Sunday, November 8, 2015

In Memory of Jessica: Adding layers

You can see my previous blog post about this quilt here. Below is what I've accomplished since the last photo I shared!  

I worked on filling in the rest of her face, did some basic swirls in the background and lines on the chest:

Thread painting of my friend Jessica--she died 3 years ago at 27 of Ewing's Sarcoma.

I love how the back looks!  I always think it is like a ghost image of the front.  And this time it also reminds me of the energy that flows through us--Jessica did energy work and massage, so I'm sure she would like this representation of herself.

Back of the thread painting after 3 bobbins.

Aurifil generously provided all the threads for this quilt, and the bobbin thread is # 2320 (light toast).  The next bobbin focused mostly on the hair:

After 4 bobbins.

The next bobbin I did some basic filling in on the brightest areas on her hair and shoulder, and started filling in more of the background:

Thread painting: 5 bobbins.

I love how this angle catches the sheen of the Aurifil thread:

Thread painting quilt progress.

Finally I got to add the highlights to her face (and still more layers to the hair)!  This is where I felt it come alive:

Six bobbins of work on this thread painting portrait quilt.

How I'm Feeling
I've been a lot calmer this week of working on this quilt.  After my first child was born she started giving him copies of her favorite childhood books, these are three she gave us before she got sick:

The Teddy Bears' Picnic -- I remember my mom reading this book and singing the song.

Thunder Cake -- after her memorial service they had a potluck and I used the recipe at the back of the book to make a thunder cake (chocolate cake with tomato sauce in it).

Wynken, Blynken and Nod -- this is one of our favorite books in our entire collection.  The rhythm of the story is really nice and the illustrations are beautiful.

The last time I saw Jessica awake I took the second two books to read to her.  She was in hospice, but had a nice view of a courtyard.  It was a difficult visit, nearly 3 years ago.  It was months before I could read Wynken, Blynken and Nod without choking up.

I sometimes wonder what other books she might have given us.

In Memory of Jessica thread painting series:
3. Adding layers (you are here)


  1. Renee, this is the most beautiful tribute to what sounds like a very amazing amazing friend.

  2. The hair draped across her shoulder is so beautiful. It really is coming alive, and Michael was captivated from across the room by the photo of the back of the quilt.

  3. Oh, Renee!! I agree with Yvonne, the hair draped across her shoulder is just exquisite!! The highlights, the shading on her face. Your stitches have absolutely brought this picture to life!

  4. Gorgeous! I didn't know this could be done with a picture and some thread. Beautiful memorial to your lovely friend.

  5. My favorite part about your thread painting so far is the front of her hair. I think she would be positively honored at your depiction.

    I think about the same thing with my Grandmother too, but more so, what other plays would she had seen, had she not been so sick? I think those who have passed are always with us in this way. Hugs.

  6. Beautiful work happening. :) Love that back view and the thought of her love of energy coming through with that.

  7. I love the idea of the thread work echoing her energy work. What a fitting tribute.

  8. I am deeply moved by this quilt, and how you are sharing your feelings. Your love for Jessica shines through every word and every stitch.

  9. A wonderful memory of a dear friend~hoping you find some peace as you work through this.

  10. The hair really is amazing, Renee! The whole thing is just so beautiful. It looks like you're close to there much left to do?

  11. This is looking amazing. Thank you for sharing your progress with us.

  12. I love the quilt...but I really enjoyed the anecdote you shared about the books. That was very heartwarming. :)

  13. You are very brave I think Renee, to face all these emotions head on. I hope that quilting Jessica's portrait will be very healing for you. She was a very wonderful friend.

  14. This. Is. Amazing, Renee!! How wonderful for you to have had a friend that you loved so much. I am so sorry for your loss! You are doing such beautiful work, while pouring your heart into this piece. I imagine it is rather exhausting, emotionally....
    (How are you locking your stitches with all of those starts and stops?)

  15. So glad to hear that you are managing to work on this beautiful project in a clam frame of mind.

  16. What an amazing tribute to your friend! Thanks for sharing this beautiful picture!