Wayyy back in the fall of 1992 I moved to State College, Pennsylvania. This was a huge change for our little family; me, my husband and our three young boys. My (first) husband was taking a break from his job teaching at a local community college in California and studying for his PhD in Instructional Technology. We sold our 20 acre farm in California and moved to a little neighborhood near the university. Neither of us had ever lived in the mid-west, lived in a snowy climate, or relocated to a place so far from family, friends and all that was familiar!
We decided he would go to school and I would have an in-home daycare, making just enough money to get by while he got his degree. I went through the process and got the house and myself licensed and put an ad in the paper. It was nerve wracking, to say the least. Almost immediately, I had response from Rich and Denese. They were in a similar stage of life where Rich was pursuing his PhD and she was working as an attorney. They needed full-time childcare for their toddler, James, becoming one of my first families.
James and my youngest son are two weeks apart in age, both were just turning two years old. The two of them together made for a very dynamic duo. They were both so active, impulsive and basically into everything! It was a wild and very fun time.
As most of you know, my husband passed away suddenly in spring of 1994. During this horrific time, Rich and Denese jumped right in, helping wherever they could. After the kids and I moved back to CA, Rich and Denese came to visit the following summer, checking in on us and providing great comfort to me. When I remarried, Denese and her mom came back to California to be at the wedding. They have always been there, even from a distance, for many years.
Fast forward to several months ago, I learned Denese was diagnosed with breast cancer. She is fortunate in that this cancer is treatable and she will come through it. But we all know it is a miserable experience to go through the surgeries, chemo and radiation that are necessary to quell the cancer.
Of course my first thought was to send Denese a quilt. I wanted her to have it while dealing with chemo and the exhaustion that is so prevalent during this time. So I looked at the quilts I had in process and decided the diamond quilt was meant for her – we are great friends and diamonds are also ‘a girl’s best friend’! So I finished up the top and started quilting it. Of course then my machine went on the fritz and it spent two weeks in the shop.
The quilting design happened organically. First I decided to do a couple of passes on the diamonds, anchoring them down with a few lines echoing the small center diamond. Then I did a pass echoing just half of the larger diamond.
After this was done the straight line quilting began. The lines are free hand, using the last line be my guide for the next line. The widths are similar but not exactly the same, if that makes sense. I almost never quilt a lap quilt so heavily but this seemed to be the right thing for this quilt. Also, the lines don’t go top to bottom. I worked in sections so they loop up and down at various points – boy, I am not writing this clearly, hence why I am not a pattern designer!!
The backing is a gorgeous floral I had on hand. The binding, however, was a trick for me. One would think with all of the many colors on the front, it would be a snap to pick a binding. But the backing has only four colors (green, black, white and pink) and nothing looked right. A trip to the fabric shop was needed and I found this mottled green that looked pretty from both sides.
Post Update: If you are interested in making these diamond blocks, I used the tutorial over at Bonjour Quilts. Here is the link to it. These blocks are a breeze. I offset them by adding space between the blocks as well as a sashing strip between columns.
After a quick wash (with lots of color catchers to protect that white background), the quilt was sent off to Denese. I am happy to say she really likes it. I truly hope it brings comfort to her as she goes through the rest of her treatments. I know the latter parts 2024 will be a better time for her but currently, she has more to endure. Fortunately, she has really good family support to help her get through all of this. Plus one quilt from her best friend out in California.
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