Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A Quilt From The Heart ~ Choose Joy

Jo suggested I link in with my quilt over at Quilt Story blog today, and I decided to do that. With the theme of a quilt having a story, I think it will be a good addition and fun. Thank you Jo for the suggestion.

I have finished my quilt from Jo's Crumb Along Quilt Along challenge. This post is the finished quilt and the story that goes along with this quilt. This post may be a little long, but the story is going to be told here more for myself than any other.
(all photos are click-able to enlarge)

I found Jo's blog about the quilt along and decided to try this "crumb" process of piecing. I had never done this type of piecing but I had lots of scraps that I could use up. So, I signed up and gathered up my scraps. Now, the scraps I used for this quilt are the scraps left over from my begging quilt project. What is wonderfully special about these scraps is the fact that they were sent to me by bloggers from all over the world. Bloggers are a special group of people, and the generosity from these wonderful people is always overwhelming. The story really started here....the fabric bits from friends connected by the internet sent to a fellow blogger for a project. Fabric bits and kind hearts united for a cause.

Once Jo posted the first instructions, I made those first blocks fairly simple. The next day, I got started and I finished in one morning and waited until the next week for further instructions. The very afternoon I finished these first blocks, word was sent via a new blog post that my sweet friend, Sara was indeed making her final journey home to heaven. Shock, Grief, Disbelief, Despair were emotions that flooded my heart and mind. Some of you may know Sara from her blog Gitzen Girl. We met in 2008 shortly after we both started blogging. We connected and became fast online friends. She has always been like a daughter to me, or maybe a younger sister, but most importantly we were heart friends from the start, the kind that knows no beginning or end. Sara has always been sick from the time I have known her, in fact house bound due to her health issues. This year has been hard on her, but even knowing all of that, one is never prepared to say goodbye or even wish to think about doing so.

The next few days were like a blur. I sat my sewing down and walked out the sewing room fixated on the computer and updates on Sara. Praying. Crying. In disbelief that this was happening and I was miles away from where I wanted to be....with my friend whom I had never met face to face but only heart to heart and her family. Time had run out.....we would never met this side of heaven.

The next week, things were still much the same, and the new instructions were posted on Jo's blog. So I did what I knew to do. Sit and sew, and sew and sew.....all the while praying with each stitch for my friend and her family and many friends. That was the running theme with this entire quilt. Prayers for my friend, and then for her family and friends grieving after she was gone. It became clear to me along the way that this quilt was not one I would be keeping for myself. I was led to finish this quilt  for my sweet friend, Sara's mom. So, I will be mailing this to her when I have it quilted.

One of the key elements in this quilt is the lettering. I had decided at the start I was not going to do letters as Jo had done on her quilt. I had never done them, and did not know how. Somewhere along the way, that went by the wayside, and I was able to create Sara's catch phrase for living...."choose joy"......and that became the focus for the borders. In choosing joy, which I really did not feel like doing, but out of my heart of hearts knew that is what Sara would want, the letters formed rather easily out of scraps. I also choose to border the words with all heart blocks instead of the stars Jo had chosen for hers, as for me the hearts represent all the hearts touched so fiercely by this special friend.

Another touch that I knew I needed to add was a block dedicated to her dog.....Riley. Sara loved Riley and he was always so much a part of her post on her blog. This block took me more hours than I care to admit, but I had to have him in this quilt......Riley is so special and he deserved a special place in this "Choose Joy" quilt because he did bring so much joy to Sara and all of us who shared that joy with her.

 This is the real Riley ~ The Riley lookalike Block
I am pleased with the results, mainly because I had no idea how I was going to do it in the first place, I just knew I needed to figure it out! All little pieces put together in hopes of looking like the real pup. I think Sara would have been so pleased.

The finished construction of this quilt represents for me, an idea of what bloggers mean to each other. Each different, but all have an impact just the same. Some play a big part, others a small piece in each of our lives, but they are all connected with a common thread. Friendship. From the fabrics sent, to the finished pieced quilt, it was a labor of love from start to finish.

