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.