If you saw my earlier post, you know that my dear friend M.N. passed on earlier this month. Friends and I have spent a lot of time talking by phone, sharing our memories and our grief. (Sadly, none of M’s close friends live nearby, but luckily we are in touch.) We discussed what we can do to remember M – how we can honor her somehow. Many ideas have occurred to us, from creating a memory book with photos and stories, to establishing a senior scholarship in her name at the high school we attended.
But I also would like to work through this tough time through crafting, somehow. Fortuitously, a close friend of M and me, J, is expecting a baby in the coming weeks, so I thought it would be meaningful to celebrate our joint friendship, and to weave in a memory of M for this new life. I hope J is not reading this right now, so that she’ll be surprised by my idea – SPOILER ALERT – to create a little quilt for her baby-boy-to-be. The theme color will be green – M’s favorite color.
There’s another happy memory embedded in this project. I remember back in the days when I was planning my wedding, J called me and asked me to be a bridesmaid at her own wedding, scheduled within a few days of mine. It was unfortunately impossible for me to travel across the country to her ceremony and to prepare for mine at the same time. I recall how she described to me in tantalizing terms the gorgeous mint green that the bridesmaids would wear. I pictured a fresh shade for her spring nuptials. Even though I missed out due to my own plans, we did reconnect shortly thereafter. It turned out that we’d also planned similar honeymoon trips to Hawaii (great minds think alike) and we were able to meet up with her and her new husband at a restaurant overlooking an amazing hula dance on a Maui beach. It was an unforgettable evening. Here’s a photo I took as the sun set over the beach at Ka’anapali that day.
Now I’m channeling M’s fondness for green and J’s love of mint – as well as our visit to the Hawaiian seashore – in this new quilt. I selected a “Marbles”-line mint green for the sashing and borders for this project (“made in Japan”). It’s a nice marriage between solid and pattern, kind of a dreamy look of cloudy color, and is reminiscent of the Pacific ocean. I’ve added charm squares from Connecting Threads, in their “Seaside” collection. I love charm squares – pre-cut 5 inch-square pieces of fabric – because they eliminate the need for all that slicing and dicing. And their color combos tend to be appealing and easy to work with. Here are some of the squares in action:
I’ve drawn on a pattern created by Elizabeth Hartman, Charm Squares Baby Quilt. I found it online. I’ve also recently bought her book, The Practical Guide to Patchwork, which is just beautiful as an intro to contemporary quilting. Here’s a link to her blog. The pattern just involves cutting 13 of the charm squares in half, and sewing all the squares and half-squares together in rows, then inserting sashing around them. I decided to add borders on the remaining two sides, too, to frame the quilt and make it a little larger. This is the whole quilt top, hanging against my door’s window:
I made this pattern once before – with Provençal-style Moda prints in brilliant yellow, periwinkle, white and black. That one’s hanging over my bed. It cheers me up (there’s nothing like bright yellow and mellow blue put together).
I’ve finished the new baby quilt top and will be layering it with batting and a Kona solid blue as the backing this week. Then I’ll machine quilt it and send it along to the baby, due in early Feb. I hope J’s little boy will cuddle under it – and that I’ll get to meet him someday soon.