The garden that took a long time to grow.

This quilt is another 2014 finish I have yet to blog about, but it was started waayyyyyy before 2014. I bought the fabric to make my niece a quilt when she was 8-9 months old (May 2012). Here she is at my mom’s house, lovin’ on the fabric:

ZoeFabric

There is another shot taken just before this one where she is sitting up looking at the camera with a big cheesy grin. Then she just kept snuggling the fabric on the floor. Yep, I completely understand, Z–I feel the same way about new fabric.

I started cutting hexagons for her quilt in July 2012 at my Gruber’s retreat in Minnesota using a friend’s Go! Cutter and this die I bought:GoCutterHexagon

I only cut the large hexagon, not the two smaller sizes.

In the meantime, I had used some of the fabric I bought to make Z this sweet pillow for her 1st birthday using our One Big Cabin owl applique, and I made a matching valance for her new bedroom… y’know, to match the quilt she didn’t yet have. 😉

I didn’t really have a pattern in mind when I started cutting hexagons, but shortly after that retreat, I came across Terry Atkinson’s Hexie Garden pattern, and I knew that was meant to be Z’s quilt.

I worked on it at a few more retreats, and naturally, adapted the pattern a bit (because I have a hard time sticking to a pattern), added a double border, and eventually had it ready to gift to her for her 3rd birthday last August. It’s twin size, perfect since she was moved to a big girl bed that very same week:

ZoeQuilt1

The center of the hexagon flowers are a light grey print from Sunkissed by Sweetwater for Moda, the purple triangles are Tiny Diamonds by Dear Stella, and the flower “petals” all came from my scrap bin, mostly scraps from my Candied Hexagon quilt.

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The quilting is a computerized Innova design, and includes butterflies, flowers, dragonflies, bumblebees… truly perfect for this quilt, and this sweet girly-girl.

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I used leftovers on the back, leftovers from the valance and pillow, and the front of the quilt, and a few coordinating pieces from my stash.

ZoeQuiltBack

One of my favorites is this Valentine print, tiny X’s and O’s with little hearts hanging inside each O:

ZoeQuiltBackDetail

Z is the child I believe should have been named Joy, because she is THE poster child for living a joy-filled life. She’s kind of a party waiting to happen, very sweet and kind, almost always smiling and enjoying herself. I hope she stays that way, always.

Zoe&HerQuiltThat’s her on birthday #3, when I gifted her the quilt. She gets lots of goodies from Aunt Doris, handmade and purchased–it doesn’t hurt that she knows how to melt her auntie’s heart.

Happy Quilting,

Doris

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Wrapped in Love (Part II)

When one goes through difficult and dark times, you find out who your friends really are. I’ve been reminded in countless ways that I am greatly blessed and surrounded by caring, loving friends.

My Des Moines MQG friends started making a quilt for Frank as soon as he was diagnosed. In addition, they dropped off a gift card for me each week to use at a healthy grocery store/restaurant near the hospital. When he passed away two weeks later, they decided to finish the quilt anyway, and give it to me. I finally attended a meeting again a few months later, when they presented it to me:photoFrank played the banjo, guitar, and mandolin and was as interested in music as I am fabric. He knew very little about quilts when we started dating, and I remember us visiting a small neighboring town, and they happened to have a mini quilt show on display in the Public Library. He asked a lot of questions, about what makes a quilt a quilt, the layers, the process, block names. He even read some of my quilting books over the years, learned to identify certain traditional blocks (so he could impress my friends by knowing the lingo), and enjoyed visiting quilt shops with me just to see “how one differed from the next”. The fact that this quilt combines his hobby and my hobby–he would have been over the moon for it!

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Twelve different members contributed banjo and guitar blocks on light backgrounds, one member pieced the blocks together, another member pieced the back (using some musical quotes and sheet music fabric:

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QuiltBackLabelthen they passed it along to another member who quilted it (using echoing lines to give it the feel of the music reverberating). There is a label on the back with all of their names.

I love the details in some of these instruments:BanjoCollage1The inside of that red banjo (above) says “hope” the brown and blue banjo (top right) says “pure grace” on the bridge (at the bottom of the strings). The guitar below has tiny musical notes inside the sound hole:GuitarBanjoCollage3

GuitarCollage1It’s a shame he never got to see this quilt, he would have been so impressed and so touched. I am. It reminds me of him, and as I said, the fact that it combines our favorite hobbies makes it all the more special.   QuiltFrontBottomCenterThank you, again, for everything.

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.

