I made it for the daughter of a friend, who lives far away, and though our lives intersected in the same city for only a couple years, she made an important impact on my life -- in fact one that she had no idea about at the time. We attended the same middle school for two years, and then we both moved away before high school began. Though we were in classes together during that fleeting time, we didn't "hang out" after school or anything like that. But I found her entire presence inspiring. Okay, I realize this sounds very strange. But I remember tiny details like the binders she used, and her hand-writing -- always in pencil -- and I so admired the way she was nice to everyone, never trying to be cool or put on airs to anyone else. She was confident, solitary.
When I moved away and began high school with an entirely new set of peers, and began the loneliest and angriest year of my life, I sought to be like her, or at least the way I perceived her. And I think it worked, because I no longer cared to be "cool" for anyone; I was certainly always a nerd, in fact. Never one to really want to go to parties anyway. I was content driving to Macon alone to read books and magazines in Barnes & Noble on a Friday night. And I was nice to every single person in high school, perceived social pariahs included. It's why I felt so strongly to run for student body president my senior year, the inaugural year of student council at our school: because I didn't want one more friggin' popularity contest, and I felt like enough people knew and respected me that they would vote for me over the bitchy girls in my grade. And I was totally right. I loved that people who were not "popular" got so excited about my campaign, as if they could finally feel good about a student-voted position in the school's list of students who mattered. I'm just trying to give an example here, but what I really mean is that the way I am now, through pretty awful high school years, has shaped the way I am as an adult, and the confidence to remain my own person in the face of The American High School Experience can be traced directly back to one middle school classmate who inspired me with her confidence. It never seemed like she needed the approval of others to be happy, and as a confused 13-and-14-year-old, that was what I so wanted myself. That's what I embraced when I moved, and she's responsible for inspiring me. Simple as that.
I've never seen her since. But we have in the last few years become friends again via social media. So I guess you can say we are back in touch, in a way. This past fall, as I've been having a pretty rough time in the job market, she took time out of her already busy life (kid number two was impending, to boot) to help me with my cover letter and resume. She went above and beyond for me, and I really value the investment of time she made to help out someone thousands of miles away when she had plenty of other things on her plate.
And there's not a lot of ways I can thank her, being low on money, but I have my quilting skills. Since her daughter was to be arriving sometime around early December, a baby quilt was the natural gift. Alma Zoe arrived on November 24, and I believe the finished quilt arrived with not a week to spare beforehand.
It is based on a quilt I'd pinned on Pinterest, but I made up the pattern myself, going off of that image. I love triangles in quilting anyway -- but across the entire quilt, it can be a bit busy, and has been done many times before. I was drawn to this particular use of triangles, in a hexagon pattern, across only one part of the quilt, giving your eye a rest with the simple solid on either side.
And I purposely used a darker Kona Ash grey, instead of my regular creams, whites, and beiges, because it's for a baby, and babies make messes with food, split-up, poop, and any manner of matter they can get their grubster hands on. My favorite part of quilts as my art form is that, at their core, they are essential tools of warmth, and they serve a functional purpose. But they are also art. So it is important to me that anything I create also not be treated as too precious; it exists to be used.
Alma's quilt came together quite quickly -- that's probably the most joyous part of making a baby quilt, the nearly-instant gratification compared to the larger beasts I usually assign myself. And every minute of thought and energy put into it was of pure love for a beautiful family, that I admire for many reasons.