This quilt is made for my best friend and celebrates over a decade of fabulous, irreverent correspondence which has spanned marriages and continents. Today I live in Los Angeles and she lives in Cambridgeshire, UK. We've each moved countless times, and often our letters to each other would be the first item of mail we would receieve in whatever new home it was at the time. The quilt includes actual correspondence between the two of us, each of us carefully saving our letters in vintage leather suitcases we've had for donkey's years. Certain letters and favorite quotations or book excerpts were carefully scanned for this quilt and entrusted to Spoonflower to be printed on Kona Cotton. For each of us, the pleasure of savouring a letter after unexpectedly being greeted by it - in her case on the doormat, in mine, in the mailbox- has become a regular highlight which brightens up our day. The thought of her being actually able to wrap herself up in those letters when the world gets a bit too much seems entirely in harmony with the whole purpose of writing them in the first place, and the perfect way to continue the letters' life.
The concept of commemorating our letters over the years in this way was bolstered by the reading of two excellent books; To The Letter by Simon Garfield and Letters of Note by Shaun Usher (which with pleasing reciprocity, was in fact gifted to me by said friend). Both of these books advocated the dying art of the letter and served as enjoyable reminders that the effort of compiling a missive, even as we battle the relentless demands of todays' hectic world, is always worthwhile. I loved every moment of choosing the fabrics, piecing the quilt, and finally hand-tying it to finish (It's one of those quilts which fairly begs to be hand-tied, and I love the effect that this adds).
First inspired by the You've Got Mail paper piecing pattern by Basil_and_Ivy and downloaded from Craftsy, I started to piece the envelopes and then rapidly moved onto actual letters and envelope fronts, to show all the places we had lived over our friendship. I had to construct my own paper piecing patterns for the envelope fronts and letters, wanting them to all be at different angles- rakishly askew, just as they had been when I pulled them all out of their suitcase storage and started to pour over them again with just as much delight as when they were first received.
...At this point, I suppose I should tell you that my best friend has not yet received this quilt, and it's a surprise- so please don't tell her about it! It was only finished this weekend, and is now boxed up and ready to ship to the UK. So, just as they would steam open envelopes in the heyday of hand written communication, you have had a sneak peak of the contents of her mail. I hope she loves it, I know I lingered happily over every second of bringing it into being. Definitely 'made with love'.
UPDATE: This quilt was featured on @quiltstories, a wonderful instagram account dedicated to telling the beautiful histories and motivations behind lovingly made fabric art! Go and check out some of the moving details behind each quilt.