Couldn’t Resist Sharing…

As a follow-up to Friday’s post:
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Yea, it would be even more hilarious if it weren’t so to the point.  Creatives, Sewists, Quilters, Seamstresses, Designers, Artists (whatever you label yourself):  Value yourself, your time, and your expertise enough to charge appropriately for IT. 

And my sister’s friend sent a photo of her daughter, Amelia, the adorable little recipient of the Lilly Pilly quilt I made:

Amelia and Her Quilt

This was taken after I left their home, when she stopped jumping on the quilt and bed, and was admiring her new treasure.  Makes my heart smile. 🙂

100 Wishes

BLOGTOBERFEST, Day 23

In December, I mentioned that I was helping my SIL, Lesley, make her first quilt.  It is a 100 Wishes quilt, for the son they adopted from China just before last Christmas, my sweet nephew Caleb.

In Northern China, where Caleb hails from, it is customary to invite friends and family to contribute a patch of cloth with a wish for the baby. Part of the patch of cloth goes into the quilt, and the other part of the cloth is kept in a scrapbook along with the wish for the child. The quilt contains the luck, energy, and good wishes from all the families and friends who contributed fabric; hence the name, a 100 Good Wishes Quilt.  Great idea, right?  Well, many adoptive families carry on this tradition to commemorate welcoming a new little one into their family.

Lesley had never made a quilt before, but she was determined to make one of these for their son.  She started collecting fabric about six months before they traveled to China to meet him and bring him home.  I helped her decide on a block, and a layout, and answered questions for her as needed (usually via the telephone).  Her project is an ambitious one, Caleb has a full size bed, so this first quilt is a LARGE quilt.

She had cut and sewn every block herself with fabric donated from friends and family, and while they were in China last December, I squared them all up for her, and got them ready for piecing.  I also made the two special embroidered blocks to surprise her with at Christmas.

Last month, I agreed to help Lesley with the layout of the quilt, and instruct her on the next step — piecing the rows together.  We realized we needed a few more blocks to make it the size we wanted, so we pulled out the fabrics and pieced 13 more blocks.

Caleb is fascinated with how things work.  Once he saw the sewing machine come out, he was not the least bit interested in playing with his brother and his cousins — he wanted to know more about this strange looking machine, and more importantly, use it himself!  Above, I am explaining to him how the sewing machine works, and he did not leave my side for the rest of the afternoon.  He even sewed a few seams, pressed blocks, and the best part — helped us decide on the layout of his quilt:

He loved this task, and he was so proud of his work:

and see the border fabrics being auditioned in that photo?  That was Caleb’s doing.  Somehow he knew that is what you do, take your big pieces of fabric and try them out along the sides of the quilt to “audition” borders:

This day was a treat for his Mom and I; neither of us had any idea that Caleb would be involved in the making of his own quilt top.  But like I said, his natural curiosity for learning new things, especially when there is any kind of technology involved, kept him with us all afternoon.  I am so proud of this boy, he might actually be the one I get to teach how to quilt and sew!

His Mom, Lesley, has since sewn her rows together, and she needs to add the borders, piece a back out of the leftover fabrics, and have it quilted.

On December 16th, it will be one year since he came home, and became a citizen of the United States.  Since that time; he celebrated his 5th birthday, attended a semester of pre-school, had surgery to fix his cleft palate, began speaking English, started kindergarten this fall, and joined a soccer team.  I’m sure there are a hundred other important milestones I haven’t mentioned here. He loves his big brother, and Daddy and Mama, adores his grandparents and other extended family members. It’s hard to remember that just one year ago, he was only a little boy in a photograph, from the other side of the World, that we all looked forward to meeting.  He fits so well, it seems like he’s been a part of our family forever.

Girlish Charm

I first posted about this quilt here, as UFQ #7…
It looks different than the pattern in the magazine, I made all the blocks, lay them out on the floor and it looked like a muddied mess. So, I pulled out my sketch book and came up with a new layout, creating a row quilt instead. It’s huge, like 98 x 100, and therefore hard to get a shot of in my little home. It’s made from 40-50 Amy Butler Charm fat quarters, and the floral fabric between the rows is from her first Midweat Modern line.
I made a pieced back (sorry, no photos!) using a pale pink Kona Cotton and scraps from the top.
The bias binding is made as well, but it won’t get quilted until 2009, when my long-arm quilting fund is built back up! But I consider this a completed UFQ at this point!

Maggy decided to make herself an autumn decoration the other day…
She blends in quite well, no? HAPPY TURKEY DAY from Maggy and Me!