I don't know about all quilters, but I think it's safe to say we make quilts for lots of different reasons: a pattern we want to try, a combination of fabrics we want to see together, the sheer love of seeing how all that piecing comes together. I know I can't stop. There are constant rotating pictures in my mind of various shapes and patterns and color combos - if only there were time to make them all! And of course, we make quilts for other people. People we love - family, friends, new babies, (occasionally even ourselves!...) And sometimes we get to make something really special, for someone we really love, to mark a really important time in their life. We spend months thinking about patterns, agonizing over fabric choices, because this quilt needs to be just right. This is one of those quilts.
My Dad recently retired after teaching New Testament at Seminary for over 40 years. I knew this moment needed to be marked with a special quilt. I wanted to make something that would honor him, represent his legacy of work, be meaningful to him and my mom, and be something useful to them in their home.
Can I brag for just a minute on my Dad? He is one of the greats in my life. He is a highly respected scholar, teacher and speaker, which has led to many travels in the U.S. and abroad. He is the author of countless articles and several books, which have been translated into multiple languages. He's the kind of guy who just knows things. He's like my own personal Google long before that was even a thing. "Hey Dad! We're shopping for a new car...what do you know about Diesel engines?" And he would just spout off a three point lesson on things to consider with a diesel engine - like he had been sitting around just waiting for someone to ask him that very question. He just knows stuff. He can talk about anything, from what makes a tomato an heirloom to why we say "Amen" at the end of a prayer. Do you have someone like this in your life? I hope so...the sheer knowing that I can pick up the phone and call him to discuss anything about life provides an infinite source of comfort and security. And oh how I hope and pray my kids find this in me and my husband.
And he would be the first to say that he could not do what he does without the support of my mom, who is another great in my life. She loves everybody! I mean EVERYBODY! I grew up with a constant example in front of me of what it means to really love other people. To find the good in people, to love their quirkiness, to love in spite of mistakes, to show grace. Her eyes litterally light up when she's talking to you, makes you feel like you matter, that your story is significant. And God bless her, that woman can write you a letter that makes you feel like a million bucks! She's the one that will remember you have a test or a doctor appointment or some big meeting, and she'll call to see how it went. It was through watching her love and serve other people my whole life that influenced me to pursue a profession in Social Work. I wish you could all know her, because she would love up on you and flash that twinkle in her eye as she greeted you with a hug. You would love her!
See why this quilt had to be special?!
Everything about this quilt was carefully chosen: The blue and gold are the colors of the university where my Dad taught. The cross shape represents the calling and practice of their faith, the reason for all the hard work over the years. Since the front had such a strong geometric feel, I wanted the back to be something unexpected. I love this print used on the back from Leah Duncan's Gramercy line, it reminds me of the city streets of Chicago where they live and taught all these years, and the light blue being the color in the Chicago flag was just an added bonus.
Pattern: Ripple by the super talented Anne Marie Chany (The arrows are paper pieced)
Measures: About 61'" x 66" (I made mine a little bigger than the pattern because my Dad is super tall)
Thread: Aurifil for 3/4 of the quilting and 1/4 Gutterman (A thread emergency when you run out of a specific color and there's no time to order more! So thankful for friends who can come to the rescue in a pinch - thank you Nancy (Owen's Olivia) for having the perfect shade of blue that I needed!
Fabric: Blue background is a Michael Miller Cotton Couture, various prints for arrows, and Leah Duncan Gramercy on the back.
I am linking this up with Amy's Creative Side Blogger's Quilt Festival - such a source of inspiration!