One of my favorite steps is taking something like this:
And making a nice neat pile like this:
And eventually, all those neatly cut pieces are pieced together into a finished product. I'm calling my first finish (and first link to Freshly Pieced WIP) “Grandpa’s Blanket” as that is what my son has named the quilt. "Grandpa's Blanket" helped me reach a couple of quilting firsts -- this is the first quilt I attempted to do any quilting “outside the ditch” as well as attempt a real binding.
More importantly, I made the quilt as a way for me and my son to remember my dad who recently passed away after an 8-year battle with cancer. My dad helped to create the foundation I have built my life on by teaching me to accomplish my goals piece by piece. When I was young, he always told me when things were overwhelming to make a list of what needed to be done, and knock each step down one by one. In addition to the strength he showed me, he taught me there is no better way than a hug to show someone they are safe and loved.
The front of "Grandpa's Blanket" was made from 20 different shirts of my dad's – and now that I am thinking of it this way – it’s almost like twenty different hugs all sewn together as one.
The back of the blanket is an old airplane blanket from a trip I took to China when I was 15 (almost 15 years ago). Even before being diagnosed with cancer, my dad and I deemed this his “fighting blanket” and it became our go to blanket to cure all ills (from being cold to fighting cancer).
I think my dad would like the idea of the front of the quilt serving as a reminder of the comfort and support I could always find in him... while the back will serve as a reminder of the courage and strength he showed and taught me.