Thursday, July 18, 2013

A Memorial Quilt Honoring A Memorable Man

One of the first family members I met while dating my future husband was his brother-in-law, Craig.   I felt welcome from the start, thanks in part to his kindness.   He was at my wedding.  He loved his wife, my husband's sister.  He helped thousands of people during his short life.  He loved always. He supported our family in numerous ways through difficult challenges. He loved my children. Craig was a tease, a prankster, and a spiritual giant. He was a pill.  I adored him.

Last July, almost exactly a year ago, cancer took him away from us.  He fought a hard fight with his wife and 3 kids by his side continually, not to mention with the support of countless friends, church members, and extended family.   He is missed every day.

While staying in his home with his wife and daughter after the funeral, a wild idea popped in  my head.  I wanted to make a Memorial Quilt for his wife, Janet.  I wasn't sure how to approach it, but I just did.  I asked her how she'd feel about giving me most of his shirts so that I could make her a quilt. She was immediately for it.  So, away we went, purging closets and drawers.  Her requests were that 1), it be red, 2), that the University of Utah shirts be at the bottom, and 3), that a BYU shirt be in the middle since SHE was a BYU fan, and she was the one left behind.  (The rivalry between those two colleges lived strong in their household).  I came home with a suitcase full of shirts and with hope to make something wonderful.

I'm not going to lie - this quilt was a challenge.  I had  made a t-shirt quilt before, but that one didn't have the weight of sadness with it. Sometimes I just couldn't think about it.  Also,  I had more cotton shirts than t-shirts for Craig's quilt, and I wasn't sure how to use them well.   I pondered, researched online, asked my friend Carrie for help, played with it, put it away, played with it again.  Sigh.  As the months went on, all three of Craig's children got engaged!  I decided that before the third one got married, I would finish the quilt.  So, the last few weeks have been busy!!

I faced many fears with this project.  It had to be beautiful and nearly perfect for  my dear sister-in-law.  This quilt had to be strong for years to come, for children and grandchildren.  No pressure, huh?   I am mathematically challenged sometimes, so when I design a quilt, (which I rarely do), I have to think it through a long time and check and re-check my calculations.  And, I knew that I had to do some free-motion quilting on the t-shirts, which scared me to death.  What if I messed up???   Ugh.  Lots of pressure.  I do this to myself frequently.

I  marched forward - I finished it 2 days before flying to Utah for the third child's wedding!  It would now be my wedding present to Janet, for marrying off all three of her dear children.

The moment of giving the quilt to Janet will forever be in my mind and heart.  She loved it.  She will cherish it, I know.  I hope during those moments when she misses Craig, that she can wrap up in it and feel his large, strong arms around her and feel some comfort while she waits for the eternities.

I love you, Janet.

Now, here are the photos:
 
On the Long-Arm, quilting away
Up close
C and J in the blue 4-patches, which were made out of his button-down shirts



A Stacked- Coin row of strips from his shirts, and the row below it
is a row of his pockets from the same shirts

This is his company logo - notice the right side from top to bottom.... see the cars?
All done and waiting for the Binding!

My dear sister

C and J Forever 


4 comments:

  1. That is one fabulous quilt!

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  2. That was so well written! I loved it all...especially the pictures. What a lucky sister-in-law she has in you :-)

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  3. Hello Janet,
    I have only just seen your blog. I loved the waitalittlewhile title.
    I was completely blown away by your amaziing quilt, and also a little bit tearful. Blessings to your sister and her family and to you and yours, especially to you as love was obviously in each stitch.
    My Father is Mormon, my parents divorced when I was six, as are the rest of my brothers and sister. I love the emphasis put on family and friends, very lacking nowadays.
    I live in England now and do repairs and alterations. I have never had the courage to create such an amazing projects and I love your sewing machine. I have seen them at sewing exhibitions.
    I wish you and yours all the best for the season, Christmas, and look forward to seeing any future projects.
    Katie Keeble - Oxford, England

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    1. Hi, Katie - I am so sorry to say I just now saw your comment! I haven't blogged in a while. Thank you for your thoughts. I have a dear friend who helped me with this quilt. I am sure you could make one as well! Thank you for commenting
      Deon - Wait A Little While (that's from a Kenny Loggins song - have you heard it?

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