Hearts for Colette

Around 2009 or so, my brother’s friend Colette spent Christmas with our family. One night she looked at me and said, “I want you to make me a quilt for my bed. It has to be all your own work. I want black, white and pink and hearts. I’ll pay for it.” I was so stunned I neglected to explore the question of how much she thought it might cost. Colette had been working as a real estate agent until the 2008 crash so I knew she didn’t have any money. She’d had to take on a roommate to pay her mortgage. I explained that, despite her insistence that I do it all myself, I wouldn’t do the quilting. I have someone I pay to do that, especially on a big quilt.

She then playfully berated me for not having made my brother a quilt. I looked at him and asked, “Do you want a quilt?” He said, “No.” I looked at Colette and said, “That’s why he doesn’t have one.”

I didn’t really know how serious she was about wanting a quilt – maybe it was just a passing fancy. I thought about it for a while and decided I’d make one but would choose something I liked for myself in case she wasn’t serious. My brother said she might forget about it, but she might not.

As it turned out, she didn’t forget about it. Occasionally she mentioned it to my brother. I don’t remember him saying much to me about it.

Colette is a girly girl type of woman, hence the pink and hearts. I’m not and hearts aren’t one of my favorite things. I found a design I liked in Billie Lauder’s book, Beyond the Rail Fence. I needed light, medium and dark pink, a whitish background and a black fabric. As I recall I found the pinks in my batik stash and got the black and background at my local quilt shop. The black print is an oriental print with small cranes. The background print was a Lonni Rossi design white with gray lines. For borders, I used the background fabric for a small inner border. I didn’t have enough of the black print left and it was no longer available, of course. I found a black scroll print to use. Some of the Sew & Tell folks didn’t like the border fabric but I knew I was planning to have it quilted with pink thread so I figured it was the best I was going to find and it wouldn’t look so stark after it was quilted. What I had a heck of a time finding was the hot pink fabric for the flange between the white and black borders. I only had a tiny piece of the dark pink batik left. The equivalent batiks in the stores then weren’t quite the right color. I bought several fabrics over the next few years that were rejected by the quilt. I finally found a hand dyed fabric at a local quilt show that was just the right color. I was then able to finish the top.

A closeup of the borders.

A closeup of the borders, unquilted.

I took it home with me in 2012 because we were spending Christmas at my brother’s house that year. I showed it to Colette. She loved it, of course. After that, the frequency of inquiries about how her quilt was coming along increased.

Hanging in my guild quilt show in 2014.

Hanging in my guild quilt show in 2014.

Maria O’Haver did the quilting and I finished the quilt in time to hang in my guild’s spring 2014 show. Apparently I neglected to take pictures of the quilting. Darn it! The borders are quilted with a heart design. The large heart is quilted with a feather design. Knowing that Colette couldn’t afford to pay for it and I could and she’s been friends with my brother for a very long time, I decided that it would be a gift. I gave the quilt to Colette in December 2014. She was thrilled with it.

Colette with the quilt.

Colette with the quilt.

While I was taking the picture of Colette with the quilt, this happend —

Smokey joins Colette on the quilt.

Smokey joined Colette on the quilt.

My brother doesn’t own any quilts and I don’t remember Smokey doing this when I was covered with a blanket but he knew exactly what to do when a quilt appeared.

The label.

The label. The wide backing fabric came from Miller’s Dry Goods outside Arcola, IL.

The quilt on Colette's bed.

The quilt on Colette’s bed.

Because most non-quilters don’t have a clue about the value of quilts, I had an insurance appraisal done to give her with the quilt. I told her to check with her agent to see if she needs a fine arts rider to cover it. There are several different types of appraisals. The insurance appraisal is the amount it would cost to pay someone to remake the quilt. Some of the things that the appraiser considers in determing the value are the cost of the fabric, the cost of the pattern, the cost of batting and thread, the amount paid to a quilter if the quilting was hired out, the size and number of blocks, size of the quilt, the label, the number of fabrics in the quilt, whether any quilts you’ve made have been published.

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2 Responses to “Hearts for Colette”

  1. linda Says:

    I”m glad you documented this quilt – I think it worked very nicely. 🙂 So, how much did it appraise for? (IMWTK)

    🙂 Linda

  2. Melanie McNeil Says:

    What a generous gift! Thanks for sharing this story.

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