Friday, January 5, 2018

The Brick House Quilt

Last month the Thomas Fire devastated the beautiful coastal town of Ventura, California and much of the County of Ventura. Deeply affected by these fires were three of my life long friends. My mom's best friend and a woman I consider my "second mom" has been displaced because of the smoke damage in her home. Every house around hers burned. She is living with her former daughter-in-law and caretaker while her home gets cleaned up. We visited with LaVonne just 2 weeks before the fires started. She's 96 years old and just lost her husband of 74 years last June. I love our visits and always look forward to seeing her. I wish she didn't live 2-1/2 hours away. 

You can see in this photo the only house left standing is LaVonne's. She can't return to her home until all the damage has been fixed which includes a new roof on the house, all carpets and mattresses replaced, painting inside out out, a deep cleaning and new landscaping.

I finished these socks a week after the fire and sent them off to LaVonne. She was so excited to get them. She is the person who inspired me to learn to knit, as a child. It was fun to make something for her that she can use and feel my love.

Also displaced by the fires were her two sons. Steve, on the right, was evacuated but his home escaped without any damage. Greg's home was burned to the ground. He only had 15 minutes to get out of his home and he lost everything, escaping only with the clothes on his back and one car.

I have known this family since I was a toddler. My parents met them when we first moved to California, from Pittsburgh, in 1955. We were such good friends that Greg and I went to school dances together. This photo is from 1968.

So what does a quilter do when someone they know has gone through a tragedy? They make them a quilt. of course.

I call this quilt the "Brick House" quilt. To me it symbolizes stability and love. It will probably take 2 years for Greg to rebuild his home but at least he'll have a quilt to give him some form of comfort as he goes through the harrowing process and paperwork involved in rebuilding.

I made this quilt using Karen Lewis' Blueberry Park fabrics and combined them with a Fat Quarter stack of  Carolyn Freidlander coordinating solids and prints. Each block was strip pieced using 3-1/2" strips pieced together then cut into 5-1/2" pieces, flipped and sewn into a block that finishes at 12" x 15".

The backing is a 108" wide print from Wyndham Fabrics. It has color names written all over it. I thought it was appropriate for all the colors represented in the quilt.

I quilted it using an Ivory 40 weight thread from Connecting Threads. Straight lines 1/2" on both sides of each seam in both directions was easy, fast and allowed my to get this quilt finished and in the mail quickly. I used Warm and White batting and quilted it on my Bernina 820.

Lots of prints and color in this quilt make it a happy quilt.

The binding is my favorite go to black and white stripe from Timeless Treasures.

The quilt is in the post and should arrive tomorrow. I enjoyed making this quilt for Greg and look forward to making this simple pattern again. It was inspired by Film in the Fridge's 2x4 quilt
After laundering this quilt finishes at 71 inches wide by 80 inches tall.


Geri said...

What a beautiful quilt and nice blog post. I'm sure Greg will love it.

Robby said...

What a hard time, but what a great time to be surrounded by beauty and reminders of love. Well done.

mascanlon said...

Such a nice post Di. And I love having the ability to literally “make”something when we want to give comfort to family and friends. This is a great quilt too, I love that pattern for the same reason, it shows off great fabric but is also a simple make. You are a good friend.

Chookyblue...... said...

Such sad loss but such bright joy to bring comfort......
I remember delivering quilts to the fire ground for the Warrumbungles fire and one hose in particular survives with everything rise around burnt very badly........ Their was so much work to do in the house you wonder if the poor lady would have been better off listing it and getting a new smelt like soot.... And ash covered everything daily........

Sherry said...

Lovely quilt. A very nice alternative to the square 16 patch quilt blocks.

I am sure that the quilt will bring much comfort.

Debbie said...

What a beautiful and thoughtful gift. So sorry for the losses your friends have experienced!!

Susan Snooks said...

One can't help but think about the love that has gone into that beautiful quilt Di. What a kind and loyal friend you are! I pray that the community will re-build and unite at this sad time.

Isisjem said...

It's a lovely quilt that I'm sure will be treasured. I really feel for your friends and what they've gone through. It's heartbreaking to lose everything like this or even be displaced and not you have a 'home' until it's sorted.