabrics ships patterns in the US for free and to other countries for $2.40. I hope that helps!


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