While packing up to move, I discovered 20 unfinished projects in my sewing room. Setting myself a goal of one year, I am working to see how many of these 20 Projects I can complete.
I have this friend. Her name is Stephanie, but sometimes I just call her "Bestie". We've been friends for over 20 years now.
When I met Stephanie, I was single and in my early 20's. She visited my dad's church one day. I'll be completely honest here. My first thought when I saw her? "Great. She's gorgeous." Well, you see, I was interested in a particular guy at our church, and I figured I didn't have a chance with him if she was around. Please don't judge me too harshly! Stephanie and I laugh about it now. But that's what besties do...they laugh together about first impressions and funny memories and inside jokes. They laugh A LOT.
Stephanie and I didn't really know each other very well for quite some time. Autumn would appear on the calendar, and with autumn came Christmas Choir rehearsals. We were both sopranos, and with another dear lady named Laurie, we made up the First Soprano section, which meant we sat together for every rehearsal. We clicked. And talked. And laughed. But very quietly, so that we wouldn't be called down by our music director. Then, after our choir performances were over every December, we didn't see each other as often. But we always had Christmas Choir. Every year.
Eventually, I got a job working as a hostess in the same restaurant where Stephanie and her fiance' were working as waitstaff. So, then we bonded over Mexican food at Pappasito's. (Chips and Queso, Beef and Chicken Fajitas with flour tortillas and Brochette Shrimp with extra Mantequilla on the side, and a Capriotata or a Cajeta for dessert. Oh, Tex-Mex, how I love thee.)
We went on women's retreats together, had roles in each other's weddings, took each other meals after our babies were born. We swapped recipes and decorated cupcakes together. We became two of the original Texas Girlfriends. She sang Paddy McGinty's Goat to me in her best Irish brogue over the phone one day after I moved to Colorado, and we had a good, big laugh.
"Now Paddy McGinty, an Irish man of note,
Fell into a fortune and bought himself a goat.
Said he to himself, "Of milk I'll have me fill!"
But when he got it home, he found the nanny was a bill!"
We got along famously, but it took some certain circumstances arising in my life to discover that this warm, caring, kind, giving girl with a hilarious sense of humor was, above all, the epitome of a True Friend. The kind of friend that is still standing there next to you after the tears have been cried, after the dust has settled, and when the healing begins.
We spent a lot of hours on the phone during those days. We shared our stories, laughed and cried. We have prayed for each other, held each other up, and challenged each other when needed. And one Christmas I decided that Stephanie should have a quilt. After all, she was the one who introduced me to this guy named John that I know. (Remind me to tell you some time.)
I chose the Moda fabric line Glace' from 3 Sisters, because the collection included fabrics in Stephanie's favorite colors. The colors are rich and vibrant, but I had a hard time conveying that in most of my photographs.
The line was almost completely sold out everywhere, but I was able to find two Moda Honey Buns and some yardage on etsy.com, and then found this video tutorial on YouTube by searching for Honey Bun quilt patterns. "Summer in the Park" was my favorite. (You can make it with Jelly Rolls, too!)
I had the quilt top finished just in time for Christmas that year and took it with me to meet Steph at our usual spot: Barnes & Noble where we would browse and browse (mainly cookbook titles) with a drink from Starbucks in hand and then sit in a quiet corner and get caught up with each other on all the latest happenings in life. We exchanged Christmas gifts. She gave me a Duran Duran cd, among other things. (Besties know what Besties like). I showed her the quilt top and then had to take it back to finish it. That was two Christmases ago. That is how this quilt came to be included in my "20 Projects".
With the quilt top finished, all that was needed was the backing, borders, quilting, and binding. For the backing, I designed a large quilt block of sorts to be the focal point: a four-leaf clover made up of appliqued hearts to celebrate our Irish heritage, (something we both proudly share. See Paddy McGinty's Goat above.) bordered by strips of fabric left over from the quilt top. I then added three more hearts to the backing.
I bordered and bound the quilt with two of the fabrics from the Glace' line, which just happened to be fabrics in Stephanie's favorite colors.
I choose to quilt with a simple straight-line quilting to echo the geometric pattern of the quilt top.
I forgot to label. (I always forget to label!) If I could go back and label, I would label it "Quilt for a Bestie".
After bordering and quilting and binding "Project 6" up, I folded it up and mailed it off to Texas, so that a Sweet Friend can unfold it and wrap it around herself in a big hug whenever she needs to know that if certain circumstances ever arise, this Bestie here in Colorado will always be here standing after the tears have been cried, after the dust has settled, and when the healing begins.