Snips and Snails
This placeholder has been here long enough that I think I'm safe rewriting it and being more explicit about the details of this quilt. Believe me when I say that keeping this under wraps has been making me crazy, and I've wanted to talk about it -- wanted! wanted!
Annie is a co-worker of mine. Annie is also one of the nicest, sweetest, and most decent people you'll ever meet. She's a pleasure to take a lunch with, and a day-brightener whenever you run into her in the hallway.
Annie's mother, Helen, was also a co-worker of mine until her death from cancer in 2008. One of our branches sponsors a Fun Run every year in her name:
When Annie announced she was pregnant, there was no question. An email went out shortly afterward:
Sarah is helping me be sneaky by getting in touch with Annie's family and procuring something of Helen's we can incorporate into the quilt, but the rest is totally up to me. I'm trying to keep this email to people whom I know have a long personal history with Annie, so that the quilt's really personal.
I got back a slew of contributions, both financial and fabric. I had enough to immediately order a perfect backing, enough to cover purchasing batting, and plenty of fabric. So much so that I realized I'd have enough to do a twin-size quilt AND a baby blanket. (If I'd opened up the contributions to the staff at large, Annie would never need another quilt for the rest of her life.)
I expected fabrics like these:
but was thrown by the color and scale of these:
So ... I waited. I thought about the pattern, but realized there was nothing I could do until I found out whether or not I could get an item of Helen's to incorporate in the quilt. I could do the quilt without such an item included but it wouldn't have nearly the amount of meaning. Then, one day, this arrived in a plastic bag on my desk:
By the time I was done, I had unpicked almost every seam in the shirt and turned it into
Tenzing was, as always, helpful.
As of May 19, I have the first quilt top done. I chose to do a pattern based on 4" finished squares, so the quilt has 2", 4", and 8" squares. I also made two checkerboard 8" pieces comprised of 1" squares and 1" half-square triangles from all of the fabrics in the quilt. The original of this photo on flickr has a few notes about some of the Easter eggs I left in the quilt top:
Annie doesn't know yet. I'm having to be exceptionally careful to ensure that nothing gets reposted to Facebook, because she and I are friends there. She's going to laugh when she finds out in a week or so that yes, I really have been ducking her, but I swear I had the best of intentions.
Sarah and I intend to give her the quilt privately. We're not going to make a big show of it, like we did for 'star stories' for Lexie a year ago. The joy of impending parenthood aside, I'm aware that Annie misses her mom desperately right now, and wishes she had her here in the days leading up to her son's ... Helen's grandson's ... birth.
The lesson, I think, is if you spend your lifetime being a decent, kind, and delightful person, sometimes the world finds a way to pay you back in ways you don't expect.
Update, October 2011:
Shortly before leaving the library, I was able to get straight-on photos of the two quilts (the baby-size and the twin-size) and thought they'd be appropriate to add in. The larger quilt is shown at the top of the page, and this is the finished baby-sized quilt: