This last six months has taken an unexpected turn of its own in my quilting focus and I just went with the ride. There was the time (and who knows ~ it may still come) when I really wanted to make a quilt or two for competition. Or a huge Thread Painted Art Quilt ~ wouldn’t that be fun? But after I set up my Etsy Shop to sell the patterns I talk and teach about throughout this blog, I started getting asked to make quilts that I wasn’t even advertising….
…quilts designed, created, and infused with memories and meaning for the person it’s being made for.
At first it felt pretty typical to get these orders… just like “Yay! I got an order!” And I set about making the quilts requested as best as I knew how.
But then as I communicated with the customer more and more asking about this and that for the quilts construction, more of a story started to come out…
Who the quilt was for… why they wanted this quilt… what it meant to them… and what they wanted included. All of a sudden it was so much more than a pile of pretty fabric cut into blocks of designs, batting and thread …and so much more than just a fun way to make a little income.
It started to become an unexpected way to touch someone’s life and share something special with…
…a grieving family who recently lost a parent
… a couple waiting for a long awaited child through adoption
… a friend who wanted to commemorate the miracle of a heart transplant patient.
So here are a few of the quilts I’ve done and why since my last post and only one of them is Thread Painted! But all of them are so much more than a pretty blanket.
It all started with these seven quilts…yes seven! I wasn’t the one to piece them this time around ~ I did the finishing with my long arm. And Ann was a first time piecer of quilt tops! But as a craftsman in other areas she just wanted the memory of her mother-in-law preserved in seven quilts with pieces of her clothing, one for each sibling, so much, that she took it on fearlessly. And it became a fun texting conversation helping her a bit here and there…especially after I received the first top… so she could learn a bit more as she went along… and I would have fewer wavy borders to quilt down! : )
But she got hooked and did so well she made three more tops for gifts after these!
Then one of my own quilts got ordered. And that was when I changed from thinking it was just another order to so much more because at delivery time I got into a conversation and found out this quilt was going to be part of making a very welcoming room for a special adopted child. Up until this time I was still thinking of the quilts I made as just great lap warmers and pretty bed accessories. But now I find out its part of a young couple’s way to make a warm welcoming room to help their new child feel special and loved. That’s so much more than a pretty blanket! And it definitely gave ME a much wider perspective for what I like to do.
I don’t do a lot with hand embroidery so the next quilt was a fun challenge. I was asked to design a quilt to preserve the handwork of someone’s beloved mother in her memory. By this time I was catching on and I started praying for direction because I really didn’t want to mess this up! I was now responsible for six hand stitched panels that could not be replaced if I did! This was probably the most pressure I’ve felt making a quilt, because on top of not wanting to ruin those six blocks, she had a request for Log Cabin blocks that I felt wouldn’t work! But she loved, loved, loved the simpler plan I showed her instead that showcased her mother’s embroidery nicely and kept it the focus without the busy log cabin blocks.
The latest twin size quilt I finished also happens to be a pattern of mine, called “Whooo Loves You?” This will be the last time I’ll make a quilt thinking it’s just another quilt order (!) because this one too has a sweet story behind its choosing. My customer chose it for her friend’s 50th birthday ~ they have been friends since high school but even more special, she is the longest surviving heart transplant patient in the country ~ 30 years! What a wonderful friend she has, knowing she loves owls, chose my mine because it was colorful.
And if that wasn’t enough to change my thinking for good, she just let me know she also wants SEVEN MORE QUILTS! That number! I do believe it means they will most certainly be gifts and most likely be some kind of memory quilt… that’s my enlightened guess! She says she is working on her ideas …but I will find out soon because she needs them all by June! So I will keep you updated with that next big project!