Friday, April 12, 2013

A Walk in the Woods

I have a little story to share about my latest quilt.  A few weeks ago, Charlotte, Marian, and I were being ushered around Duke's pediatric oncology clinic, on our way to get Charlotte's chemo.  We passed by a 3-month old baby and her sweet mom.  After sleuthing Nancy-Drew-style for the day, I determined that this sweet baby was recently diagnosed with a brain tumor.

Knowing all too well what it is to have your world turned upside-down when your three-month old baby is given a brain tumor diagnosis, I desperately wanted to reach out to this family.  And of course, my love-language right now is quilts.  All day long, though, I felt uneasy about using what might have been my obvious choice of fabrics: Sarah Jane's "Children at Play."  I do have quite a bit of this parade print remaining:

I did not feel excited about using this fabric, though, thinking that it might not lend itself to the sober nature of the situation.  You see, before I realized that Charlotte is the one riding the pink elephant and could appreciate that one day she'll be able to raise those paralyzed, little arms up in the air, I have to admit that I might have been a little bit mad at this fabric.  That sounds silly, I know: to be mad at fabric.  It was really more that I was mad that this fabric is so sweet and innocent and pain-free.  And not only is Charlotte's life not like that now as she receives chemo and numerous other interventions, but it has never been nor ever will be like that.

Enter: Aneela Hoey's fabric "a walk in the woods."

Two days after I met Anne, she dropped by my house with a wonderful bag of goodies (fabric and thread), including a stack of fat quarters from this fabric line.  First of all, who doesn't love Red Riding Hood?  But second, I remembered what this sweet line is called even before I read the tag.  And then I knew that I had to use it.

I remember the time of diagnosis well.  It definitely felt like "a walk in the woods."  Most moments were so very dark.  I couldn't see the forest for sake of the trees: could we trust her doctors?  Did we have the right neurosurgeon?  Could she not be cured?  Was she declining before our very eyes?  And on and on and on.

Yet, there were moments of light shining through the trees.  Sweet nurses who were so compassionate and empathetic that they cried with us.  Near strangers reaching out to us to tell us that we were not alone - through gifts to us, gifts to Charlotte, and most of all, through prayer.  And of course, there was the comfort and peace of God himself.

So after a bit of thought (and second and third opinions), I decided to use "a walk in the woods" for this newly diagnosed baby's quilt.  

I used the seven fat quarters that Anne gave me and also pulled in nine of my own fabrics.  There were a few fabrics that I ended up not liking in the quilt, so I arranged them all along two sides and trimmed those sides after stitching together the quilt top.  I used this disappearing nine-patch tutorial and am mostly pleased with how the quilt turned out.  My close-up pictures did not turn out very well, I think due to the weight of the quilt as it hung on the fence: the seams look so wonky, though I assure you that they are straight in "real life."

I backed it in a pink minky and gave it a gray binding.  I love the gray on pink contrast, but I also love the reminder to look for the silver lining in all things.  Even when things are so very dark and we might not be able to do much more than to stumble through the woods, even so, there are many things for which to be grateful.

Anne's Quilt
Quilt Stats:
Measures: 37 x 50 inches
Pieced and Quilted by: Me!
Fabrics: A Walk in the Woods by Aneela Hoey
              and others from my stash

Please don't forget that the auction for Anne's quilt
closes today.  Click on over to that post to make a
bid - you know you need that quilt!

Linking to "Finish It Up Friday" over at Crazy Mom Quilts.


  1. What a lovely thing you are doing for that family by making their little one a quilt. I recently made a quilt for our daughter to wrap herself in during and after treatments.

  2. Bravo! Coming from you, this quilt will mean so, so much more. Beautiful job! I need to wrk up the nerve to use Minky backing.

    1. Thanks, Kathy! I am by no means a "super sewist," but doing a minkee backing for baby quilts is my new favorite thing. I don't have any problems with it, and I love the weight, drape, and "cuddle factor." I'm never going back!

  3. I just love how this turned out! I know it will bring that sweet baby's family comfort. Perfect fabric choice. Praying for that sweet baby. <3

  4. That is beautiful! I love the way the colors come together in yours. I've made a quilt with that fabric line and they couldn't be more different.

    I'm sure the little girl's family will appreciate it.


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