My niece was born just a few days ago on April 2nd. Her parents chose the name Mary Constance, a name rich with meaning… which still gets me all flustered when I speak it aloud. Her first name comes from both of her grandmothers: Mary and Maria. Pictured first is her Dad’s mom, Maria. She’s Mexican, living in Boston temporarily… which means she’s around to help out. She gives very nice, soft, gentle hugs.
Here’s her Mom’s mom, my mother, Mary. She passed away years ago. I like to think that baby Mary got some love from her before she arrived. I know that my mom would just be overjoyed to have a grandchild. Mary’s middle name is also a family name. Her great-grandmother’s late sister was named Constance. I know her only in stories as Connie, my Aunt Lisa’s mother and grandma’s sister. What a wonderful tribute to her memory.
I started a quilt for baby Mary when I came to her baby shower in January. Since Mom and Dad were keeping her name a secret, I had family members write down their guesses for her name. Some of the guesses are pretty funny, like “Top Secret” and “Hey You!” Now that her name has been announced it’s time to work that quilt. It will have Sam Hunter’s paper-pieced letters in the center with her actual name and the hand-written guesses surrounding it.
Ta-da! Here they are, the long awaited photographs of “Estey’s Quilt.” Isn’t it cool? This is both my latest finish and the first of the portrait quilts I’ve made.
It started with a quilt show where I saw some beautiful applique quilts of a tiger’s face. Those quilts had been made from a pattern. My friend knew the perfect book when I mentioned that I’d like to learn how to make quilts like that, but from my own photographs, and to draft my own pattern. Here’s the link to that book on Amazon. It’s Faces and Places by Charlotte Warr Anderson. http://www.amazon.com/Faces-Places-Print-Demand-Edition/dp/1571200002/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1347682166&sr=8-3&keywords=charlotte+warr+anderson. She teaches how to use the shapes and shadows from actual photographs in quilts. Her method is reverse applique by hand. So that’s what I did for this first one. It is also hand quilted entirely by hand… which is why it took so long to make.
I found that I enjoyed this project so much that I wanted to make more… so I experimented with fusible webbing and machine quilting to streamline the process.
So there you have it, the whats and hows. But what are really special to me about this quilt are the whys. See, Estey is my little sister. We’ve pretty much had an up-and-down relationship from day one… when I threw a tantrum that “my baby” wasn’t named Jesus. (She was due around Christmastime, and I was nearly four years old.) Recently I’ve been putting a lot of effort into remembering the good times, and appreciating the woman she is today. That’s what I was focusing on with every hand stitch. The photograph this quilt is based on was taken when she was a toddler, struggling to get out of the stroller at Grandma’s house.
My baby sister is now married and expecting a child of her own. I feel like I’m not articulating this well right now, but I feel even more connected with and happy for her because of the time I put into this project. Plus it’ll be a great happy-expectations gift when I get it in the mail.