Boy Scout Lap Quilt

A while back I made an Eagle Scout Quilt, and I had a fair amount of the Riley Blake Modern Scouting fabric leftover. I wanted to try something different, something a little more chaotic and less predictable. It’s been a while since I’d gone with a mosaic design. I also had varying amounts of the fabric samples left, so I added in some solids to balance out the patterns. Overall, it was fun and took very little work up front with the planning. I just cut out squares of 9″, 6″, and 3″ and arranged them as balanced within each square as I could.

It has a green flannel backing. And in the end, I had enough to make two!

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Theater T-shirt Quilt

This quilt was fun and a definite break from my usual mold. We divided the shirts into color families. I knew the some of them had rather big designs, and I wanted to make sure nothing “cool” was left out. For some of them, I just cut the central image in half and made sure each was still in. I rather like the crazy-quilt-shadow-box combo.

A fun bonus is that the white section is excellent for signatures! And can I begin to say how much I just LOVE the neat green and gold scroll design on the backing fabric?!

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The Value of Handmade Gifts

This is an article I wrote a while back for our community magazine last fall. I wanted to share it on the blog as well.

The holiday season is upon us, and people are already beginning to buy gifts to give – if they haven’t started already. Gift-giving is an art form in and of itself, and it takes many factors into consideration: age, cost, usefulness, etc. The best gifts can also remind the recipient about the giver as well, and this is where a unique group of gift-givers excel – the handmade gifts.

It’s a common misconception that handmade gifts are low cost or even “cheap.”  But nothing could be further from the truth.  When someone takes the time to buy/collect supplies and craft an item specifically for a loved one, that takes a personal investment that simply cannot be duplicated in an item purchased from a store.  Not to say that bought items aren’t special because, of course, they can also be cherished.  But there is something about a handmade gift that endures beyond its time and even beyond the item itself.  Some of my favorite pieces of furniture, while not the most attractive, are special to me simply because my great-grandfather made them. And as of the last several years, they are also a lasting memory as the man himself is no longer with me. So what is it about a handmade item that gives it that lasting power? The explanation is more profound than one might first think.

In 1992 Gary Chapman released his book The Five Love Languages. He identifies five areas where people express their love for others as well as how they feel the most loved.  These areas include Acts of Service, Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, and Physical Touch. As a quick review, Acts of Service translate to doing nice things for a person, like washing their dishes or mowing the lawn.  Words of Affirmation simply mean a person likes to be told how much they matter.  Quality time can mean a date or any one-on-one time. My eight-year-old daughter feels most loved when we spend time together, so a trip alone with her to the grocery store can help her feel connected and loved. Receiving Gifts doesn’t mean that a person is greedy – just that a gift, no matter how small, is a gesture that means more than just the item itself.  My sister showed her love to her friends every year as a child by spending her birthday money on Christmas gifts for them.  And she is so very proud when she knows she has found THE perfect gift for someone. And Physical Touch doesn’t have to be overly dramatic.  It could be as simple as hand holding.  My six year old son feels loved if we are sitting beside one another while watching a movie.  As long as some knee or foot is touching me, he feels loved. And while it is possible that some gestures can fall across multiple areas, I can only think of one thing that combines all five.

A handmade gift is unique in that it covers multiple Love Languages.  The act of making it with a specific person in mind, the time spent on designing and crafting it, and even a sweet note accompanying it all touch on multiple routes wherein people feel loved. It says over and over again, “I love you.” A person made this item specifically for that person, spent time on it, made it with their own touch, gave it freely to that person, and it often includes an explanation or sweet note with it.  A handmade gift has the potential to say “I love you” in all five Love Languages. And in that, it is no small feat.

So if you are lucky enough to receive a handmade gift this holiday season, take a moment and realize exactly what you have been given.  It isn’t a mere item or token.  It certainly isn’t cheap. It is the ultimate expression of what it means to love another person from every conceivable angle.  Honor the handmade gift for it was made with love.

Doll Quilts

I’ve been sitting on this project for a while because it would give away a surprise. However, I learned that the gift has been bestowed and was given permission to post away!

