As a Mother’s Day gift for my Mom, I made her a little quilted wall hanging that explains the story of her relationship with my step Dad in three easy steps: Where he’s from (NM), where she’s from (WV) and where they live together (TN). I was never a fan of math in school, but it makes sense to me.
I know a little boy who joined the checkers club at his school and is a big Seattle Seahawks fan. One of the very finest things about being able to sew is having the ability make him his very own Seattle Seahawks checkerboard and combine his loves! I gathered fabrics and realized that red checkers looked awful with Seahawks colors. I ordered a set of replacement checker pieces that came in dark and light wood tones. It was perfect, and allowed me to deconstruct and personalize their little storage bag, too.
I had a slight moment of panic when I finished the board. I tried to set up the pieces and laid them out in two solid rows, like chess pieces. There weren’t enough, and for a minute I was just sure that I used the wrong number of squares! But then I realized what I had done, felt ridiculous and relieved, and took the picture. I’m very happy to have a unique gift to give my young friend!
Kaori’s Hugs and Kisses quilt is back from the quilt shop! I understand a little better now about the long wait to get a quilt back since they let “emergency quilts” (like the Healing quilt) jump the quilting line, but it still so hard to wait to see the quilting. I could really see the time involved when I compared the trees in these pictures:
So it’s back, and now it’s gone, on it’s way to Kaori! Kaori and I have been through a lot together. We met online and have been penpals for I think about thirteen years. We’ve gone from being Moms of small children to Moms of adults and teens, we’ve celebrated and mourned together, worried and laughed together. She even sent her oldest daughter Anna to live with us for a summer! We dream of one day visiting each other and doing wonderfully ordinary everyday things in each other’s company, because we’ve been side by side so many times in our imaginations.
When I first decided I should learn to quilt, I made three little “trial” quilts. Kaori received this one from me because it features wild animals that live here in West Virginia.
I learned basic quilt construction, including scary binding, and Kaori got a tiny little quilt. I still get to see it in pictures from her house, with her cat, bunny, kids, husband and self all around it. So it’s no wonder that when I got better at quilting, I wanted her to have a “real” one.
I found a tutorial for a quilt called Hugs and Kisses at Little Miss Shabby and thought it was a wonderful start. I wanted to make a scrappy quilt so she could have a taste of “ordinary life” through my fabrics, but I also threw in a layer cake of Honey Honey by Kate Spain for Moda. The addition of these fabrics let me kind of choose a happy color palate while still keeping the “throw it all in there” feel to the quilt.
A fun thing about this quilt is that I got to use fabrics Kaori sent me! So it was a gift from her to me, that became a gift from me to her … and fabrics that traveled from Japan to West Virginia got to travel back home and bring their friends, too. Sometimes we are jealous of how easily “stuff” can visit back and forth!
This Hugs and Kisses design also felt right for Kaori because she has a trellis on her balcony, and I see the shape of it as much as I see X’s and O’s. :)
When my Mom visited while I was sewing blocks, she pointed out that she recognized the fabrics that she’d given me, that they seemed to “pop” right off the quilt to be noticed. I feel that way about all my fabrics, too, that feeling of recognition. This makes a scrappy quilt all that more personal, I think. And with many of the fabrics, I also think of a person who received something from that fabric, like I can’t see the fabric without connecting that person to it in my mind. So I feel like I’m sending little bits of friends and family to Kaori, too. Since we share many friends and know each other’s families, this seems just right.
So until the day when I can visit her myself, I hope she will enjoy the company of her new quilt and know that I count her as a friend as well as family!
My lovely niece Alexis requested this quilt after learning that the father of two of her good friends at school had been diagnosed with leukemia. We worked together to come up with a design we liked. She wanted something simple, in part because we wanted to work quickly, and it needed to be suitable for a man. I set up a Etsy favorites list with sample fabrics and possible quilt designs and we texted back and forth with ideas. We chose a Quiltcon bundle of fabrics, which I’ll try to link here once the shop is back from vacation. The colors are bright and happy, and not “girly”. We started with a plan of cheerfully random half square triangles, and I started cutting and sewing.
As I was sewing, I prayed for him and thought about him sitting under the quilt. I started to imagine our prayers laying over him, and realized I could make a border of gray along the sides and let the riot of colors in the middle visually represent our prayers. When he lays under the quilt, the colors will cover his body, so he can see our prayers for his health. My niece liked the idea, so our random quilt became more focused and found its name, the Healing quilt.
I explained the situation to my quilt shop and asked if it were possible to get “rush quilting” done. I was told they do let emergency quilts jump the line — who knew there were emergency quilts?! — and so this has become my 30th quilt instead of Kaori’s Hugs and Kisses quilt. The quilt shop was finished in one week, and it took only 30 days from the day Alexis asked me to make a quilt to the day I handed it to her. (Previously unheard of from this full time working Mom!)
So the quilt is off to its new owner in Tennessee. I don’t know if he’ll realize the backing was picked because it’s the colors of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, where his kids attend school with Alexis. (I also threw in just a few extra orange and white half square triangles, not an obvious amount but maybe just enough to ensure that a true fan might feel drawn to the quilt.) I do hope this will help him see that he is loved and cherished, and that many, many people are hoping he’ll soon be well again.
And just because I couldn’t help it, I took a picture of the Healing quilt with my not-quite-finished dining room wall. I pulled many of the colors in the wall directly from the quilt fabrics.
I just got Ayumi Takahashi‘s new book, Patchwork Please! I have plenty to keep me busy for the next few weeks, but I know that eventually I’ll end up making lots of things from it because of how much I’ve loved her patterns in the past. They’re easy to follow and so much fun to make, I end up making everything in multiples! Like her Patchwork Wristlets, which actually taught me how to do zippers.
Her Fabric Basket tutorial is probably one of the most shared tutorials on the internet. It’s also a great way to learn patchwork if you’re a beginner. Her tutorials are very clear and take everything step by step.
They are great as gifts, so make lots!
My favorite so far might be her Checkerboard Tote from the Summer 2011 issue of Stitch magazine. I made one for Mom using vintage sheets.
And one for my best friend.
Then one to keep!
And I can’t forget her lunch bag. I made a couple for my sister in law and her best friend.
They’re also great toy totes! Filled with bean bags, the totes make a great family gift for little ones.
So you can see why I wanted Ayumi’s new book, as her previous tutorials and patterns have taught me so much and helped me make wonderful things. Off to read — Thank you, Ayumi!