I thought. I pondered. I considered. I let the idea of "memorable moments" rattle and roll around in my head, until an idea began to take shape. I let it sit and grow, steadily working on other projects in the meantime. I worked on my son's graduation quilt, I did the baby quilt commission, I was even thinking about this back when I was doing a family tree memory quilt for my aunt. And as I worked on these other things, all the time the idea was forging itself into a mini quilt triptych that I couldn't leave undone.
Memorable moments. First steps. First words. First time at the beach. Beach trips. Sandcastles. Each of my boys, on the beach, building sandcastles. Each of my boys, at around age 10, on the beach. Alone. With his brothers. Layers and layers, trip after trip after trip, a little boy at age three....age five...age eight...ten...twelve...fifteen...eighteen.....at the beach. Alone. With his little brother. With his big brother. With both brothers. Oldest. Youngest. Middle. All the images, all the beach trips over all the years......three mini portraits. The idea became an image which became a quilt. Three mini quilts, part of one triptych that tells one story.
I began by piecing the backgrounds, using improvisational curved piecing to create a gentle sepia toned landscape, sand and sky, for the first two sections and realistic colors for the third panel. The first two symbolize the past, while the final panel symbolizes present day. Where the sand meets the sky I used a straight line, reflective of the horizon line, to give definition since the first two panels don't have the color separation to identify which is which.
Because the final piece is only 8"x10", the image section is only printed at a 5x7 size, and thus the boy in each is only perhaps 5" tall at best. Cutting the applique pieces was by far the most painstaking portion of each panel, though the actual applique process was not bad at all -- I used a fabric glue stick to glue the pieces in place, and then did simple raw edge machine applique, with my walking foot, using a gold Sulky thread.
The first panel includes only photos of my oldest son, the second has my second son with my first son, and the final has all three boys. I chose not to include photos of my middle son with my youngest son, in the middle frame, as I wanted to tell the story of one boy growing older, and I didn't want to introduce the third son until his panel. The final panel, though, does include photos of my youngest son by himself, with just my middle son with him, and with all three boys together, because in that panel I did want to show the dual roles of my middle son as both an older brother and a younger brother; on his panel, I wanted the focus on him as the younger brother.