February 4, 2019

A wedding quilt for Jeremy

Last fall, I posted about three wedding quilts that I'd completed in the previous months; that post is here. At the end of the post, I wrote this:

All three of the recipients (two brides, one groom) were people who had grown up knowing my son Jeremy, and one of them was an especially good friend.  It was a great delight to be included in these celebrations, each of them thoughtfully put together, permeated with the personality and commitments of each couple. But by the third, all so close together, I couldn't help but feel a deep sadness too, that Jeremy didn't make it to this stage of life. . .  Sitting here thinking about this, it occurs to me that I could still make a wedding quilt for Jeremy, imagining what he might like. I think his favorite color would still be blue.

So, in the last couple of months, I've begun working on a wedding quilt for Jeremy. For readers who don't know, Jeremy died in 2004 at age 18; he would be 33 now.  It's been almost three years since I've worked on a project that is connected to Jeremy (not since my exhibition in 2016); I am glad to once again be working on a project with the strong emotional component of a tie to Jeremy. It keeps him close to me.

Here's the design process so far. I'm thinking of something that would draw on three earlier quilts, "Confetti," which was made a couple of years ago as a wedding present for a friend, "Loss," which was the first quilt in my series about losing Jeremy, made in 2005-08, and "Log Cabin," made in 2004 and intended for Jeremy to bring with him to college.  I'm thinking of using the basic design of "Confetti," but switching the background to a range of deep/dark blues.

Back in December, I dyed up a range of blues. I aimed for highly saturated blues. In 2004, Jeremy chose blue as the main color for the log cabin quilt, but after I worked up a couple of sample blocks, he said, "Mom, those aren't blue." Well, right, they were a grayish blue, so I went out and bought more fabric with less gray!  For the wedding quilt, I dyed 25 different blues in all; these ten made the cut:

For the accent colors, I started thinking about the colors I used in the panel of "Loss," which was an abstract portrait of Jeremy.
Loss, detail

I went through my scrap bins and ironed pieces that seemed good possibilities.

Then I cut out small pieces and laid them on some roughly cut pieces of blue, making a maquette of a block, about 9x12" (this is not sewn):

Then I tried triangles, a dominant shape in the "Loss" panel; I like rectangles better:

Then I tried all solids:

I like the solids.  Then I thought I'd see what all blues looked like:

Very different emotion conveyed, not what I want for a wedding quilt.  Then I looked closely at a favorite remnant from fabrics I used for "Log Cabin":

What if I used ribbon shapes rather than rectangles, and limited the colors as in this fabric?

No, rectangles better:  

But more colors needed--turquoise and gold added in:

But maybe even more colors? I think yes:

How about adding in some black also? Yes:

So, I put away the bins of scraps of print fabrics, snipped rectangles from my hand-dyes, and started sewing (block on right is 10" high):  

Yes, I think this is a good start.


  1. What a captivating post. It read like the story it was. I really love the sample block. Looking forward to watching this special quilt unfold.

  2. Hi Penny,
    Wow, this is going to be the most beautiful quilt! I love all the dyed blues you did and adding in the splashes of color like in the above blocks pull it all together. I can't wait to see it finished. I think Jeremy would have loved it.

  3. Penny - Thanks for sharing your thought process on what colors and shapes to use for this special quilt. I'm excited about seeing more about your journey with this quilt!

  4. What a wonderful way to make another piece while thinking about Jeremy.
    Your new studio space looks inviting, too.