When my husband was getting close to the end of his military career we had one more move to make, Germany to Virginia. While packing up our house for the last major move I came across a box of all my husbands patches. The military have patches with your name, rank and others that have to do with where you are stationed and your unit. After twenty years in the military he had a small box full of patches. I decided I wanted to make him a retirement quilt with some of these patches. My first mistake was taking him fabric shopping and having him pick out a couple of fabrics that he liked. I really didn’t like the fabric he chose, but since it was for him I thought I need to work with it! LOL If you ever tried to make something out of fabric you didn’t like you might understand.
Next I found a photo of three planes in formation coming home with all the military members who were in the gulf war when we were stationed in England. My husband was a navigator on one of those planes. I had a friend who told me she could paint the planes for me onto fabric. I wanted a large panel with all three planes. It came out just the way I wanted it to look. I came up with a quick star design and put it together except for the patches. I new it would be hard to quilt around them. Even though at the time I was machine quilting for a living, I gave it to my friend who did an overall design of clouds. Subconsciously I don’t think I wanted to spend the time quilting it because of the way it looked!
After a couple of years of looking at it I finally just decided to tear the thing apart. LOL Yup!!! I really didn’t like it. I saved the patches and the middle panel and dumped the rest of the quilt. I redesigned the quilt with stripes of red and blue in a simple pattern with some stars. I had collected a bunch of fat quarters of different reds and blues and one off white fabric that I liked. In the center of each star I sewed back on his patches. The center panel from the original quilt I sewed onto the back as a label and hand wrote all the places we were stationed. I did end up quilting this quilt with red and blue thread in straight lines. People loved it so much they asked for the pattern. I made a ton of copies and handed them out.
A year later a friend of ours was retiring and he commissioned me to make his retirement quilt. He wanted all of his patches in the quilt. He had a lot more than my husband. He wanted red stars in the quilt with blue and white fabric. I made a different design for him. I left a couple of places to put more patches than what he sent knowing he might stay in a couple of more years. It now hangs in his home where he looks at it everyday. He filled in all the spaces I left blank with more of his patches that he had.
I hang my husband’s quilt out on special occasions and certain holidays. When we see it we think of all those military members that are now serving our country. Our hope is that they come home to their families safe and sound.