I have mentioned before that quilts have a story. Sometimes, the story is what inspired the quilt in the first place. It is in the story that the idea came together and gave the quilt a direction when there was none. I had no idea how this quilt would come together or that the journey would have been such a bittersweet one, but I am so thankful to Jo for the opportunity of the quilt along. It happened just at the time it was meant to take place. It was therapy for a breaking heart and hopefully will be a light of joy for its new owner. I hope when Sara's mom gets this quilt she feels the love and prayers that come with it and it will be something she knows was made from the heart out of much love.

****Sara lived her life by making the decision to Choose Joy in everything and every day. No matter her circumstances she trusted in God and all he was for her. If you have not visited her blog, Gitzen Girl, take some time to do so. I know you will be inspired, encouraged, and enlightened to Choose Joy in all things too.....or at least aspire to do so. I was so blessed to have been able to share a small part of Sara's life and she will always be my forever heart friend.


  1. what a wonderful story about the inspiration for the this beautiful quilt. i am sure the family will treasure it. non-quilters will never understand the instant relationships that can be created by fabric and thread. bless you for your generous gift. cw

  2. I was a reader of Gitz as well!! This quilt brought me to tears!! What joyful wonderful work you have done!!! I never met her personally, but I think she would have loved it!

  3. Suzanne this story gives me chill bumps. All the love, heartbreak, sadness and prayers led to this quilt...Choose Joy! I have gotten to know Sara just at the end of your journey here on earth but her legacy is strong and will continue. Thanks for sharing this story, this beautiful quilt and your love of blogging, friends, quilting and for honoring Sara like you have. She is smiling!

  4. What a great story and wonderful quilt.

  5. It's a beautiful quilt and embodies so many memories. what a sweet puppy portrait you created. congrats.

  6. What a beautiful quilt. You can see the love that went into it, I'm sure her Mom will be able to feel it.

  7. You are, the true meaning of a friend. I'm so sorry for your loss, I'm sure Sara's mom will treasure this quilt and the sentiment behind it. :( Toni Anne

  8. I will have to add a star to your crown for this.

  9. I just wanted to thank you for sharing your story, quilt and friendship with all of us. I know at times our "human" side wants to be able to hold on to our friends here on earth but I am so happy that she knew the Lord and will be reunited with all her friends someday in Heaven. As a person just getting back into quilting I have used sewing myself as therapy when I have had a hard day at work (I work with physically and mentally challenged folks) I also I have needed it at times when I have had a hard day working in hospice. God bless you and those that you bless with your quilting gift. Hugs!

  10. What a beautiful story. I'm sure Sara would be touched to know that you are sending quilt hugs to her family. Live the picture of Riley, that was a great addition.

  11. Lovely story about your dear friend.
    The quilts are beautiful also.
    My curiosity is aroused about the crumb quilt.

  12. So much meaning in a quilt! Sara's mother will love it and the story behind the quilt.

  13. Thank you for sharing the story behind your quilt. I discovered Sara near the end of her journey. I'd like to believe that one of the charms I sent you for your Begging quilt was leftover and placed into this special quilt for Sara's mom. I love that you put the Choose Joy lettering around the edge and included her faithful companion. It is a fitting tribute to the way Sara lived her life.

  14. Thank you for sharing the story that goes with this amazing quilt. I know it will be treasured for always....

    One day, you will meet Sara and worship at the feet of Jesus together. What a glorious day that will be.

  15. Sara would have loved it, and that special corner for Riley. Her mother will be so touched I am sure. I will send you pics of mine when I get the top done.

    You are such a good friend.

  16. Hi Suzanne,
    Bawling like a big baby over here in North Carolina. Wow, what a wonderful story. What a wonderful friend you are! What a wonderful quilt!Thank you for sharing this story. I hope the receiver of this gift is touched by it as I am!

  17. What a beautiful quilt. The love,care and thoughtfulness radiates from it. Love the hearts and sweet Riley. Sara's mom will cherish the quilt.

  18. Oh...I love it. Your friend would be so happy. Like you say, every quilt has a story. You should link over to http://quiltstory.blogspot.com/ tomorrow because this quilt certainly has a story...sad but inspiring...Choose Joy are the absolutely perfect words!!

  19. What a fabulous quilt you created! I loved reading the story about the motivation and the design challenges you tackled. I'm sure it will be a treasured memory quilt!

  20. I like your story and all of the pictures also. What a wonderful treasure and link to your heritage. I found your blog through Sew We Quilt! I'm your newest follower of your blog.


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