(Cocoa Beach, FL, c. 1964) Frothy waves and gentle currents push me along until I emerge on the shore like a small sand crab, happily drenched and sand encrusted. At a distance I see my watchful, worried mother summoning me to return. She greets me with a colorful beach towel–wrapping it around my entire body–until I dash for the ocean once again.
Creativity for me is like an adventure I feel compelled to take without knowing where it will lead.
This particular adventure starts with my longing to make quilts for Ellie and Willow, my “nieces” I’ll call them (rather than digress into our family genealogy). With intel from their mother about the girls’ favorite colors, I get started. A geo-floral charm pack of bright pinks, greens, and blues in a four-patch pattern form the main element of Ellie’s very pink quilt. Squares of dreamy lavender, soft green, white, and purple polka dots create a playful patchwork for Willow’s “Irish quilt” as my son would later call it.
While I keep the piecing simple–reminiscent of vintage quilts–I let my imagination run wild with my free-motion quilting. It is great fun and allows me to practice some new techniques and ruler work. I even include the girls’ names.
As the quilts come together so does the unexpected opportunity to give the quilts to the girls in person. My sisters and I join our extended family at their picturesque cottage on Lake Erie, where each evening begins with a convening of neighbors at the water’s edge to watch the sunset.
With everyone assembled, I present the quilts to a chorus of oohs and ahs. Later that day, little Willow asks, “Why did you make me a quilt?” “Because I love you,” I reply. “I love you, too,” she says. Cue my heart melt!
What started as my desire to make quilts for my nieces led me on a creative journey that brought our family members together again, across miles and generations, to share precious memories and to create new ones.
Now, nearly one year later, I think of cool summer nights at the cottage and imagine Ellie and Willow snuggled under their quilts, wrapped in love.