The commissioning quilt

by Melanie in IA

Last Saturday evening, our son became an officer in the United States Air Force. I wrote this post about his journey to that point. My essay, “Flyers,” is another look from a different direction. He spent many years getting ready for that moment, and he worked especially hard the last three years.

We celebrated his achievements and the commencement of his career with family time, graduation, a party, and the commissioning ceremony. For four days the house was full with family. Our son, our daughters and their husbands and seven children, and we squeezed into our home. Son’s fiancee and other family and friends came by, also. To get ready, we baby-proofed the house to protect the kids from all of my sewing tools and equipment. And we house-proofed to protect the house from the kids!

For the party I baked dozens of cookies, as did the nearby daughter. I made double chocolate ones, as well as peanut butter cookies and lemon cookies! She made chocolate chip, chocolate with macadamia nuts, and chocolate with mint m&ms! The rest of the party food was catered by a local grocery.

While I was in the midst of getting the house ready and preparing food, I decided to do one more project. Before putting away all my sewing equipment, I pulled four fabrics to make a quick quilt.

Part of the tradition of the commissioning ceremony is that of the new officer’s first salute from an enlisted airman. Son had asked a friend, Steve, to honor him with his first salute. Steve lives in Seattle, WA, and they had worked together during the summer Son interned at Boeing. Steve enthusiastically provided Son with his impressions of the Air Force. As a military retiree, he had spent more than 20 years serving.

I asked Son if he wanted me to make a quilt for Steve, to thank him for flying 2,000 miles and taking part in the occasion. Son said, “No.” But I did, anyway.

It was a crazy plan: start a quilt on May 8 and finish by a week later. I had a pattern in mind, and the fabrics chosen that morning. And with that, I made four large Ohio stars, each 15″. Once sashed and with a pieced border, they made a quilt finishing at 54″ square.

The pattern I used was very similar to one I developed for the siblings’ quilts last fall. At that time I made eight large lap quilts, one for each of Jim’s siblings. They were all different, each designed specifically for its recipient.

I made this for one of Jim’s younger brothers.

If you look closely, you can see that the star blocks in the two quilts are different. The commissioning quilt uses a basic Ohio star. The sibling’s quilt uses a variation. I wrote about it and gave directions in this post, Make a Block with Me.

Perhaps you wonder if I made a quilt for Son, also. I did last year, when he graduated with his bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering.

This quilt is 81″ square and is built in a 9×9 format, with two block styles. I’ll tell you more about it another time.

The next quilt I make for him will probably be a wedding quilt. The date is set: June 13, 2015.


8 thoughts on “The commissioning quilt

  1. diana

    Congratulations to your son. I love the quilt and would love thepattern. I sew for Quilts of Valor and we are always looking for new patterns that are distinctive and easy to make.Please post when you get a chance.

  2. farmquilter

    Congratulations to your son for this wonderful achievement! May those who serve under him find him to be an officer of honor and worthy of respect. As the mom of a daughter in the Army and a daughter and son-in-law in the Air National Guard, I congratulate you in raising a son who found the value of serving our country – you did good!!! Prayers for him and your whole family during his time of service for strength, wisdom and patience (he’s gonna need it!). Your quilt is wonderful and will be cherished by Steve for the rest of his life!

    1. Melanie in IA Post author

      Thanks so much for your good wishes. He is a good man, a leader with a lot to learn about leadership. 🙂

      And thank you, also, for your part in rearing a daughter serving. You must be proud.

      1. farmquilter

        I am so proud of all three of them! Two of the three have served in Iraq and/or Afghanistan and came home safely – I had to trust God to take care of them because I couldn’t!! It is tough being the mom and having to support them when they are far away, but it is so worth it! Just keep making those special quilts!!!


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