Archives for posts with tag: modern quilt

It’s simple.


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.”

Quilts heal.

I have not been blogging my sewing as I prepare for the holidays because I’m not sure who would peek! But there are a few things I’ve sewn and sent to friends in England, and as they’ve arrived already, I am free to tell the interwebs!


I actually cannibalized an unfinished quilt that just wasn’t working for me. These two quarter dresdens were salvageable and perfect for the personalities of two friends in Sunderland. I turned them into quilted cushion covers! My friends live in the same flat, so if these go in a sofa, they coordinate!


The other gift is actually a collaborative project for friends getting married this week! My accomplice across the pond made six large star blocks with a grey background using greens and blues. I sent along a little navy floral print for binding along with the batting, so once the two sets of stars come together, they will make a lovely little wedding throw! I think it’s appropriate that this quilt is being made on two continents as the couple are also international. I can’t wait to see it all done!

Hoping everyone likes their gifts and that they feel love from the sunny south!

I’m not one to create whole quilts from a single fabric designer, but this one is the exception!


It started with a Denyse Schmidt charm pack purchased in postpartum delirium. In the chaos of first-time motherhood, through emotions and hormones and sleeplessness, I needed a straightforward project, an anchor for my soul, my me-ness, something to get me sewing. 


The great thing about Denyse Schmidt is that her fabric lines tend to blend well together. I pulled all the bits and pieces I had in my stash, adding a few solids (of which I keep little on hand), and cut 5-inch squares. I could sit on the couch, newborn asleep across my lap, and play with matching prints to solids or sketching half-square triangle layouts. 



I call it “Transitions”. It speaks of the journey into motherhood, the way some things change and others stay the same at their core. I finished it with a grey Lotta Jansdotter binding and chunks of vintage sheets in the backing. It measures 49×56 inches. 

And this time, I’m not cropping out the quilt holder. Those hands held me as I fell to pieces, and those feet paced the wee hours with our swaddled son, and that heart encouraged me and did his best to understand. It has taken time, but we have come through it a family, bound together and beautiful, reflecting effort well-spent and growing love. 

It’s pieces like these that make me so thankful for the luxury of being a quilter, that I have the ability to distill these bits of soul into practical, wonderful works. I can look at this quilt and remember how very hard those first months were, but they became something lovely after all.

Oh, this one was long in the making.

  
I began cutting early last year.

  
It was my in-between project, something to do just a bit on as I stitched other, more pressing pieces.

   
 
I didn’t bother calculating the hours or the amount of fabric used.

  
I just went with my guts, and more and more meaning came to be as I worked.

  
Even the final detail – going back through and hand-tying each block – was important, solidifying. (Photo is blown out on purpose – it’s so hard to see the black-on-black otherwise!)

  
The back has as much significance as the front. It references adventures together, cities and firsts-of-its-kind, extravagance of hard-to-find hoarded yards (yep, that’s Jay McCarroll in there!), colors of rust and fire and hipsterrific flesh tones. 

  
That’s 80 blocks total, finishing at 60×75 inches post-wash. I love every bit of it, and even more the friend who owns it now.

Although she and I used to run in the same circles, hopping the Pond together on more than one occasion, it is harder and harder for our lives to intersect in person. Thus, when we finally found time to get out in the woods together, I knew I had to finish in time. I asked her to help me hold the quilt while I took pictures. It wasn’t until I asked her to find the dedication did she realize it was for her!

  
And it just happened to be National Quilting Day! Such a precious, unforgettable way to celebrate!

This quilt is entitled “Ex –> Plus / Inheritance” because it is a directive over her life:  every place that has been an “ex” is being transformed into something positive, every place someone has judged her or cut her off or used her badly is turning into beauty that is firm and lasting. And this is the inheritance she is building for future generations. I am so thankful to be part of her story, so glad she has not only a tangible representation of my love for her but of the Great Love, in whom we live and move and have our beings, who orders our steps and redeems even the greatest pains.

I’m a bit behind on my blogging as this was finished on St. Patrick’s Day!   

    
   
I had such fun with #QuiltNon2016 that I went ahead and finished my piece with my sampler blocks (thanks again, Julie!)! At first I was planning on stitching in the ditch, but that quickly became too cumbersome. So I decided to pull out the darning foot and try something I hadn’t attempted in years – good ol’ free motion! It took me awhile to get the hang of it, but the piece was just perfect – not too wide, and I could roll and unroll to a new section as I wiggled and waggled through a meander. I finished the red block last, and I’m happy to see improvement as I progressed. I even had a #QuiltNon2016-inspired backing – my “what was I thinking” fabric!

I love little projects that finish quickly! It’s a nice reward in the midst of bigger endeavors. Right now this rainbow is hanging among other minis, but I could easily see it as a table runner one day when we have a table big enough!

Oh, this is a special one.

  

It began with redemption and forgiveness, with the belief that truth ultimately wins, but in the meantime, there’s no reason to be idle.

  
It became a gift of love, as quilts always are, but this time the hours really were countless, combining handwork and machine like I’ve rarely done before.

   
The quilting is somewhat spontaneous, a Kraken-like creature with movement and energy.

 
And the top, well, I love it’s frenetic, imperfect sponteneity. 

During the last 3 months of my pregnancy, I unexpectedly had some extra time on my hands. I used it to hand-cut and -piece 16 Farmer’s Wife blocks. Later, I combined them with extra elements into a baby quilt for some of our dearest friends’ first child. It finished at 37×39 inches, and I added a second layer of batting scraps to give it extra tummy-time softness. For the first time, I quilted the entire thing with my regular foot – and it did great! 

It is rare for me to work in all solids. These particular colors remind me of graphic novels – superheroes and anti-heroes and bold, grim realities in need of justice. Not coincidentally, our friends are comic fans, and artists, too. “Pow!” seemed like an apt title to reflect this, as well as the power and vigor of new baby life.

The little one was born a few days ago, so I hustled to get done. They live too far for us to visit easily, but this package is now on its way, carrying our love and joy with it! Looking forward to the day when we can all be together again – baby boys in tow!

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.

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!

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!

   
    
 
Hooray! Another goal completed! A few years ago, I was part of the Sew Blues Bee and requested bow tie blocks. I had the top pieced before moving to England in 2013, so it sat safely in storage while I was away. Gracious Maria did a phenomenal job long-arming it, playing with rosettes and textures to set off the one raspberry ring. As I type, I’m cuddled under it on the couch (feeling tiny punches and kicks on my innards!), loving the drapiness created by the dense lines and flowing loops. I grew so much in my sewing through that bee, and as some of the ladies included extra bow ties using their own fabrics, I feel their kindness and camaraderie through it! 

Linking up with the 2015 Finish-A-Long!