My friend Julie's son arrived home from Iraq today, so she and her family have been on my mind. In a wonderful love story, Julie, a divorcee, and Scott, a widower, found each other through their faith and got married several years ago, merging families and households and serving as a living example to relationship success after loss and healing, a model for me and I'm sure countless others.
Before the wedding, I was visiting Julie and reverse engineering a sweater for her to give to Scott as a wedding gift (yes, I do sweaters in addition to quilts), we stopped by Scott's house. I mentioned that I might stop by the neighborhood quilt store on my way home and he asked if I used batting in my quilts. This seemed like a strange question to me, so, with trepidation, I said "yes...?" Scott excused himself to the basement and returned with a large bag of batting pieces in assorted sizes. I turned out his wife had been a quilter. He shared her fabric with her quilting friends after she passed away, but had found this bag of batting later and graciously passed it on to me. I did promise him that I'd let him know what I did with it. As I was getting a tour of the house, Julie mentioned that they had purchased bedding for what would be their room, that they planned to paint to match it, and that they needed throw pillows.
As an aside: I'd always wanted to make a lone star quilt and had looked at the beautiful wall-size version featured in the book The Joy of Quilting by Joan Hanson and Mary Hickey. (Incidentally, this book was open to this article the day a distracting telephone conversation and a runaway rotary cutter caused me to require my first stitches. And no, I didn't bleed on the book! But I digress.)
Fast-forward a week. They were coming to town for Easter the next Saturday, so I asked Julie to bring me a pillow sham, because an idea had been rolling around in my head. There was a bridal shower within the month and I needed a gift for that and the wedding. After picking up the sham from them, I zipped over to the quilt shop and bought some fabric, filling in with some from my stash. And over that Easter weekend, I created this wall quilt for Julie and Scott. Of course, I used batting from the bag that Scott had given me. The colors were pulled from the pillow sham (shown in the background of the lower picture, see the photo below for a more realistic version of the bedding colors). The pillows were made from the fabrics in the star. For the green pillows, I backed the pillow front with batting and fabric, then did the embroidery through all three layers to add a little dimension, and then constructed the pillows. Both Julie and Scott were touched by the way that I used Ellen's batting in these pieces, customized to their decor.
I've been lucky to be involved in many of the special events in this family's life. I made the jewelry for the bridesmaids at Julie's wedding and also made the jewelry for the bride and bridesmaids at her son's wedding. And now her son is returning to his wife and their baby boy after a safe tour of duty. I have plans to make the new baby a present, but I don't know when that will get done.
Strangely enough, I think I followed the instructions correctly, but I ended up with two sets of diamonds for the star. So I made one set with green on the inside and purple on the outside and flipped the other ones around so the purple was in the middle. I very often put my projects somewhere I can see them, walk past them, catch a glimpse of them, when I'm trying to make a decision about something. In this case, I brought the two stars to the office and laid them on the sham so I could see which one I thought worked better with the bedding. As it turns out, Melanie, a dear friend and coworker whose daughter scored the doll clothes a while back was offering feedback and mentioned that the colors matched her dining room. So once I decided which one went to Julie and Scott, the other star had a home. Lucky break for me--joy all around!