Monday, September 2, 2013

THE Quilt

You guys!  What on earth?!  How is it possible it's been months - MONTHS! - since I have last been on this blog?  How can that be?  Summer - ahh, summer - it has lingered, and lingered, and clung for ever-lovin' mercy to our doorstep.  We have had a ton of fun, aaaaaaannnnnd, we are ready to all be back in school.  It's time.  Mama needs to sew ;).

OK. I have been itching to share this quilt with you.  THE quilt.  This quilt was made by my sweet friends in That Stash Bee.  April was my month to be queen bee and I knew for a while what I wanted to ask for.  I wanted to make a quilt for my dear friend Claudia and her family as they endure the loss of Michael.  I knew I wanted to make them something to cuddle up in, that would provide some comfort, maybe even some cheer during some dark times.  Since the first quilt I ever made was for them, with the embroidered words Faith, Hope and Love, I thought it was the perfect time to revisit those words.  Gentle reminders of some important things, and my constant prayers for them.  So, I asked my bee mates for colorful stars (whichever stars they wanted to make) and if anyone was up for a challenge, a pieced letter/word to make up those three words.

 Well, my friends blew me away with their generosity and creativity!  Honestly, I was thinking if a few people did a letter - one letter! - it would help me out, so I was stunned when several of these gorgeous pieced words popped up.  And the stars!  So many varying shapes and sizes - literally every single block that came my way was absolutely perfect and just what this quilt needed.

This is the back - in my mind, just as great as the front.  I pieced that LOVE banner as my starter for the quilt.

We were traveling to see them over the summer and I was strongly hoping I would have the quilt done to give them in person.  The members of this bee, in addition to being wildly talented, are very diligent and reliable.  Thanks to them, I was able to finish in time for our trip - hand-stitching the binding on during the car ride up.  

Being able to share this gift in person was such a special moment.  Our friends are living moment to moment every day missing their son, and the first thing Claudia said as she opened it with tears in her eyes was how much Michael would have loved it because of all the colors.  I enjoyed sharing how this quilt was a collective effort made by a group of people, and as we poured over every inch, we discovered several special touches.  Like on this giant star made by Kelsey - one of the fabrics had dates on it including the year Michael was born.  

 And on this little star made by my friend Nicole, a bird - one of Michael's favorite things.  Several of the blocks had fabrics that had a bird of some kind on it - I had never shared their significance with the group.  Another example was deer fabric, and Michael loved hunting with his Daddy.  So many small reminders, rich with significance.
 I am in deep gratitude to my friends in That Stash Bee for helping me to create such a meaningful gift:

I am thankful to count you among my friends - it is an honor to sew with you all.


  1. How wonderful! Such a fitting gift. I am sure they loved it.

  2. OMGoodness. This quilt brought tears to my eyes - what a wonderful, thoughtful, lovely gift. The significance of the pieces of fabric that your bee mates choose unknowingly is awe inspiring - I love how this all came together. This is one of my all time favourite quilts! Thank you so much for sharing your story. My thoughts and strength to your friends for their loss.

  3. Oh, Valerie, what a blessing. Thank you SO much for sharing this!!

  4. A very touching writeup. Thanks so much for putting everything into perspective for me today!

  5. Beautiful, colorful quilt... Perfect to celebrate a life and bring comfort

  6. Aww, what a gorgeous quilt, perfect memorial for your friends.

  7. Simply amazing. It is a gorgeous quilt and I am sure it will give much needed comfort. What a sweet friend you are, and what a touching gift. Beautiful blocks from your friends. Just so special! Lovely!

  8. A beautiful quilt and a beautifully written post to go with it.

  9. What a comforting and wonderful gift! I like the little happy accidents than can often occur when we create

  10. What a special gift! It was my honor to be a part of it. Thanks for entrusting us with it. It came together beautifully and turned out to be a nice tribute to Michael with the meaningful details that we didn't even know would be meaningful. I just thought the bird was cute and the perfect size for the center!

  11. What a touching and beautiful gift you've given your friends. And the people in your bee are outstanding! What love and support they've shown you. I'm glad you were able to bring the quilt to Claudia and her family when you visited this summer. <3

  12. I really "feel" for this quilt and all that went into its creation.

    In 2014 after I thought I had lost every parent, in-law and former parent and all this death was behind me, with the exception of my son from a previous marriage who had "early onset severe Crohn's disease" at age 12.

    I was in S.Dakota in the winter of 2014 and my husbands co-worker was seriously ill and I seemed to be the only one who could see it and understand the issue as well as sitting helplessly after he had a nose bleed walking in the door from the hospital and knowing that the clot in his heart had dislodged and he would shortly stroke out as the clot hit his brain and neither he nor his wife had a clue. It was a very, very rural area that served 5 Native Americans/First Americans/and whatever is politically correct at a hospital that would not and in all honesty didn't have the personnel to treat him. I thought it a bit ironic that he went there to work at the hospital (as did my husband) to help Native Americans and both of them were treated like dirt by the very people they were trying to help. The same night he passed away and his wife was in serious shock, I got an email from one of my dearest friends letting me know (very peacefully) that she had found out that she had stage 4 cancer and enclosed as much info as she currently had for me to read. I had never read a more clearly worded, no hope, no faith and no love death decree. If what I was reading was accurate (from several doctor's and a ton of scans, tests, etc.) she never had a chance. The man that had died in my arms 14 hours earlier was 54 with his first grandchild due any day. My female friend with cancer was under 45 and had 3 girls under 12 and 2 more that were 2+ years away from H.S. Graduation. Fortunately she had a devoted, loving husband and family all around, but I needed a quilt just like yours for that person! In fact the last 2 that passed away too young would have treasured a quilt like the one you put together.

    I have witnessed medical miracles in my life. I am a medical miracle myself but unfortunately I knew those last 2 deaths were meant to be. I would have felt soooo much better if I had had a quilt like yours to at least give them. Up until then I had favored flannel quilts because they were warmer and the feel of good quality, light weight flannel seemed to be more comforting than the more stiffer, 100% good quality quilting material (even if I washed it over and over to soften it up). You really would help many people by publishing a pattern for it! (but that is just the start, you had a lot of different choices and made a masterpiece).

    You did something wonderful and beautiful as well as incorporating Hope, Faith & Love written on it for the world and your friend to see. Thank you for sharing your story. I may be crying right now, but they are good tears and now I need to find or make my own pattern and make some up "just in case".

    May you always have such good friends as you were to your friend(s).