Every baby needs a quilt.
Some babies never grow very big, so their quilts are little.
But they are important, and mommies and daddies will never forget them.
So the mommies and daddies can hold onto the quilts, and love, and remember.
I hate Hate HATE miscarriage. Another sweet friend of mine lost a wanted child. This is the quilt I made for her, just about 18 inches square. (My toddler “helped” with the pictures!)
I want to make more of these. I have many friends who have struggled with losing their babies, and I have seen how powerful it is to validate and acknowledge those little lives – these children are real; they lived; they were loved; they matter; they are missed. There is no expiration date on grief, but the only thing I know to do is say, “I have not gone through what you are experiencing, but I am here with you, and I am hurting with you, too.”
After hoarding my stack of Alison Glass Handcrafted prints for a year or two, I finally cut into them. Ultimately, there is a twin-sized quilt in the works, but I couldn’t help making something lovely with the scraps!
It started out as a chance to play with curved piecing and evolved from there. The colors remind me of a sunset over the ocean, and the white IKEA print roughly evokes the shore. I have a friend that quilts without using any special feet, so I thought I’d give it a go and see what came about. Interestingly, it was much easier than using my walking foot! I had fun experimenting with quilting designs, particularly McTavishing, which I only recently learned about. It creates such a sense of movement! The colorful side’s quilting reminds me of stingray egg sacs, or maybe stylized crab claws. When it came to binding, I realized there were no straight lines anywhere in the quilt. But that’s just like the natural world! So I made sure to apply the binding in an ever-so-slight wave. I used a scrap of batik from who-knows-where, and unintentionally, the more solid bits edged the more colorful part of the quilt. Altogether, I love my little experiment! She finishes at roughly 14×26 inches and hangs proudly among other favorite artworks.
This one was just for me.
As I was scouting quilt blocks for Christmas gifts, I found that the Temecula Quilt Company was hosting a mini quilt-along during the first 12 days of December. I joined up, using a single fat quarter of a print I chose on our honeymoon. It was a skill building exercise, and I am pleased with the results – although the setting triangles didn’t turn out quite to plan. I think the wavy quilting goes nicely with the marbled print and offsets the precision (and lack thereof) nicely. I like it well enough to display on the mantle – a sweet reminder of the payoff of time and effort, even embracing imperfections as we grow. Hooray!
There is a wonderful woman I met a few years ago, right as I was about to make the biggest transition of my life and move countries. Her name is Jayne, and right from the beginning, she inspired me. I really hope one of these fabric manufacturers finds her the way Food Network found Giada – she is a star in the quilting world, and I admire her attitude and approach!
I gush. But it has a purpose! A few months ago, I began seeing “mini-mini” quilts come up in her Instagram feed. Impressed, and always looking for a little side project to keep chain piecing going, I decided to make a few of my own!
Each is smaller than 5 inches, most closer to 4. I played with piecing and quilting, though I could have been much more detailed on each. Each is self-bound with the backing, and this influenced my decisions on how to quilt each piece. It was a fun experience and so rewarding seeing them come together! I’ve never been one for perfection, but on a small scale, I feel motivated to grow my skills. Thanks, Jayne, for the inspiration!
This year I decided to go mini! Every sibling or couple got an 18-inch mini-quilt – with an envelope back to cover a pillow!
I had fun coming up with ideas for my husband’s and my siblings! Among them we have a crazy cat couple (block from Elizabeth Hartman), a family of five (letters from Temecula Quilt Co., hearts from Cluck, Cluck, Sew) , a member of the Air Force, and a world-traveling fashion aficionado.
For the 3 sets of parents, I chose this fair isle pattern and tried to capture everyone’s styles. My husband really loved how they turned out, so I may be creating some for us in the future.
I still had 2 to finish after Christmas, but with some friends, that’s ok. It ended up being just right for my friends who received the wacky little houses. Why? Because just at Christmas, these friends learned that their landlord put their home up for sale. This little quilt is a promise of provision!
As of yet, there is one gift left to give. My fellow quilter and close friend will get a little homage to her cat Luna. Starry quilting nods at the cat’s name, and the scrappy quilt reflects both my style and hers. The design is a modified version of this Fat Quarter Shop block. I can’t wait to deliver it and be done with Christmas once and for all!
Linking up with the 2015 Finish-A-Long!
How do you properly thank an extravagantly generous quilter? You make her a mini-quilt! In the past few months, I have three amazing friends who have given their time, talents, and joy to bless my family. Finding words was not enough, so instead I did a bit of research on what they enjoy – styles they use in their own work, photos they post, fabrics and textures and approaches – and attempted to make them something they would love. One of these will be delivered today, and the others await a trip to the post office, but hopefully they won’t mind spoilers!
“Follow the White Rabbit” was inspired by a quote from the original Matrix film. I like the sentiment of going on an adventure, following clues into the divine purpose of life, meeting unexpected characters, and having new experiences. Can you detect the hand-stitched rabbit trail through the quilting?
Next is a combination of traditional and modern for a Denyse Schmidt fan. I combined traditional hand-stitched cathedral window form with some of the newer, machine-stitched iterations I’ve seen in blog land. I like that the results aren’t too refined, but the hand-stitched elements reflect a lot of love.
Finally, my homage to the Caribbean island Dominica (pronounced dom-in-EEK-ah), the place where my friend grew up and recently visited again with her husband. She uses a lot of raw-edged appliqué and batiks in her work, so I played her way to reflect some of the beauties in her travel pictures. The island is more known for its jungle than its beaches, so I omitted the ocean and instead focused on the little towns and Mother and Father waterfalls inland. I had to add my friend’s favorite hibiscus and even a few scraps from the quilt I made her years ago. This one will be delivered today after another delivery is made… But more on that later.
I’ve really enjoyed making these minis! They are quite gratifying and fun with quick turn-around and payoff. They are also a great way to experiment with new techniques. I’m sure you will see more minis from me in the future!
This past week had me iced- and snowed-in for several days. The few days I did get to work were a delight as our clientele (i.e. the city’s poorest 3- to 5-year-olds) could not be bussed in. Thus, I had days on my sewing machine at home and days with portable projects! Oh, such glee and delight! I have several completions to report!
I have been sewing through my quilt resolutions, but on occasion, some spontaneity is needed. With the wintery weather, I felt blue for my second home in Newcastle, England. Putting my heart into action, I decided to make something for my English mama, a thank-you for precious breakfasts of dippy eggs and buttered toast soldiers and proper tea.
The block “Love in a Mist” seemed perfectly reminiscent of moist, windy English weather. That bunting print was too apt to chop up, so I modified the block slightly to compensate. I made two small blocks for a tea cosy and a 12-inch block for the table topper. That table topper got bigger and longer spontaneously (there’s that word again!) but I couldn’t help using as much bunting as I could, and I couldn’t get enough of that charcoal grey dot!
Both gifts are tucked away with a handwritten note, ready for a stop at the post office. There is something so indescribable about making something for someone you love, but I guess that is the point of creating: the creation speaks for you. These pieces are memories of kindness, appreciation for tenderness, a reflection of my DNA which now spans two continents in a way I could never have anticipated. It is a small thing, a small gift, but it is one more point of connection, and my heart feels so much in the giving.
Snow days are ideal for plumbing the depths of the heart and drawing it out into something beautiful, so many more emotional makes to come!