I know I’ve mentioned before that I like to make crafty things for my friend Camille. We have known each other our whole lives, since she was five and I was six. Despite the fact that I moved several times as a child, and that we now live half-way across the world from one another, we’re still friends.
So when she told me that she was going to get married, it was either another Bridal Cow, or something a bit more meaningful. Camille is a costume designer, and her now-husband Mike is an industrial designer. Making them something to go in their home was a bit intimidating. I wanted it to be beautiful, but also classic and sophisticated. And I wanted to learn to quilt.
I decided to make her a lap-quilt, using the whole-cloth method (so the top and bottom were simply one piece of cloth, rather than being pieced). This would allow me to do an elaborate and interesting pattern of quilted stitches, and I could complete the project more quickly.
At the quilt shop, I picked three fabrics: a red-on-red rose patterned cotton for the top, a bit of brown-on-brown rose fabric for the binding, and a coordinating chocolate fabric with red roses for the back. I used a soft golden thread. Everything was pretty and wedding-y. For the pattern, I wanted to use meaningful designs as well. In the center panel of the quilt, I drew out a pattern called “double wedding ring.”
Around the edge, I created a simple trellis pattern, with camellia flowers in each corner.
My goal, as always, was to have neat, even stitches rather than super-small ones.
At any rate, all went swimmingly until I was nearly done. Then, in a moment of unwarranted self-confidence, I snipped the end of my thread… and snipped a hole in the top of the quilt.
I was instantly seized with horror. This was not a pieced quilt: I couldn’t see a way to put in a new “piece.” Crying, I was sure that quilt was ruined. The wedding was only a couple weeks away, so there was no way to start again.
However, after I calmed down, I realized I could ask for advice. At the time, I belonged to a big quilting list-serve, so I wrote to them for help. They suggested I applique on a shape to cover the hole. At first, I rejected this idea out of hand, thinking it would “ruin” the sophisticated simplicity of the top. But the more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea.
In the end, I decided to add on three appliqued spots, so that she wouldn’t be able to tell there had been a mistake (don’t worry — I’ve since confessed). I cut out three heart shaped pieces of fabric in the exact pattern of the spots I wanted to cover, thus making them nearly invisible until someone looked closely. I embroidered, using tonally-similar red thread, on each heart. On one, I embroidered “Camille and Mike,” on another I put the date of their wedding, and on the third, the place (Prague!). Once finished and appliqued to the top, they were… adorable.
I packed the whole thing up, and mailed it to London for them to receive after the wedding in the Czech Republic. I didn’t tell her anything about it. A week later, I flew to Prague to be Maid of Honor in the wedding (which is really a story unto itself). It was beautiful and moving and lovely.
Camille and Mike headed out to their honeymoon in South Africa. One night, a few days after they’d returned, I received a teary near-midnight phone call: “I got the wedding quilt. We found all the hearts!” Camille sobbed. “It was the best present I’ve ever gotten!” Even Mike loved it.
Having been to their lovely, modernist house now, I know it doesn’t really match their decor. But that’s okay: it was always the thought that counted, and this one was made with obvious love (and yes, I eventually told her about the hole).