My main job is teaching, not quilting, and I love when I can bring my quilting ability into my classroom. I teach British literature, and often my students get lost in the 2,000 or so years of timeline. Years ago I made a bunch of demotivational posters about the British monarchy to help my students know “where we are in time”. Those little posters have sparked many conversations, and they are definitely one of my best teaching tools.
However…there are 60 of them, and putting them up and down from my classroom walls repeatedly as I’ve changed rooms/schools has taken a toll. A while back I’d considered making a wall hanging instead of putting up the individual posters. I knew it would be an undertaking, though. When I found out I was moving from my trailer classroom (where there wasn’t enough room for them) to an indoor classroom, I decided it was finally time to undertake this project I’d been sitting on for several years.
I printed the posters onto fabric, and then I color-coded the historical periods/families.
Red: Stuart (Bright red embedded for Interregnum)
Purple: Saxe Coburg Gotha
Light Purple: Windsor
The last two are both purple because it’s the same family branch…just a name rebrand thanks to WWI.
I used fabric I already had on hand, some pretty green, yellow, and black shirting flannel. Between the front and the flannel backing and the huge size, the wall hanging was getting heavy, so I decided to leave out the usual batting and quilting.
In the end, I’m loving how it turned out! I can’t wait for my co-workers and students to see it.
This commission was unique in that it was a memory quilt for a sweet little dog, Munson, who had passed away. His owner was so sweet, and she loved him very dearly as was evidenced by her getting choked up just talking about him. Apparently he had a scarf for every occasion: Thanksgiving, Halloween, 4th of July, Christmas, and many other colors and patterns in between.
After taking a look at them, I realized there were so many variations of fabric and size that my options were limited. The best option to include them all was a crazy-quilt style design. I sorted the scarfs by occasion and/or color and went from there. The owner did give me one t-shirt that she wore, so I made it the centerpiece and worked around from there.
I like that she chose a light blue backing. It reminded me of the sky, and I thought it fitting. This was also one of the first times I’ve added a label onto the quilt. Hopefully I can remember to do it more often.
So here it is – the dog scarf memory quilt. I just love it, and it was wonderful to work with something new.
A friend of mine is expecting, and I was going to buy her a bib set as a small gift. But as I looked through the shelves over at the baby store, I just didn’t see anything that really struck me. So I finally told her I’d just go home and make one for her. I wanted to make her the kind of bib I would have loved when my kids were babies – a terry cloth back. I bought a gray towel from the store and headed home. From that towel, I was able to make 2 burp clothes and 4 bibs using a gray woodland themed fabric. I loved it, actually, so I decided that this could be another way to use some of those awkward-sized pieces of fabric. So I bought some terry cloth from JoAnn’s, but most of it came from cut up towels I’d bought.
I really got in to making them and worked on the bulk of them while watching Stranger Things 3 with my husband. I even put him to work turning them right-side out.
I’m happy with how they all turned out. I decided to stick to cutting up cheap towels because the terry cloth on the back had more plush than the terry cloth off the bolt at JoAnn’s.
I was approached by my neighbor with a commission idea for making a quilt for a retiring bishop in the Lutheran Southeastern Synod (this includes the area of Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi. Each congregation was asked to send in 1/2 a yard of quilting fabric. I decided to make the states look like a crazy quilt with each of the fabrics represented on the state somewhere. I’m in love with how it turned out!
Here’s the original image.
We also picked out his favorite verse, and I quilted it into the large open white area.
The real doozy was that globe shape in the middle. I was surprised that it took me way longer to do than expected.
Since some of the fabrics were more prominent than others on the state shapes, I went in and made sure each fabric was represented well on the back.
Overall, I’m very pleased with how it turned out. I think the good bishop is, too.
This bargello quilt was made for an artist friend who is expecting a little girl at the end of the summer. We’re all super excited for her, and I couldn’t wait to begin working on this.
The pattern is based off of the same bargello pattern I used earlier. I joked that changing the colors out might result in a northern lights effect. When I found out my friend was going for a stream-lined, Swedish decor for the nursery, I thought it might be a good time to try it. Not only that, but she likes to do encaustic paintings!
I found a jelly roll at JoAnn’s that had various blues with a touch of light green. Some of the fabrics in it had a shimmer, so I thought it was perfect. I ended up needing three of them to complete this quilt.
I sewed the stripes together like the pattern said, and then I pinned them up. The only thing I changed for this quilt is that I went up and down a 1/2″ between stripes instead of a 1/4″. I knew I needed the curves to be clear and more drastic than the ones I’d had in the rainbow version.
Here’s the finished top.
And here’s the video of my friend opening up the finished product. The back is gray with a slight gold shimmer. The nursery, as far as I understand, will have some gold accents, so I wanted to tie it in as best I could.
One thing about making t-shirt quilts and memory quilts is that I don’t often get the see the reaction of the actual recipient. I get to see how much the person who commissioned it likes it, but the actual recipient is rare.
So when a customer shares a picture with me of their quilt being loved by the recipient, I cherish it. I’ve gone through and collected some of my favorite pictures from over the years of people loving on their quilts that I made. It’s a good smile for a Friday.
A dear friend and fellow teacher and church member asked me to make memory quilts from her parents’ clothes. This commission was particularly loaded because I knew some of the back story and had seen at least some of the struggle this family faced.
The father had been through a long struggle with Lewy Body Dementia. As a side note, March is Lewy Body Dementia Awareness Month. For more information about this condition and the fight it involves, click here. Having seen the family go alongside the father in this fight, I knew it had taken a huge emotional toll. The mother’s passing was most unexpected. She was a huge figure in the Agnes Scott College community, and friends who I knew from different circles knew of her simply because they were Agnes Scott alumni. For more information on this fantastic college, click here. So yes, the family and community lost two special souls in a short amount of time.
So when my friend brought in three bags of sorted clothes to make three lap quilts, I knew this commission would need to be perfect. Before beginning this quilt, like many of my memory quilts for lost loved ones, I said my memory quilt prayer and then got to work.
The colors were chosen as an homage to both parents, green for dad and purple for mom. Of course, there are numerous shades of green and purple, so we had to get the right one.
After that was the layout and switching around anything that my friend wanted to shift.
Then I sent one picture of one of the pinned quilts and then a last picture of them all ready and folded up. I like to save the final reveal for in-person. We met up, and I was thrilled at how happy she was. It’s a strange hobby when tears mean a job well done.
She sent me follow up pictures of the quilts as they were gifted to her siblings and one of herself underneath her own quilt. Overall, it was a gratifying commission, and I’m thankful to have helped give a wonderful family some degree of comfort. Love you, Abby!