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.