People meet, fall in love and get married. Traditionally, this is usually a long drawn out process. Time spent dating, being engaged, planning the wedding. I dated my husband for six years before we decided to tie the knot. We were not rushing to get married.
After we finished college we moved in together (although we did share a dorm room for two years). It was during the time in our little cottage that I made my first of many quilts. Pieced and quilted by hand while sitting in front of the woodstove. Slowly, as the seasons changed, the quilt was finished and I dedicated it to my true love.
This summer we had the privilege of attending the wedding of my brother-in-law Bobby and his girlfriend Sarah. They had the most beautiful wedding on a Brooklyn pier over looking the Statue of Liberty. After the wedding they flew off for a romantic honeymoon in Tanzania.
I never know what to give people as a gift for their wedding. I knew I wanted to give Bobby and Sarah something meaningful from our family to theirs. I wanted this gift to represent something relevant to their lives. I wanted our whole family to be able to participate in constructing this gift, which can be a challenge when you have young children. Lastly, It had to reflect upon my creativity as a fiber artist.
My husband searched the web and found a beautiful piece of east African fabric, known as a Kanga. It was hand printed in Tanzania and would be perfect for the front of a quilt. It was printed with a saying “Mungu Ndiye Kimbilio Letu” which means god is our refuge. I picked out coordinating fabrics and set out with an open mind and a creative heart. In order to include my children in this process, we decided that a freeform quilt would be most engaging. One child would sew, the other clip threads, and I would iron, pin and cut. We pieced strips and cut them up again. Occasionally, we held up the pieces and inspected the visual balance. When the backing was done, I met up with a good friend Mary Eddy of the Jelly Bean Quilter and she quilted all the layers together. Before having kids, I would have quilted by hand, but that free time is long gone. I bound the quilt and embroidered an inscription.
All the members of our family contributed to this gift for a brother and new sister that are truly cherished. Time and hard work went into this quilt just like cultivating a loving relationship. We hope that this quilt will remind them of their wonderful honeymoon and keep them warm and snuggly together, forever.