it's hard to find the words to talk about this quilt, but i wanted to share it because it's special to me. a few weeks ago, one of our dear friends died of a heart attack, just a couple of weeks shy of his 42nd birthday. he was so young, so healthy (a former professional dancer turned dance teacher), so happy, so vibrant, so sincere. so it was, and still is, a shock. and while my heart is breaking for the loss of him from the world, and selfishly for the loss of him from my own life, my heart is breaking even more so over the fact that his wife, also our dear friend, and his 4-year-old son have been left behind to figure out how to go on living life without him.
what makes this extra hard for me is that they now live in the netherlands, and while my initial instinct was to jump on the next plane to be with them, being in the last few weeks of pregnancy makes this an impossibility for me. the day after he died, i was sitting around cycling through a rollercoaster of emotions, and landed on the thought, "what can i do for them?" and, being a quilter, it suddenly seemed obvious that though i can't be there to physically wrap my arms around them to show my love and grief, i might be able to send a quilt that they can wrap around themselves. while i know a quilt is no substitute for a husband and a friend and father, it comforts me to think that our friend and her son can snuggle under it together and possibly feel my love from the other side of the world.
i'm not even sure how to explain how the design came about as i normally might. i guess a heart might seem cheesy, but it felt like i was sending them a huge expression of my love for them, for their lost family member, for my lost friend. and it also represents the impact our friend left on the world. i know when people talk people who have died it's easy to overlook shortcomings and focus only on the good, but i can't even begin to say how essentially good our friend was. always smiling, always interested in everyone around him, always showing nothing but love for his family, always the best sport in our weekly summer croquet games, always emanating a kind of light and warmth and love that you could almost feel and see when you were around him. so i quickly sketched out this heart, that to me glows with warmth, and made it so big as to be the entirety of the quilt. i also wanted it to be simple enough that i could finish it quickly and use what i had on hand. it's constructed of 3-1/2" squares and half-square triangles. the final size is about 67 x 70, a generous lap quilt.
the back is one of the happiest prints i could find, anna maria horner's sketchbook in ivory from the hand drawn garden collection. in fact, it's so happy i think i want to use it on everything now.
it's bound in a martha negley print called holly light snow in red from her holiday collection, poinsettia and holly. i found it at drygoods design after realizing that, once again, nothing in my stash was at all right.
i quilted it with sandie on her long arm with my favorite spiral pattern. sandie was so sweet to let me come over and do this one relatively quickly. and i just love how the combination of the patchwork heart and the swirly quilting look together.
while i'm not sure i necessarily feel better having finished this to send to our friend, i do feel like i've at least tried to show her our love and support. i'll be honest, making this quilt has made me really sad and it a little hard to look at objectively (i'm sorry to anyone who has asked me in person about the quilt and gotten a vague answer... it's just been too hard to talk about this out loud), i'm happy that at least i was able to do something tangible. and i'm sure that's not something i need to explain to any other quilter out there who has ever made a quilt out of love.