Wrapped Up in Love (Part I)

When my husband passed away, my life changed forever. But, it wasn’t just me whose life changed forever that day; he has two beautiful daughters in their mid-twenties who lost their awesome Dad way too soon. He also has a now 2-year-old granddaughter who won’t have a memory of the grandpa that was so enamored with her. And his brother lost his only sibling. Not a day has gone by that I haven’t given thought to the loss they all feel as well.

I knew I wanted to make something for his daughters as a special memory of their Dad–using his clothes, the signature jeans and t-shirts he lived in. I’m not a fan of traditional t-shirt quilts, and the carpenter jeans he wore to work every day were so a part of his persona, I really wanted to incorporate the denim as well. I found this inspiration quilt — and at a retreat in October, I started making a quilt for each daughter with the idea of finishing them for Christmas.

I finished most of the top for his youngest that weekend:

EliceTop1It includes pieces of t-shirts from places they toured together, a camp they shared memories of, from her college, there’s even a hammer loop from one of his pairs of carpenter jeans (both quilts have pockets from carpenter jeans, button plackets from his shirts, t-shirt collars, etc.):

EliceQuilt1There is some Minnesota fabric in each quilt (their home state), and of course, plaid flannel, another staple of his wardrobe:

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EliceQuilt3The label on each quilt (on the front bottom right) is a banjo–an instrument he taught himself to play over the past few years.

LabelI finished the second quilt top on a sewing weekend in early December:

LacyTop1His oldest was on the first Des Moines based roller derby team, so his Derby Dames t-shirt went into her quilt, as well as a few others that I knew would be meaningful to her:

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LacyQuilting2I used some Chambray in both quilts for the look of denim without making the quilt too heavy:

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LacyQuilt1The quilting is an overall pattern of music notes and meandering. The backing is Navy minky, because I wanted these quilts to be something they could snuggle up in; a comfort quilt. Trina helped me get these quilted in the last few days before Christmas.

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Here is a full shot of both quilts, photos I took before gifting them and then lost when I got a new phone a few days later. This collage was the only photo that survived because I had posted it to Facebook. Oops. Thankfully the girls each emailed me a few photos of their finished quilts so I could show them here. Collage3

Frank would have thought these quilts were so cool, as he would the quilt I’m planning to show you in my next post, it makes me smile to imagine what his reaction would’ve been. I hope they bring a little bit of that same comfort to his girls.

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Coming Soon: Iowa Quilting Events

If you are near Northern Iowa, you might want to consider signing up for NIACC’s Quilting Treasures: Workshop for Quilters on Saturday, September 27, 2014.

Yours truly will be the Keynote speaker, along with my business partner

Quilting Postcard 2014 copyTo register, call or email the contact information on the image above.

And of course, AQS Des Moines is just around the corner. You can see my Diamond Dust Quilt up close and personal in the AQS Juried part of the show:

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And I’m supposed to be moving to a new town home somewhere in the midst of all of this… wish me luck!

Happy Sewing, 

Doris

Freelance Adventures

Occasionally, I have the opportunity to work on projects outside of my University job and my quilt pattern design business, that utilize my editorial skills or some other skill in my toolbox. In Fall 2013, I edited quilt patterns for a magazine publication, and the patterns for Mary Fons upcoming book. In the publishing world, one works on projects so far in advance, that it’s a fun reminder to see them again when they become reality! Her book will finally be released in May…

Make + Love Quilts By Mary Fons

(Click on the book cover to go to Amazon and have a look see inside!)

Working with Mary was a treat; we corresponded mostly via email, once or twice by phone I think. She’s full of joy and enthusiasm and it’s nearly impossible for some of that to not rub off on you. Here’s the video she shared about promoting her new book in NYC:

Mary Fons Book Promotional Video No. 1 from Mary Fons on Vimeo.

So proud of her finishing this book and I’m looking forward to holding it in my hands. Congratulations, Mary!

