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.
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 niece asked me to help her with a quilt for someone who was just diagnosed with leukemia. We’re calling this quilt Healing. When he lays under it, the bright colors covering him will represent our prayers for his health. (Imagine more rows of gray along the sides as pictured near the very top, I have the fabric on order.) Projects like this are especially rewarding for me, and I’m glad my niece asked for my help with it.
Hopefully I’ll be showing you the finished quilt soon!
This weekend I finally finished Kaori’s Hugs and Kisses quilt top! I tried to keep it “flowery” while throwing in lots of other fun prints. And I do love sunshine through a quilt top!
This morning I pulled out the new-but-vintage sheet I meant to use as backing so I could pop it in the wash before taking it to the quilt shop. Just then I realized that the quilt is a block too wide for this sheet. Arg!! I really love the backing sheet, too, a sweet sky blue with white and yellow daisies. Now to decide between shopping or using another backing I have on hand, navy blue with white circles. Hmm. It’s not the look I intended, but the circles and deep, calm blue might make a nice contrast to the sharp edges and riot of color on the front.
This morning I also started stitching down the petals on my big flower pillow top. Hopefully the rough edges of the applique will ruffle up and hide my very imperfect stitches. Because GEESH.
As with every other project, I’ll just keep stitching and see how it turns out!
This is possibly my favorite quilt, and it’s certainly the one that has had the most “how can I make one” questions as I was making it, so I thought I’d share some tips on how to make your own.
First, the story behind it: This quilt is a gift for my best friend Kim, who is engaged to Matt. I wanted to make a quilt for them that would illustrate the blending of two hearts, two lives and two families. I named it Lava Meets Sea, because when lava hits the sea it makes rock, a strong foundation.
To start yours, decide on the colors you’d like to use. To make it easy on myself, I bought bundles of fat quarters of coordinating reds and blues. Both are Colorstory Fat Quarter Bundles by Robert Kaufman. The red is called Hot Spice, the blue is Grecian Waters. This gives you a wide range of lights and darks in each color to work with, but keep in mind that this quilt is based on value (the depth of color) as much as it is on color itself. Be sure when choosing your colors and making your blocks that you continue the pattern of dark and light even as you change colors. With the bundles of colors I chose, the red bundle is darker than the blue, so notice how the colors meet in the middle of the quilt. The darker shades of the red are used with the paler shades of blue to keep the dark and light values moving through the center of the quilt where the colors meet. It is very important that you not rely on the different colors to create the effect, make sure you’re keeping the dark and light values even through the color changes. That might be easier to see from this photo where I was first laying out blocks.
Here’s my super fancy chart. Notice that this was not meant to be shared with the public, as I even wrote my optometrist appointment reminder at the top of the page. *Sigh* This makes a generous lap sized quilt, big enough to share for a nap on the couch.
If you follow my chart, you’ll want to cut 201 red squares and 195 blue squares for a total of 396 squares. Then you’ll want to make 127 red blocks, 121 blue blocks and 148 mixed blocks for the middle. (I’m not sure that I kept completely to the chart, but it is helpful when you first start laying out the blocks.) You can see how I separated my colors into two stacks each of dark, medium and light, one for the “solid” red (or blue) and another for the mixed (middle) area.
The blocks for this quilt are the most simple blocks you can make, half square triangles. Even if you’re new to sewing, with just a little practice you can make perfect blocks. There’s a full tutorial here if you need to learn the method. (I started with five inch squares just as in the tutorial.) The tutorial will explain to separate colors into dark, medium and light and then mix them together to get the contrast you need for each side of the block. By looking at the photos here, you should be able to lay out the blocks to form the diamond pattern that flows across the quilt. Remember, if you’ve made half square triangles with contrasting values, you can create many different designs just by changing the direction of the blocks. Play around with them and you may find a design you like more than this one!
I chose a plain black binding, something that wouldn’t distract from the strong pattern of the quilt.
Please let me know if you have any questions about construction, and I’d love to see your photos if you make one! Please link me up so I can see what you made. :)
While working on my Hugs and Kisses blocks for a new quilt, I wanted to be sure what parts of the largest square would be visible in the finished block.
Washi tape was a perfect solution. It highlights the area that will make it into the quilt block, but will peel right off with no residue when I move on to the next project. Such a simple thing, but it’s been so helpful!
Finally, the top for Lava Meets Sea is finished! I still need to drop it off at the quilt shop, but I’m so glad to finally see what it’s going to look like. With limited floor space and no design wall, I’ve just seen parts of it at a time. I’m so pleased to see it looks just like I imagined it would!
While I waited for the sun to go behind the clouds so I could get a better picture, I lifted the bottom of the quilt up to keep the top stitches from having to hold the weight of it. I even love looking at it like this! I’ll share more of the story behind this one when I have it finished.