My grandfather, Eric Reichl, died in 2014 just weeks shy of his 101st birthday. I took this timed photo of him and me a few years prior to his death. I adored him. He spent much of his life working as a chemical engineer on the research side of things. He always had a book in hand and never stopped being curious about the world – history, science, and economics being his favorites. He could sketch a map or a diagram on demand with efficient, sharp lines. Even though it has been years, my son still has the hand drawn multiplication table my grandfather drew for him at the age of four.
His sturdy, plaid, button-down shirts were his signature garb – always with a pen and his glasses in the breast pocket. After he died, I boxed up a collection of his shirts, knowing that one day, I would make a few quilts with them. His widow asked if I would make a small one for her, and better late than never, I finally finished it.
I felt that the design for his quilt needed to reflect his dedication and love of chemistry, math, and science without being too literal. I decided the Bowtie quilt pattern offered many options depending on various fabric placement layouts. I came up with this one and chose it for its waves of energy that emanate from the center.
The familiarity of working with his shirts filled me with memories of him.
As it started to take shape, it definitely reminded me of a diagram he would have made.
Here is the final quilt. I chose not to have it quilted. Rather, I tied it with the buttons from his shirts.
Here are some details.
As I knew it would be, the process of making this quilt was characterized by sweet sadness and a sense of peace.