Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Benjamin's Quilts

In May 1998, an unbelievable tragedy hit our family. Our nephew, Benjamin, who had just turned 18 a week earlier and who would've graduated from high school a week later, was killed in a traffic accident. Benjamin was a handsome, winsome, intelligent, funny, loving and lovable young man with a lot of potential. Losing him was deeply tragic. The entire family was in shock and deep grief. Needless to say, his parents and younger sister Julia were hit the hardest. Their grief was unbearable and indescribable.

In a situation such as this, everybody hurts and everybody wants to help. I felt, as did the rest of the family, that I would do anything to help ease their pain. But, of course, nobody and nothing can. Nevertheless, I wanted to do SOMETHING. And since quilting is what I do, I made a quilt for Benjamin's parents and sister which I gave them a year later, the anniversary week of for his birth and death.

There was no particular reason for choosing the log cabin pattern, other than that I like it. I made it green because Benjamin grew up and lived on the beautiful family farm, and I quilted stars - chosen as a symbol of Benjamin by his family - around the border. Stars for what Benjamin was and for where he now is.

Several years later, Benjamin's mother, Steve's sister Katie, asked me to make a quilt from some of Benjamin's T-shirts. I'd never made a T-shirt quilt and it was quite a challenge, but it was a labor of love which I very much enjoyed. I used T-shirts, a couple of ties, and parts of a couple of jackets and sweat shirt. Again, green was the dominant color, especially two green batiks which I bought for this purpose. My friend Regina Carter machine quilted it.

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