Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Remembering Cindy...Part #1: A Life Sparkled with Color

One king-sized denim quilt, one king sized t-shirt quilt, one queen sized pieced shirt quilt, five fleece throws, several teddy bears, pillowcases and a weekend of exhausting joy….

Four years ago, my husband's sister, Cindy was killed in an automobile accident.  Survived by her husband and two young children, Cindy left a legacy of love and kindness for all who knew her.  After her death, Cindy’s sisters helped to move and store her clothing with plans to make quilts for her family when they were able.  Being from a very resourceful family, my sisters-in-law wanted to make something for Cindy's children from her clothing.

While most quilters recognize this practice as the origins of our craft, few of us are really willing to embark on such an adventure.  With all the fabric choices available, we more prefer to take new fabric and carefully select our colors and designs and patterns.  Those who don't quilt but reminisce about how quilting "ought to be" don't always understand this journey.  However, I often find these are the same people who think that it isn't really a quilt unless hand-quilted.  When I go back to beating clothes against a rock rather than using my laundry to get the real experience of washing clothes, I will agree with the nay sayers.  Nonetheless, even those of us who ascribe to modern quilting techniques are pulled strongly to the love of texture and color in clothing.  The clothing people choose is artful and enticing.  The art of pulling together an array of fabrics from worn clothing is quite a feat.  I cannot deny that their enthusiasm and passion for this project propelled Therese and myself to find a way to make sure that they each had as much of a hand in the project as was possible.

The other enchanting component to this project was the process of sorting through Cindy's clothing showed her love for color families.  Cutting through many pairs of denim we were reminded of Cindy's  comfortable demeanor, always putting people at ease.   Her love and care for people was so genuine.  She often dressed her denims with vibrant colored tops that made her blue eyes sparkle even more.  She likely never realized all these things about herself, but we knew.  Aquas, pinks, lavendars, blues and occasional greens made the quilts easy to pull together.

Cindy's daughter's quilt was made with a process of quilt-as-you-go that is a blend of three different techniques.  Her daughter worked with family members to put together shirts in groups of three colors.  She helped to draw a block that was then repeated with the three fabrics in each block.  I'd asked about her favorite colors  and what color(s) she absolutely did not want.  Green was the color of choice and pink was NOT to be in the quilt.  Oddly enough, we pulled together seven fabrics from a Moda collection that were primarily green with some hints of other colors, including pink.  The great thing about green in a quilt like this is that it is a good blender with the other fabrics.  Green, the color of nature, goes with nearly everything.    Like the t-shirt quilt made for her son, all of the fabrics required adhering a fusible woven stabilizer to the back to secure them for piecing.  Then the green fabrics selected served as the sashing and the backing of the quilt.

While all of us extended family sewed diligently on the quilts and projects, it was especially inspiring to experience sewing alongside Cindy's children.  Both pitched in on the project with enthusiasm.  Surrounded by many of their "fun cousins", the kids usually absorb all of their energies in playing with cousins at family events.  I don't think any of us expected to see Cindy's son and daughter sewing for hours on end.  I would venture that they sewed at one point for 4-5 hours straight on Saturday on the denim quilts.  There were other stretches when they helped with building teddy bears and the quilts that were remarkable as well, but their fascination with the process and their diligence was both inspiring and humbling. 

More Remembering Cindy....in my next post......All the Best to You, jill
P.S. for those of you who knew Cindy or were inspired by this message, feel free to share your sentiments.  I will pass them on to the family.

1 comment:

Nancy said...

What a wonderful way to remember Cindy. She was so young... such a loss.