Tuesday, 8 October 2013

A quilt for our friend

This is a post a long time coming and a long time in the making. Today the final chapter of this quilt's journey was written, so I can now write about it.

 I will start with what I was telling my friend today about how I see quilts and why I love quilting.  Quilting for me is not just about the creative process although of course this does play a large part.  Quilting for me is also something I can escape to when I need comfort.  She bakes, I quilt.  It is a therapeutic and meditative process.  Quilts also represent care, love and comfort to me.  They wrap us up and keep us warm and cherished.  The love with which they are made preserves us.  When I made my son's first quilt before he was even born, it wasn't just a decorative item, it was a hug to my unborn child.  Quilts are loaded with history, with nurturing, cooperation and community.

Our little community lost a dear friend to cancer last year.  I didn't know him like others did but a series of events brought me to our friend, his wife at the hospital where he was staying towards the end.  It was circumstance that I met with her there that day but it left a lasting impression on me.  Apart from our conversations that Winter afternoon and the stunning view over the bay from the lounge where we sat, the thing that struck me most were the quilts.  There were quilts on the walls and there were quilts on the beds in the palliative ward.  It was beautiful, colourful and homely.  

When he died I wanted to do something.  I wanted to quilt.  Moreover, I wanted to make a quilt for this amazing place and the amazing people in it, in memory of this man.

So I made this quilt.  The centre was made from jelly rolls (2 1/2" strips) of Tula Pink's "The Birds and The Bees" range.  I had wanted to choose fabrics that contained little nods to the couple and their relationship.  Ladybird motifs had been requested by his wife where possible and this line had it all.  The ladybirds,  the specific colour green we all associate with her, the natural, Darwinian and 19th century organic motifs they both loved, geometric shapes that reminded her of his passion for games and computers...and of course the colours were vibrant, warm and would appeal to both men and women.

I made a simple fence and rail design, not wanting to overcomplicate such amazingly detailed fabrics and bordered and backed it with Anna Maria Horner fabric from her "Innocent Crush" series.  The scale of her designs just worked with the size of the quilt and as a foil to the intricate detail of the central fabric.

The binding is the ladybird fabric in the blue and purple line so there are little ladybirds running around the outside of the quilt.

I had it professionally quilted to ensure it was well bedded down and ready for many, many washes and some constant wear and love.  

Today the two of us delivered this quilt to its final home at in the hospital's palliative care ward.  When the nurses placed it on the bed in a spare room it looked like it had always been there.  Warm, welcoming and full of comfort.  The little room came to life and the quilt looked like it had found its purpose in life.  I hope it brings peace and warmth to many who need it.


  1. A beautiful quilt and a beautiful memoriam Kate...

  2. I know who it commemorates and I think he'd think it was wonderful.