Thursday, May 24, 2012

Curl up with Pearl

I skipped WIP wednesday this week, because while I'm still thinking about how I'm going to finish the Pirate quilt, I haven't actually done any work on it.

Because I don't have any WIP photos to share this week, I thought I would share pics of a pair of quilts I made after Christmas. Not quite two years ago, one of my friends died of cancer. We met in a park when her little one was just a few months old, and I was still pregnant with my youngest son. Our older boys immediately hit it off, they both had crazy hair and crazy energy. Pearl had that same vibrant energy, along with a warm personality and sharp sense of humour. She had a unique style and loved yard sales and thrift shopping. We continued to run into each other, our boys playing together at the park, and then when my oldest started Kindergarten, we found that the boys were in the same class. Our younger boys were in the same class at daycare and were best friends. It was heart wrenching to learn just a few short years later that Pearl would not get to see her boys grow up. After she passed away, I offered to take Pearl's clothes and make a quilt for each of her sons. I thought Pearl would appreciate her clothes seeing a second life, keeping her boys warm.

While memory quilts are a big part of the quilting tradition, they are not really in line with "Modern" quilting, which is often about designer fabrics and carefully chosen colour schemes, so it was a little challenging for me. Taking clothes of multiple fibres and colours and trying to make a cohesive quilt made me pretty nervous. I was also asked to make sure that certain special items were included, like these roses from a summer dress. I was pretty sure these quilts were destined to be fuglies.

I picked background colours that I thought were neutral and boy-friendly. There were a lot of rayons and knits, so I stabilized all those fabrics with a lightweight interfacing. The first quilt is a wonky log cabin style, and the background is Kona Cinnamon.

It is twin sized (65" x 88"). I backed it with a cotton sheet and some pieced remnants, and had a fabric in my stash that perfectly matched one of Pearl's dresses, and contained some of the cinnamon colour. I added the turquoise colour to liven it up a little bit. Pearl was very lively, but her wardrobe was actually quite neutral. It was quilted with an all over meander. This is the biggest quilt I've quilted on my home machine, and while it was challenging, it was certainly manageable.

The second quilt was a wonky cross quilt, with the same dimensions, using Kona Coal as the background, and Kona rich red for binding (the red matched one of the t-shirts).

I think the magic of quilting elevated them from fugliness - somehow everything seemed to come together and I was quite happy with how they turned out.

The reception that these quilts received when I dropped them off was worth every minute I spent on them, and then some. The fact alone that the boys pointed out the fabrics, saying "Remember Mama always wore that shirt!" made me so happy that I had done this.

This week also marks the start of the Let's Get Acquainted blog hop: if you want to hop on over to this week's participants, you will find some awesome projects and lovely blogs!

May 22
    Kelsey from Kelsey Sews
    Erin from Billy Button Designs

May 24
    Nik from Bold Goods
    Alyssa from Pile O Fabric

We are heading off this weekend for the wild west coast of Vancouver Island, so I probably won't have a lot of quilting/sewing to show next week, but I will have some photos to share of this magical place.

Thanks for visiting!


  1. These are beautiful! What a wonderful tribute and so nice to step out of the traditional memory quilt idea.

    I have been nominated for a Liebster Blog Award by Sew Sleepless. Because I really enjoy your blog I'd like to nominate you. It's an award for small blogs (less than 200 followers). It's a fun way to network and bring small blogs together! A Liebster means "dearest" or "favorite" in German. As a recipient you are expected to:

    Thank the person that nominated you and link back to them.
    Present the award to five other blogs
    Let them know by commenting on their blog
    Post the award on your blog The artwork is out there on the web.

  2. That is such a beautiful story, what a wonderful gift for those boys. That is a gift beyond price and I hope they treasure those beautiful quilts always.


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