I also made a quilt recently for another freelance project, my sweetie said it might be his favorite of all the quilts I’ve made (not sure what appealed to him, but he does like vintage and this is made from 30s prints and Moda shirtings) I never did get a great photo of it, but this gives you an idea of the project…

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Maybe one day I’ll be able to make a living with the pattern design and freelance work. I’d be thrilled to work from home. However, giving up those full-time benefits would not be easy. Until then, I’ll continue to be grateful for my job and the great people I get to work with.

Happy sewing,

Doris

How procrastination led to a happy accident

I love a good challenge; and I jumped at the chance to join in the Riley Blake Challenge. These fat eighths (approx. 9″ x 22″) were given to us in October (photo courtesy of the Boston MQG website):

Riley Blake Challenge Fabrics

So I had three months to make something quilted using these prints, solid fabrics and additional Riley Blake prints. The deadline even was extended at one point.  But naturally, I started cutting into them about five weeks ago, a full 3 months after these prints were given to me. I had grand ideas to do something to play up the radial design in the orange print, akin to what Linda did. But I changed my mind many, MANY times. An elaborate design, including many small circles, was NOT going to happen in five short weeks.

When I did finally cut into the fabric I was still undecided, so I just cut a bunch of squares and started piecing half-square triangles using Riley Blake stripes, chevrons, ombre dots, a few prints from an Ashbury Heights charm pack I had, a fun red jigsaw puzzle print, and a few different grey/taupe solids from my stash. I focused on using the orange, navy and the greys from the original fabric pack.

Rile Blake Challenge HSTs

As I sewed my squares up into HSTs, an idea popped into my head, so I sat down and drew it out on graph paper. Then I scooped everything up and took it with me to retreat that weekend; where I sewed, pressed, and trimmed for two days straight.  The final design is a throw 64″ x 75″:

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UPDATE 2/19/14: My quilt was selected as one of the Top 10 in the Modern Quilt Guild Riley Blake Design Challenge, here! Lots of beautiful entries–I’m honored & humbled to have my quilt chosen.

Once I had the top made and a back pieced together, I passed it off to my business partner, Trina, to quilt on her long-arm. Trina had just gotten a copy of Judi Madsen’s new book that week, and she wanted the opportunity to play with the large areas of negative space I created. She outdid herself…

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See how she created shadow HSTs, including quilting the chevron design, the polka dots, and the jigsaw puzzle fabric design? Seriously amazing.

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I used many of the prints from the front to piece the back, along with two cream solids from my stash:

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The binding is navy solid. These pics were taken before the quilt was washed an blocked. Now it’s washed, soft, crinkly and oh so beautiful! Had I not procrastinated, and started this challenge before the holidays, I would have ended up with a very different design. And Trina probably wouldn’t have asked to quilt my challenge quilt. And I wouldn’t have ended up with this amazing quilt. Serendipitous.

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Happy Sewing,

Doris

What a Gem!

On Christmas Eve, this little pumpkin turned a year old:

Gemma 1st Birthday

She’s our grandbaby, Gemma. I started a quilt for her a while ago (Hubby and I picked out most of the fabric together before she was born) but I always give myself until the first birthday to finish and gift a baby quilt. In Gemma’s case, I gifted the quilt to her on her 1st birthday.

I used the Gem Block, lavender prints with a scrappy yellow background:

 Full Shot Gemma What a Gem Quilt

 Gemma What a Gem Quilt

I was trying to design applique into the front when I started this project, but I ended up adding an appliqued monogram to the flannel back instead:

Gemma Quilt Back

Gemma Quilt Back Detail

The G was machine-appliqued on, prior to quilting:

Gemma Quilt Applique Detail

 Gemma What a Gem Quilt

The quilt measures 36″ x 45″, 18 (9″) Gem Blocks and 2 Accent Blocks. I used six different purples (lavenders) and 5 different yellows on the front, the back is a Moda flannel and the “G” monogram is a tone-on-tone Peter Rabbit print from my stash.

Here’s a shot of the little cutie pie modeling with her quilt (she’s wearing a hoodie with buttons all over it, for her Christmas visit to Grandpa & Grandma’s house!):

Gemma & Her Quilt

Happy Birthday, Gemma!