Last week, I went to go visit my friend Flora in Vermont. We have known each other like, forever. Long enough that if our friendship were a person, it would be close to starting middle school (which, in the scheme of adult friendships, is not that long I suppose, but it feels amazing that it’s been that long since second year of university). She moved back to the States a couple of years ago, but we’ve stayed close through Skype & occasional visits.
I knew that when I made the the trek to visit her, I wanted to do something special for it. Flora is a really tough person, but she had a heck of a 2014. There was a lot of life stuff that, as her friend, I couldn’t really fix.
But I can make stuff.
So, I made her a quilt.
This has been a good six months of scheming in the making, and it has been so hard to keep it mostly off of social media. (Not that I worried she would know I was making a quilt for her, but I wanted it to be a surprise.) I started browsing for fabrics once I got the idea on the fall, and ended up deciding on a collection of really cutesy, silly Japanese prints that made me think of her, with some more grown-up fabrics to balance things out.
I chose Donuts! as a pattern, for a couple of reasons – one, I’ve made it before, and two, it’s a really simple pattern that shows off special fat quarters nicely. It also lends itself to remaking – it’s really fun. I sort of want to make another one for myself.
All the fabric arrived in late November, and I started cutting & piecing in January.
I had plans to quilt this on my machine, but I’ve never done that before, and wasn’t sure I’d have time to quilt it twice if I made a mistake. So I handquilted using big, sashiko-style stitches – around each donut & center, double lines in the sashing at the top and bottom, and then a grid between donuts. It took about a month and a half to get done, but most of that was not dedicated work – in terms of actual quilting hours, I probably could have finished quilting and binding in a week if I’d focused only on this project.
I just finished before I was supposed to leave – I sewed the last of the binding on Thursday, and my flight left on the Saturday – and gave it to her on the weekend.
This is not a quilt that is technically perfect, but it’s a good quilt, and it’s a snuggly quilt, and it’s got a lot of love in it. Looking at it in these photos (I photographed it straight out of the dryer, before tossing it immediately in my suitcase as I was leaving the next day) I can see lots of stuff that I wish looked neater. But it’s a well made piece, and I trust my handquilting to hold up and keep everything where it’s supposed to be, and the technical stuff isn’t what’s important for this sort of quilt. The important thing about this quilt is showing my friend that I care about her, and I want her to stay warm, and that I picked out these prints that made me think of her so that she can think of me when she uses it. And on those terms, it’s absolutely a success.
She started using it right away, and I’m so happy to have made it for her and given it away. I know it’s where it’s supposed to be, and I hope it’ll keep her warm.