Monday, April 8, 2013

A quilt to show we care

I've been working on a quilt for the past week for a friend of the family who's just begun cancer treatment. Working on it has been a really tough process for me. Cancer hits close to home, way too close. My dad died of complications from lung cancer ten years ago this summer, and honestly, sometimes it feels like it just happened yesterday. I've been thinking of him a lot this week while I've worked on this quilt, and a part of me feels awfully guilty for that. A part of me feels like this quilt should just be about helping this family friend, but then another part of me recognizes that I didn't take the opportunity to do something like this to show my dad how much I cared, so it's normal for him to be on my mind right now. I was a selfish twenty-something when he got sick, fresh out of college and hugely unaware of how little time he had left. There's lots of things I wish I did differently. But I'm thankful for the time that I had with him, and the things that he taught me. He taught me to care about people, and to show them that care, and that's what this quilt is about right now, and I think that's okay.

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I finished up the quilt on Saturday morning, and took it outside to get some finished photos before gifting the quilt. The weather was positively beautiful, after a few days of dark clouds and rain. My munchkin insisted on getting in on the quilty photoshoot fun, and was surprisingly helpful at keeping the quilt still despite the breezy conditions.

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I quilted this quilt in a simple stipple, in 50 wt white Aurifil thread, from my very first mondo-sized Aurifil cone. Aurifil thread is fantastic no matter what size the spool is, but I have to say, the mondo-sized cone moves so darned smoothly off the cone. It was a thing of beauty to watch it unfurling as my machine whizzed away.

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For the binding, I used one of my favorite prints in the history of ever, Sandi Henderson's Peony Plaid from Meadowsweet 2. I love the colors in this plaid, and they worked perfectly with the bright, summery strings in the heart on this quilt.

Michelle's quilt - All ready to gift

I hope you have a wonderful Monday :)

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Quilt Stats
name: Michelle's quilt
size: 50" x 60"
pattern: String Heart block, with lots of negative space
fabrics: Various strings from my string bin mixed with Michael Miller Cotton Couture in Luna, available at I Don't Do Dishes, Pink Castle Fabrics, and Stash Modern Fabrics
quilting: All-over stipple in white 50 wt Aurifil thread
backing: yellow yardage from my stash, a print from Flock and a print from Charleston Farmhouse,
binding: Peony Plaid from Sandi Henderson's Meadowsweet 2

31 comments:

  1. Lovely!!! It's nice you have those little helpers! I can't wait for my boys to grow super tall like their dad, then I can have them helping me all the time :)

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  2. Beautiful quilt. I think that its totally normal that working on it would bring such strong thoughts of your dad and only brings more meaning to it. Hope you're ok x

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  3. That is just so beautiful! I love all the negative space around the pretty heart.
    It is a testament to how much you loved your Dad that you think about him. Hugs xxx

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  4. Such a wonderful, meaningful gift. I am sure your friend will find lots of comfort in this quilt.

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  5. This is so kind of you to make a gift from the heart to ease a trying time. That blue is my favorite color. :D No wonder you love that binding print - it's delectable!!

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  6. Very nice quilt, and very poignant reflection. I identify so well with your casting yourself as the selfish 20-something. I spent a good amount of time there myself and in retrospect would like to reach back and shake me. I have four children in that age right now and have to remind myself that this is just another developmental stage...

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  7. I am a real binding gal. It is my favorite part of making a quilt. Yours is wonderful!!

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  8. (((hugs))) I think the best way you can honor your dad is to cherish all of your time with your loved ones, which I know you do. I also have a very hard time making quilts like this. I guess it's part of the grief process. We probably wouldn't make them if we didn't know that grief though :(. It's beautiful. I'm sure it will be cherished.

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  9. Elizabeth, This is a wonderful, thoughtful gift for your friend. I finished a quilt this weekend for my friend's husband who is being treated for lung cancer after having a brain tumor removed. It is heartbreaking to think of all the people suffering from this horrible disease. My father died from lung cancer, too. All we can do is stitch love and prayers into every quilt.

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  10. Cancer hits everyone...don't feel bad. It's nice that we think about our loved ones when we do loving things. Love this quilt, as always...thanks for sharing :)

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  11. Your story about your dad is so similar to mine. :( I try not to punish myself too much, though. I know that my dad has forgiven me...
    This is a very sweet quilt, I hope that it brings your friend a great deal of comfort!

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  12. It's a gorgeous quilt and I am sure your friend will be over the moon about it.

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  13. I love this quilt in it's simplistic beauty... it really sends a message- how can you not feel loved after being gifted a gorgeous quilt with a giant heart on it? I thought a bit about what you said about your dad and remembered the beautiful fabricland quilt you made a while ago- and how you told us it was inspired by your dad- (am I remembering the details right?) and it made me realize in a very special way you already have used your art form to honor him even though he is gone- and that is pretty special. Just what I was thinking when I read this. It really is a lovely quilt and I hope it helps the recipient feel strong and loved and ready to fight the battle. Hugs!

