When we lost our Gwen, my creative friends got busy channeling their care and compassion for us through their work. Now we have lovely handmade items to remind us that we do not have to bear our loss alone.
My knitting friend Melissa, who is also a potter, made me these beautiful buttons. I have them out where I can see them every day and may never get around to attaching them to a piece of clothing. Melissa quilt her day job to pursue her pottery business full time and can hardly keep up with demand for her pieces. Take a look at her etsy shop and you will see why! Last year, she was totally swamped when Soulemama blogged one of Melissa’s berry bowls.
The Memphis Knit Mafia totally amazed me by showing up at Gwen’s memorial service with this fabulous wreath. They put it together in just five days. We got lots of comments on it even after the service. One of the flowers is missing- it was a perfect match for one of my sweaters and I have been wearing it as a pin.
Now get this- we had not one, but two groups of folks that wanted to make us a memory quilt! The Knit Mafia AND some friends from church set up tables with fabric squares and markers at the service. The people who came to celebrate Gwen’s life wrote messages on the fabric and each group set to work piecing and quilting.
This one is from the Knit Mafia. Everyone helped cut fabric and my sweet friend Diane did the piecing and quilting even as she was enduring tedious health issues of her own. Diane made a most appropriate choice of colors; since Gwen’s developmental level never progressed above about 15 months, she still loved looking at black and white at age 12. I hope my girl can see this wherever she is. Here are some detail pics:
The second quilt is still in progress. It is currently being quilted by women from a progressive Bible/book study group I have attended for years. The mastermind behind this one was my sewing friend and Presbyterian minister Mary Allison. She chose the fabrics, supervised the fabric cutting and recruited her mother Sally to help with the piecing. Then the group convened a Quilting G (instead of Bee- G for Gwen and for Grace) to get started on the quilting.
I showed them how to hand quilt and we had a great time stitching, drinking wine and discussing Sharon’s upcoming birthday trip to Las Vegas with her husband. Someone mentioned that Sharon’s hotel would give them a bag of “romantic toys” since they would be there over Valentine’s day. So we had to talk about that for a while and then speculated that it was an interesting topic for a Presbyterian quilting bee.
We didn’t finish that night, so group members are passing this quilt around and working on it individually. I’ll show you the whole thing, including some really special details, when it is done.
In addition to all of this sculpting and stitching, Lynsey scanned photos of Gwen and set up a slide show for the visitation, while my musical friend Peggy climbed a steep set of stairs to play the church’s carillon (bells) after the service. Finally, Jessica brought me a package of origami paper while Gwen was still in the ICU. I had taught her how to fold paper cranes a few years ago and she had used origami to help work through the loss of her father.
To my kind and thoughtful friends who participated in these projects- thank you. You have made a difference.