The second of our three grandchildren was born right on his due date February 20. Henry Bennett arrived in fine form, we are so grateful. (The third, a girl, is due March 12. Her quilt is finished and posted here.)
I was relieved to be able to finish his quilt the weekend before he arrived, well actually on Monday. I pieced it Saturday, quilted Sunday, then sewed on the binding Monday. He arrived Thursday. Phew!
This quilt is full of my brother Bennett, who passed away in 1996 at age 47. He and I were close. I used a linen table cloth of his for years after he died, and it began to get threadbare.
|Bennett's table cloth from India|
Because Henry was to have his name, I used that cloth in the quilt (the parts that were not threadbare, of course) and paired all the fabrics around it. I also wanted it to be a "hippie" quilt. Although Bennett wasn't a true hippie, much of his outlook was shaped that way. He wore a black arm band at his 1970 college graduation to protest the Vietnam War. He was non-materialistic, and his taste in music shaped my own. (CSNY, Joni Mitchell, Randy Newman, James Taylor, so many more) He wore soft, worn chambray or flannel shirts.
|Bennett's table cloth linen is the floral one|
and also the border with red;
I'm sure this was made in India
I decided I wanted to design a free-form quilt, and this was not easy. I cut the pieces at the beginning to place them in a composition I liked. And then as I began to piece it, I adjusted the pieces to fit into each other. I wanted it to be more folk art than precision pieces. This process was organic for me and felt just right as I connected with Bennett.
I really love linen, and I ordered a second special one from Australia, with cats, birds and trees. Bennett loved nature, as do I, and I wanted to introduce Henry to this love.
I tried to use the new walking foot, but I could not get it to align with the needle when I installed it. So I used the regular foot. Since finishing, I found a helpful piece of advice at a quilting blog to simply push the foot to the side until it aligns. It sounds intuitive, but when you're working with it, you'd think that would break it. I will try it before starting the next.
Henry and I had a little photo shoot yesterday on his quilt. He seemed to like it just fine. He already rolls from side to side.
|Henry Bennett, age 4 days|
|In this picture, Henry looks like his brother James, who is now 2|