I played around with the notion of doll quilts for 18″ dolls and came up with these after finding some diamond cuts left over from a previous project. I’m thrilled they’re being put to use, and I can’t wait to see what all I can come up with on down the road!

I am loving the central star design, but I don’t think I’m ready to make a quilt bigger than this using it. I’ve enjoyed the more traditional look of them, though. They’ve been posted on Etsy already. You can find them by clicking here.

Wine Silhouette Quilts

Disclaimer – I LOVE silhouettes. I am fascinated by the idea of how something so simple can convey so much, especially with people. I’ve experimented a lot with them in previous quilts: Star Wars lightsaber duels, Disney Princesses, Hocus Pocus, Darth Vader, Luke Skywaker, and Rey and BB8. From there, I began playing with jelly rolls and making some half-and-half images: guitar quilts and viola quilts.

I’ve had a wine-themed jelly roll for a while now and finally figured out how I wanted to approach it. I’m proud to say I free-handed the wine bottle and the wine glass. I added a burgundy border around them to make them more lap quilt size instead of wall quilt size. One of them was claimed pretty quickly, but the other one is still up for grabs.

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Quilt Reconstruction

A friend from church messaged me earlier in December and asked if I might be up for possibly fixing her long-loved quilt that her grandmother made her. I’m friends with the grandmother, and we talk shop about quilts all the time.
She sent me a picture of the original top before the quilt was finished.  It was made of bright 2″ squares and was scrappy in design.  Cute as could be.

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Then she sent me pictures of the back and the damage that had come from pretty constant use.  Once I had my hands on it, I noticed that many of the squares in the front were also shredding.  In fact, the quilt itself had almost been loved to death – the ultimate compliment for any quilter.

The first step was to disassemble the quilt.  This was actually easier than anticipated because it was a tied quilt.  I actually brought a seam ripper with me to my grandmother’s and got to work while she and I were chatting after Christmas. I separated the front from the back and batting and removed any squares beyond repair.

When I returned home, I used squares already cut from my own scrap stash that would blend in easily color-wise. Then I added a layer of white fabric underneath the top. This gave the thin top layer something to “hold on” to and to take the stress of the thread off of that thinner fabric. I found out from a previous reconstruction that it can also help revive some of those faded colors. It did result in a heavier quilt, though, especially since I’d changed it from the original polyester batting to cotton.

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From there, I had to pick a different backing as the store didn’t sell that same pattern anymore. I found one pattern that was closer in color, but it was thinner, and I didn’t want to be right back where we were again so soon.  So in the end, I chose a brighter green pattern that was a bit thicker and would last longer.

The quilting on this one needed to be closer, especially on the squares that still had some damage. I went with a stipple pattern because it would help when some squares needed extra quilting, and it would even out any misalignment from the top being pulled into shape and the old fabric stretching more. Pretty much every square has at least two lines of quilting running through it.

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In the end, I’m pretty proud of it, but I’ll admit I held my breath a bit when I put it in my washer and dryer.  But it turned out fine, and I am confident that it will stand up to many more uses to come.

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Related Blogs and Posts:

DIY Quilt Repair/Reconstruction

Saving the Double Wedding Ring Quilt: Vintage Linens and Trims to the Rescue!

Saving the Pink Fan Vintage Quilt

 

Flower Fairy Quilt

For as long as I can remember, I have loved the late Victorian style fairy illustrations, especially those of Cicely Mary Barker. They were enchanting in their simplicity and dreamy color pallets. This would explain why I couldn’t help myself when I came across a fabric panel featuring three pink flower fairies. I normally don’t use fabric panels in my works, but this was so pretty that I couldn’t resist. I bought this fabric months ago and am only now getting around to using it. I also found some purple fabric that also featured a smaller flower fairy design, but they were more of a nighttime look.

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Originally, I was going to incorporate the purple fabric as a border around the pink panel, but I decided that it just wasn’t complimentary to either fabric. They were both so pretty that they needed their own space. After some quick measuring, I realized I had enough to make the purple fabric the backing to the pink panel.

For the pink panel, I added some greens to accentuate the leaves and then one last pink border to tie it all together.  I wasn’t expecting the corners to be as awesome and picture frame looking as they were, but I’m delighted and might use that design again in other quilts.

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