Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Reveal: The Christmas Commission


I was asked several months ago by good friend Devin to take his daughter's t-shirts and make a quilt with them. Now I've made a lot of t-shirt quilts, and this one would be just another of the same - except that it wouldn't be the same. You see, his daughter is Alexis, my former student who died of cancer in February of 2013. Sharon and I made a flannel quilt for her during her illness, which you can read about here.

And just this year, that flannel quilt needed some mending as Heather, Devin's wife and Alexis's mother, had been using it since Alexis's passing. What was meant to provide comfort to Alexis during her cancer treatments has ended up providing comfort to Heather in the wake of her daughter's death.

One of the blocks; my personal favorite; her sweet smile.
So this wasn't just any t-shirt quilt. No, indeed. Over the course of a 30-year teaching career, a handful of students stand out for one reason or another. Probably because she was such an avid reader, Alexis and I just clicked. And our friendship lasted beyond her freshman year when I had her in my class; we remained close afterwards as she was a moving force for a little literary club we formed.

Alexis was quite active in high school and had such a varied support group through her illness, that t-shirts were plentiful. I ended up making a quilt with 25 blocks - a genuine whopper, I tell you. I reduced the width of the sashing strips to keep the size manageable, and used smaller borders, too, but it still ended up ginormous.

Heather with her beaming smile displays her new quilt.
A high school t-shirt - '08 Homecoming.
And now that both Devin and Heather (did I mention that they were both my students, too, back in the '80s?) have opened the Christmas gift, I have been given the all-clear to share it here. Devin requested the quilt as a gift he planned to give to Heather for Christmas. This commission took an unusual twist, though, because he wanted to be surprised on Christmas, too. Really, the only questions I asked him during the making of this quilt is what color should I use for borders, sashing and backing. The answer was orange, obviously, which works great. When I handed off the quilt to them, I had it pretty-well wrapped in a gift bag with tissue paper all around. They saved it for Christmas and opened it together. His texts to me as well as his Facebook and Instagram posts have been so sweet. They really love the quilt and that makes me so very happy. I admit that I had teary eyes more than once during the months I worked on this, and even this week as I heard from Devin.



All along, I was very careful not to post any telling pictures, but I did drop occasional hints. Here are a few pics I posted related to this project.


Devin and Heather, it was an honor to be asked to make this quilt for you. You know how special Alexis was to me; few students have the special spark that she had. She will always occupy a special place in my heart.

Happy Quilting, Friends!

1 comment:

sewyouquilt2 said...

what a beautiful quilt to celebrate a beautiful life. great job!