During the past year I have made quilts for four members of a family who lost their oldest son about seven years ago. He was a grown man who loved life, loved the water, was a surfer, and was beloved by his parents, two brothers and a sister. Only recently have I made the final quilt, one for his mother, which is shown above.
Below are the four quilts I made for his sister, both brothers and his father:
His apparent love of surfing is evident in his favorite shirt, shown in the middle block. The rest of the blocks are fabric creations from photos of Ben and Alysia (The one in the top middle row is of the entire family). In the lower left hand corner is a rendition of a cherished photo of Ben at age 13 dressed in a woman’s dress.
Jesse’s quilt is a combination t-shirt quilt and traditional quilt with blocks in a “Snail Trail” pattern, which I think looks like a breaking surf. The corner fabrics were taken from his colorful polyester shorts. The family crest is in the bottom middle block.
Tim’s quilt features a mariner’s star centered with the family crest and bounded by four of his favorite t-shirts. The border is made up of scraps from his colorful shorts.
Dad’s quilt is testament to Ben’s lovely mother Cathie’s generous spirit. I started out making this quilt for Alysia, but it wasn’t working out. I was going to scrap it, but Cathie insisted on my adapting it for her husband. The inner plaque contains words that Ben once wrote about his dad: “If I can only be half of what Dad was I will be happy with myself. I wish that I was him or that someday could be just like him. Dad is my hero.”
When it was Cathie’s turn at last for her quilt to be made, she looked at all the quilts and took her most favorite items from them. So hers ended up with the mariner’s star (Cathie is also a water lover), lots of surfer blocks made with Ben’s colorful Hawaiian shirts, lots of logos and mementos along the sides and favorite fabric photos along the bottom. In the center at the bottom is Ben’s birth announcement, which is priceless:
Along the top is a 2-inch strip of Ben’s baby blanket, well worn.
In the center of the Mariner’s Star is a portion of his christening outfit, a sweet white 2-sweater outfit.
This quilt now resides on the top of Cathie and John’s bed.