I'd like to share with you an article I wrote for Pat Winter's Winter Edition of Crazy Quilt Gatherings magazine. If you have yet to purchase one of the many editions, you are certainly missing out on a real treasure. Pat's magazine is always filled with fabulous tips, beautiful crazy quilting eye candy from around the world and wonderful stories. This magazine can be ordered via McCloud as well as all of the back issues - usually takes about a week for delivery.
For the Winter edition I submitted pictures and a short story about the pillow I had made for my friend Angela. (Page 39) For those of you who don't Crazy Quilt and might have missed it, here is a copy of my story and a few pictures.
Clare Elizabeth Morris
In Memory of Clare
I love to Crazy Quilt. Plain and simple. I love to talk. Plain and simple. But when it comes to telling someone how terribly sorry I am for a loss of someone close, I have always been stumped for words. Saying “sorry” just never seemed quite enough.
Last year my friend Angela, who I met through the HGTV Quilting Forum and have had the pleasure of meeting at a couple quilting retreats, lost her daughter Clare to a terrible accident. Yes, I sent her a condolence card but somehow it just wasn’t enough. Angela lives in CO, a long ride from MA so it wasn’t like I could just jump in the car and drive out to give her give her a hug. So, without much thought, I knew I had to make her something that would express my heartfelt sympathies to her as a mother and as a friend.
Being friends with Angela’s mother, I contact Mary and told her what I had in mind. Mary got busy and collected a few items for me that belonged to Clare. She sent me a pair of her favorite earrings and also a necklace and some fabric from some of Clare’s favorite clothing and a few pictures of Clare and her mother.
I started this pillow out by printing out the pictures – one of Clare and one of her mother and her together. Seeing that the fabrics were all sort of “girly girl” I pulled out some threads, ribbon and dyed laces and began stitching. I have to admit during the course of putting this pillow together I shed quite a few tears. Tears for the loss of such a young, vibrant and beautiful girl and tears for the heartache I felt for her mother and father’s loss.
I could tell by the smile on her face and the twinkle in her eye that Clare was a lover of life. I was right. Angela has since sent me a letter telling me about her beautiful daughter and I would like to share some of it.
Clare Elizabeth Morris was just 20 years young when she passed away on May 27, 2011. Clare was a confident young woman who knew her own mind. She was not afraid to stand up for herself and others. She was vibrant, enthusiastic, and wanted justice for all. Many people believed she would change the world. After graduating from High School, Clare attended Arizona State University (ASU), majoring in justice studies while pursuing minors in women’s studies and global health and working towards a certificate in religious studies. Unfortunately, Clare was in a fatal accident during the Memorial Day weekend following her junior year at ASU.
One of the most touching things Angela said to me after receiving the pillow was:
“I have been looking at it and hugging it close for the last 15 minutes. I cannot thank you enough. It is beautiful, just like my Clare. And I thank you so much for putting a picture of me with her on it. It means soooooooo much. I noticed the earring charms right away. They mean "best friend". She gave a pair to her best friend back in 4th grade. Little Alex was Clare's first real friend and made a difference in her life. She didn't have a close friend up until then and Alex's friendship helped her believe in herself and others”.
Crazy Quilting has become more than just picking out fabrics and trying to come up with a way to incorporate all the things I love to play with – beads, ribbon and lace but a way to express not only what I feel inside but what a small item, like the earrings in Clare’s pillow, might mean to someone. Next time you are working on a project, pick out an item that you’ve been holding on to, something that has meaning and sew it down….. it’ll make your heart sing and just maybe, someone else's.