I finished up the modern crosses quilt I was working on yesterday and delivered it to my aunt, who is undergoing treatment for breast cancer.
I modified the Modern Crosses pattern in Susan Beal's book Modern Log Cabin Quilting because I needed construction go a bit faster. I pieced each individual block a bit differently at the end, and upped the size to finish out at 13 inches square. The final layout is different as well. But I did start out with the pattern and actually love the original design quite a bit more than what I've done here, and would recommend the book for your quilting library.
I chose the fabrics for their cheer factor. There is some Flea Market Fancy, Good Folks, and various other prints, surrounded by Kona Snow. It's backed with teal pastry line dobby dots voile (from Anna Maria Horner's Little Folks line) and bound with Sweetwater's Authentic stripes. My dear friend Krista saved my sanity and quilted it for me in record time with a great swirl pattern that softens all of the straight lines of the crosses. For the sake of time and durability, I used Pat Sloan's blanket stitch machine binding technique. It creates a stiffer feel, but I found it so much easier than just a straight stitch machine binding. It would have been even easier if I had remembered to sew the binding to the back of the quilt first instead of the front. It's a technique I'll definitely use again.
I'll be honest-- situations like my aunt's make me bitter. Angry, even. I don't think it's fair that parents of young children, people who spend their whole lives being kind and giving to others, people who are really NEEDED here on earth have to go through the emotional and physical toll that cancer brings to them and their families. And meanwhile, the jerks of the world who cause so much misery in people's lives seem to live forever. It sucks, plain and simple. I wish there was an explanation.
Each one of you likely knows someone who has been affected by breast cancer. Previous to this, my experiences have been more removed-- acquaintances through work, relatives of friends, etc. I've always known it would be just a matter of time until the disease would become more close. As I get older, friends will be diagnosed. Possibly other family members. Maybe even me. It's a scary prospect. So let's all remember to be vigilant about our health-- do your monthly self breast exams, see your healthcare provider each year, and get your mammogram if you're over 40 or at a higher risk. And remember that there are a lot of ways to support cancer programs, financially and otherwise. Take a bit of time to research what you can do to help.
For now I will send positivity my aunt's way and hope that this quilt brings a bit of coziness on days when she may need to curl up on the couch and nap. It was a pleasure to make it, and I'm grateful to have the ability to share a bit of comfort in the form of fabric and love.