40" x 54" Patchwork for Grandpa
I just came back from the post office! My little's got a super nice package in the mail from Grandma and I finally shipped this little patchwork home.
These fabrics have been with me for over a year; waiting for their turn as I completed 4 different quilts for this family. Mom is amazingly thoughtful and had quilts made for family as well as herself. I've made a sailboat, a lovely flower, a hexagon quilt and finally this small patchwork. Each one is full of adorable little pieces of clothing that bring back memories of those moments. You know the ones. Moments of joy, moments of sadness, all those firsts, the baby laughter, the crying, learning to eat solid food, learning to stand, the stuff that speeds by way too quickly.
I'm going to miss working with this mama, but I'm so happy her final quilt is heading home.
On the sewing table right now I've got 4 quilts, each at a different stage.
I like to have a few projects on the go for a few reasons. One is that there is often a lot of back and forth while working on a quilt as well as often times the need to order a special type of material, This leads to periods of time where I can't continue on a piece until I get further information or the needed supplies. Having a few projects allows me to work as efficiently as possible with the time I have (remember I'm a stay at home mom to 2 littles, so time is a very rare commodity). I also find that having a few projects going keeps me fresh and alert for each one, which is really important to my creative process. Each project is kept in it's own bin when not in progress and I keep a white board in my workshop with the current projects for Kokobaru, as well as my to do list for my The Bear and the Butterfly.
So right now I'm working on a custom panel quilt waiting for some more applique work, a double wedding ring memorial quilt, a patchwork memory quilt and a special t-shirt quilt in the design planning stage.
This means that I'm ready to open up my waiting list to the next 3 people on my overflow list! Once the retainer has been paid to go onto the waiting list I begin working with you. We talk about design ideas and size and then I'll ask you to drop off or ship me your items so I can see them and continue the design process. Once the design is agreed upon I give myself 6 months to finish your quilt. My process is a mix of design and improv sewing and quilts tend to take on a life of their own as they come together.
If you're on the list, or would like to have a quilt made one day, I'd love to hear what you have in mind for yourself.
This custom kokobaru hexagon patchwork memory quilt is ready to come home!
So many quilts I haven't had a chance to share! This was for an amazing little guy named Kal-el. It made sense that Superman was featured heavily (if you don't get that reference you may need to learn a bit more about the man of steel).
I haven't had much of a chance to blog any creations for quite a long time. With my busy little kids, and my photography business life got really busy.
This past fall I had the honour of working on projects that broke my heart, while at the same time filling it with a sense of purpose.
Most of my projects, as you may know, are memory quilts. Clients are consistently excited and happy. If this is you, you've likely saved your children's clothing, sometimes for years. You store them in boxes and bags, culling down to a manageable amount, visiting and re-visiting them again and again. You've searched extensively for someone to make your quilt and eventually found me. Sometimes you contact me right away, sometimes you wait. And when we begin our project together, it is an experience that bubbles with anticipation.
Memory quilts are full of eagerness and joy, of love and sentimental memories, of dreams about tomorrow and the desire to never forget yesterday (if you've had one made, I'm sure you'll agree).
Memorial quilts are quite different.
Memory quilts are made with someone's first clothes.
Memorial quilts are made with someone's last clothes.
I won't pretend that these projects don't have a huge impact on me. I feel a strong sense of connection when I'm working on my quilts and working on a memorial quilt brings up all sorts of personal memories and thoughts on life and loss. I feel deeply for my clients. I feel deeply in general. So it goes without saying that their stories become a part of who I am. And I am grateful for that. Grateful to have the opportunity to provide some solace to people in their grief by creating something they can use to wrap themselves in the memories of their loved one.
When my grandma died most of her clothes were donated, but I asked my mom to put aside some pieces for me. I wasn't sure why at the time, I just felt like I had to hold on to them. To be honest, it was more like I couldn't let go of them. Her belongings were my last physical link to her. They mean a lot to me. I know it can't be possible, as they've been washed and years have passed since I lost her, but her clothes still smell like her. They bring me back in time and I can feel her when I look at them and hold them and smell them. They bring me some small bit of peace. They wait for the time when I'll be ready to make a quilt out of them for myself. And I look forward to that day, so that I too can wrap myself in a love I have not forgotten, and that I miss desperately.
Until then, I check in on them from time to time and count myself lucky that I get to do something for others that is so meaningful and fulfilling.
What have you held on to to remember?
Maker of things. Lover of colour and texture and contrast. Thinker & creator. Daughter, sister, partner, mother, friend. Mighty woman.