Happy at Home


It’s wonderful to see something you’ve made in its new home.  Here’s Kaori’s Hugs and Kisses quilt at her place in Chiba, Japan!

The Hugs and Kisses Quilt at Kaori's House

She liked it so much, she hung it on the wall where she could see it all the time. I love that!

Part of the magic of making a quilt for someone is how it adds to the connection you already have with that person.  I thought of Kaori so much as I constructed each block and chose things that would make her smile.  And now she has a reminder of me that makes her so happy.  Now I know that when I (someday!) get the chance to visit her in Japan, I’ll feel right at home.  :)


Kaori’s Hugs and Kisses Quilt


Kaori's Hugs and Kisses Quilt Porch

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:

Time Passes While the Quilt is at the Quilt ShopSo 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.

Kaori's Quilt

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.

Kaori's Quilt Yellow Leaves

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.

Kaori's Hugs and Kisses Quilt Detail

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!

Kaori's Hugs and Kisses Quilt Edge

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.

Kaori's Hugs and Kisses Quilt Left Corner

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!


Just Keep Stitching …


Kaori's Hugs and Kisses Quilt Top

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!

Light Through Kaori's Hugs and Kisses Quilt

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.

Stitching Pillow Petals

As with every other project, I’ll just keep stitching and see how it turns out!


What’s Been Happening Lately

I’ve been quiet, but I have been keeping busy.  The “Hugs and Kisses” quilt I’m making for my friend Kaori is going well.  Days ago I ran out of white and still have five rows of blocks to make, but oh well.  I’ll buy more white tonight, and meanwhile I’ve been sewing rows together and just loving how it looks!  Here’s the slowly advancing line of “doneness”.

The Slowly Advancing Line of "Doneness"

I made a new emery filled pincushion with scraps from the Lava Meets Sea quilt I just finished.  I even treated myself to new glass headed pins.  (These are wonderful because they don’t melt if you iron over them, and the emery pincushion filling will keep them sharp.)

New Pincushion

Unrelated to sewing (but still exciting for me), I got a new car!  I loved my 2003 Rav4 so much that I bought a new 2013 Rav4.  It’s so loaded down with extras that I feel spoiled every time I drive it.  I never had a bit of trouble out of the old one, so I’m hopeful that I’ll drive this one for a long, long time.

"I'll Take This One"

I’m still working on a hexie pixel/picture for my friend Missy.  Her family has been through so much loss and pain, and yet they bring so much comfort and hope to everyone around them.  Their grace is amazing and inspiring to witness.  Making hexies and sewing them together by hand, one by one, takes so much time … but it feels like just the right thing to do for Missy.  I’m working on the last row of the left half of the picture, so I’m nearly halfway there with the piecing.  I am open to suggestions for quilting/finishing ideas!


And lastly, my next quilt project!  This one is something I haven’t made in ages — a quilt to keep!  I ordered the fabrics this morning and will get started on it once the Hugs and Kisses quilt is off to the quilter shop.  Can you see Deegie’s face?  Since he’s such a fan of quilts, it’ll be fun to put him on one.

Deegie Face Quilt Chart