The Healing Quilt

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Healing Quilt

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.

Healing Quilt Porch Swing

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.

Healing Quilt and Herringbone WallThey’re just happy colors, aren’t they?  I hope that helps, too.  Thank you for asking me to help, Alexis!  I love how it turned out and it was great to plan a quilt together.  :)

sarahsigres

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“What Does the Quilt Shop Do to Your Quilts?”

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Healing Quilt Top Stained Glass Look

Healing Quilt Top Side

The “Healing” quilt top is pieced and ready to be dropped at the quilt shop!  A friend of mine asked what the quilt shop does to my quilts that I can’t do at home (and my husband has asked at least five times), so just in case you’ve wondered, too … they have a long arm sewing machine, very different from what I sew on at home, that makes the quilt making process much easier.  I found these pictures licensed for creative commons use from Stephanie Vacher on Flickr.  The backing, batting and quilt top are rolled onto bars, and the machine itself moves back and forth across the quilt.

long-arm sewing machine

From this angle, you can see the big roll of batting (below) that feeds between the front and back of the quilt.

long-arm sewing machine

The machines can either be pre-programmed with a quilting design or the quilter can guide the machine by hand.  I love this colorful shot by Open Threads!

Quilting Machine

Here’s the Lava Meets Sea quilt freshly quilted and not yet cut away from the excess batting and backing.

Kim's Quilt Ready to Bind

This is so much easier than quilting at home, carefully laying out the backing, batting and top on the floor and pinning them together so they won’t shift as you jam them through your sewing machine. (More creative commons photos by Jessy Roos and athenamat.)  At this point, the weight and volume of the quilt become factors as well.  While you try to keeping sewing just where you mean the stitches to go, gravity pulls your heavy quilt off the table to the floor.   Meanwhile, the size of the quilt makes it difficult to fit through the arm of the sewing machine.  It is a great workout for your arms, but it doesn’t make for easy, relaxing sewing.

365.116

Quilting at the Urban Qulting League

My personal policy is that anything larger than a baby quilt can go to the quilt shop.  I know many quilters who love quilting on their home machines, I’m just not one of them.  So as much as I loved piecing the Healing quilt, I’ll take it to Phyllis at my local shop, Quilts by Phyllis, for the actual quilting.

sarahsigres