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  14. That is beautiful! And so so sweet! Well done!

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  15. Quilts like this mean so much to the maker as well as to the receiver. I've been recently asked to make a quilt for a 9 yr old boy just diagnosed with renal cancer that isn't curable. Helping him through his journey is the least that I can do. Hugs.

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  16. This is beautiful and I'm sure it will make Michelle feel wrapped in love and comfort.

    Ditto with the Dad story. Coulda Shoulda Woulda. We learn and let it go and we pay it forward as you're doing now.

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  17. I love this, it's just gorgeous!

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  18. This is a beautiful quilt and a beautiful gesture. My mom died of complications from chemo (lung cancer as well) this past year. It was very fast, less than three months since her diagnosis. I know how you must feel about your dad, and I can imagine that the friend getting this quilt is going to really love it.

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  19. By making this beautiful quilt for your family friend and thinking of your dad while you stitched it , shows that you have real empathy . You know what grief is . You know what cancer is . It becomes a very powerful message of love . Hugs to you , Elizabeth . I lost my dad too . Live life in the moment . Your dad would have known that you loved him .

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  20. Much of what you wrote in this post could have come from my heart. I lost my Daddy just over a year ago, also to cancer. I was unprepared as he was finished with treatment and his death was quite unexpected. Having lived with a cancer diagnosis myself for the past 14 years, I know first hand how much gestures of love can warm the heart and make treatments more tolerable. Your friend will absolutely LOVE your quilt and will love the message behind it even more. Well done on all accounts.

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  21. As a cancer patient myself I hear what you're saying, I too was once that twenty something person as many young people are, but it is how we get 'wisdom'. We move on from that stage and it is the other lessons that you learnt from your dad that enables you to be the person you are now. I salute your sensitivity in the gifting of your quilt.

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  22. Such a wonderful and sweet thing to do ~ and you can do it in your Dad's memory.
    My Dad died almost 5 years ago ~ think of him every single day and miss him.

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  23. Such a beautiful, warm quilt! As a fairly new quilter/sewist, I am so thankful that this skill can be used to encourage, empathize and embrace the people around us who are hurting. A friend of mine who recently received a quilt from me upon her young niece's death (also from cancer) called it "tangible thoughtfulness." And Elizabeth, I'm sure your Dad knew how much you loved him. We are just never ready to let go and never feel that we've done enough. --p.s. Looking forward to meeting you on Friday. :)

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  24. I love Marcia's comment about "tangible thoughtfulness!" Sometimes (okay, a lot of times) I get caught up in the pretty fabrics and the quilting trends, but we need to remember that something as simple as a quilt can bring a lot of comfort to a person who needs it.

    And you shouldn't feel a bit guilty about thinking about your dad during this process. Of course working on this project would bring up memories of him.

    Also, I ADORE this quilt! I want to make one!!!!!

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  25. The colors are so bright and cheerful and that will brighten their spirits up! Vickie

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  26. It's a beautiful quilt, Elizabeth! I'm sure that Michelle will be grateful every time she looks at it, knowing all the love that went into it. Big hugs xx

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  27. So very kind and considerate of you. Don't feel guilty for the past. It is probably grief you are feeling, not guilt. The anniversary of my Dad's death is coming up this week. I know the emotions well!

    In an unrelated question, how do you stitch down your binding? I don't see any stitches, it's so smooth!

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  28. FYI. You can buy cone Aurifil, in five colors, for $30.73 from JHittleSewing. And if you order $100 or more in merchandise, shipping is free. The company offers so many notions at discounted prices, it isn't difficult to come up with a $100 order. No affiliation. Just a very happy customer. It's where I always shop.

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  29. I love it - such a sweet quilt. I recently started using cones on my machine too and they are perfect :)

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  30. The quilt is gorgeous! I'm sure your friend will love and cherish it. I think it's really normal to think of our situations when struck with something sad. That's how we relate.

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  31. So sorry to hear that about your father. I'm the same way about my mother - even though I am now a cancer survivor myself, I don't get upset about that very often, and not for very long. But anytime I hear about someone else being diagnosed, it makes me think of my beautiful mom who died when I was also a 20-something just finishing college. I like to think, though, that is sometimes what motivates me to participate in quilty charities and to be a better person today than I was then. Hugs to you, and to your friend. If it's breast cancer and your friend has any questions at all, I don't mind a bit to talk about my cancer journey. :)

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Thank you for leaving a comment for me! I appreciate each and every one of them and try to respond when time allows. Your comments totally brighten my day :)

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Welcome! I'm Elizabeth, mom to a very busy six year old boy and I sew for my sanity. Let's get to quilting, shall we?

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