Two and a half to three weeks ago, when I made some blocks for the Quilts of Valor block drive, a moment of realization hit me pretty hard. I exercise almost every day at a local gym and over 8 years have become close friends with a woman who used to instruct strength training classes. Almost exactly a year ago, she had to retire early and started the journey of supporting her husband through cancer. Her husband is a veteran, and as I was making the Quilt of Valor blocks, I could not believe I had not suggested they request a quilt for him sooner. And then I could not believe I thought that; why have a complete stranger give my friends a quilt? I could do that. So I reached out and asked if he would be interested in receiving a quilt.
My friend’s husband doesn’t have just any kind of cancer. He has been diagnosed with Pleural Mesothelioma, and after going through a 14 hour surgery last January, the cancer has recetnly returned in a different and harder to treat location; he will be starting chemotherapy soon. Not wanting to wait any longer, I asked my co-hosts Cheryl @Meadow Mist Designs and Stephanie @Late Night Quilter if they though it would be OK if I took the 2016 Paintbrush Studio New Block quilt top I had pieced together, finished the quilt, and gifted it to my friend. As the blocks were meant for charity and I was probably going to donate the quilt to Project Linus, we all agreed that in this case I just happened to know the recipient.
The blocks in the quilt are all available as free online tutorials and were designed and pieced by:
Because I knew I had an opportunity to deliver the quilt on Thursday afternoon before their next oncologist appointment in Los Angeles on Monday, I wanted a quick quilting design that would hold up under heavy use / wash. After talking it over quickly with Renee @Quilts of a Feather, I hit on the idea for something similar to my Star Light Star Dark quilting: dense, industrial, organic straight lines (which are fast to do on my longarm) with occasional free motion quilting motifs. I chose to use stars, wishbones, and hearts to represent his service to our country and the wishes and love I was quilting into the quilt. I used 50wt Aurifil 2021 (Natural White) for the quilting and 50wt Aurifil 2784 (Dark Navy) for the binding.
Paintbrush Studio generously donated their Painter’s Palette solids in the Ocean Sunrise Colors (Midnight, Daydream, White, Peach, Coral, Bordeaux) for the blocks, quilt backing (Daydream), and binding (Midnight).
I used Quilter’s Dream Dream Orient batting, and the quilt statistics are:
- Finished Flimsy: 48.5 x 60.5
- After Quilting and Binding: 48 x 59 (~2.5% shrinkage)
- After First Wash: 44.5 x 55.5 (~8% shrinkage)
He loves the quilt, and I hope he gets as much joy and love from using the quilt as was put into its creation. Thank you so much to everyone involved.