Thursday, July 13, 2017

sixteen | a quilt for Hanah

Almost a year ago a friend from church, Kim, asked me if I would be willing to make a quilt for her daughter's sixteenth birthday. She had purchased an Amish quilt before her daughter was even born, but her daughter loved the quilt and it had grown worn and threadbare. Kim had the idea of giving Hanah a new quilt made with sixteen blocks to represent each of her sixteen years and also her sixteen closest family members. It would be queen size and completely custom so I was a little hesitant at first because of the size and scope of the project, but ultimately I decided I was up to the challenge. First I visited their home so I could see Hanah's original quilt, and I took photos as a reference for style and color because Kim wanted the feel of the new quilt to be similar to that of the old one. Then Kim provided me with ideas and inspiration for family member, leaving it to me to interpret them into quilt blocks. I began by choosing a rough color palette, leaning heavily on Carolyn Friedlander and Cotton + Steel (mostly basics and gingham) fabrics for their wide range of colors. Then I sketched the dimensions of the quilt, deciding on a traditional layout with sashing, cornerstones, and very wide borders, thus keeping the sixteen blocks on top of the bed so all would be visible rather than draped over the sides. Some blocks were easy to make - the inspiration was straightforward and I knew right away how I wanted to translate the concept into a quilt block. Others were more difficult and I struggled with the best way to convey the idea, but I spent lots of time thinking and eventually came up with blocks for everyone. I'm very happy with the quilt and I'm proud (and relieved!) to say that Kim, Hanah, and family are too.   
[I've included a few links at the bottom to credit my sources for a few of the blocks.] 









Navy Seal machine embroidery

funky candy fabric & treasure jars pattern (note: I enlarged the block size)

heart quilt block

Amelia block (the airplane) from the book Dear Quilty by Mary Fons & softball fabric

awesome banana fabric

police car block (pillow size) from Busy City by Shea Henderson

I can't forget the back! Kim requested that the back have a paw print to represent their dog Shaggy and I embroidered the reference for Hanah's life verse, Jeremiah 29:11.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

sister love | a quilt for Mykenzie

I've wanted to make this quilt for ages but didn't have the perfect recipient in mind... until my friend Jaclyn told me she was pregnant. Then I knew I had to make this for Big Sister. Mykenzie has been praying for a baby for a long time and I know she's going to love this baby with a big love. Her favorite color is fuschia and I knew Jaclyn loved the Rifle Paper Co. floral print so that with the Cotton + Steel fruit dots gold stripe made the perfect pair. The back is a fun Suzy Ultman print that I bought on #thegreatfabricdestash a while ago. I quilted simple straight lines, not too many because I wanted to keep it soft, and bound it in the fuschia. Finn volunteered to help me take pictures again, and he requested that his hand be in one of the close ups :D Also please excuse the laundry basket, Ninja Turtle puzzle pieces, and everything else in my living room! 

golden girl | a quilt for Baby Correia

A friend of mine is expecting her second baby girl and of course I wanted to make her a quilt. Her family has a golden retriever named Simba and they LOVE him so I looked around for some cute doggo fabric and found the perfect one on spoonflower by petfriendly. I highly recommend checking them out if you need any cute dog fabric! They have lots of different breeds and colors. In hindsight I wish I had ordered the goldens in something other than pink but I didn't realize it was available in other colors. The pink is pretty, but I would have preferred something a little less busy. Anyway, I ordered a yard on Kona cotton and after debating a few different quilt patterns I decided to go the whole cloth route so I wouldn't chop up the pups. My boys love their minky quilts the best (they're the snuggliest) so I backed this one in minky dot, quilted it with free motion hearts, and bound it in a vintage looking floral. It was a quick project but I think it's perfect! Meredith teared up when I gave it to her so I'd say it's a success :) Finn likes to help me take quilt pictures lately, so here he is, plus a few detail shots...

Monday, May 29, 2017

pretty patchwork | a quilt for Nola

Sometimes it's difficult for me to articulate why I feel compelled to make quilts for certain people. Recently I posted Rory's birth story on my blog and linked to it on instagram and on facebook. My friend's sister (who I've never met) commented, thanking me for sharing my story. It was similar in some ways to the birth of her daughter, her first child, who's only a month or so older than Rory. I had left her a voicemail in the days leading up to her due date at my friend's request because she was scheduled to be induced and looking for encouragement. She's still accepting her birth experience, working through it and processing the details. So I did what any quilter does when someone needs a bit of comfort - I started making this quilt for her daughter on Sunday night and I mailed it to them today. We'll probably never meet (they live in PA and I'm in RI), but I wanted to do something for her. Growing and birthing a baby and being born as a mother yourself can be challenging, and I guess this quilt is my way of saying I understand and it matters and I'm here. I hope Sara, Frank, and little Nola accept it in the spirit in which it is given. 

P.S. Rounded corners are so sweet (and easy!), I don't know why I don't do them more often.

cloudy skies | a quilt for Luke

One of my friends from high school recently gave birth to her second baby and my friend Ari and I made a quilt for him. We knew his nursery was gray, white, and yellow and there was a vague cloud theme going on, and we knew we wanted to keep it classic and simple. Ari had the idea to make a herringbone quilt so we got to work making half square triangles, and I found the perfect teal cloud fabric for the back. I quilted it with simple straight lines and bound it in a mustardy yellow. I was about to say simple quilts are always the best, but then I realized crazy quilts are sometimes the best. Either way, I love the simplicity of this one and most of all I loved working on it with Ari. We hope Luke loves it too!

neutral patchwork | a quilt for Lori's baby

The colors in these photos aren't true to life at all, but they'll have to do because I don't feel like editing them, nor do I have the time. This is a super simple quilt that I made for the baby boy of a friend. We're not close friends, and I usually only make quilts for people I'm close to, but sometimes I feel like making a quilt anyway. Do you ever feel like that? I thought they would appreciate the gesture, and of course quilts are useful so hopefully it will be well received! I used part of a charm pack and some fat quarters and half yards that I don't love. I'm happy with how it turned out, simple as it is.

Friday, April 28, 2017

plaid at sea | a quilt for Harry

 One of my good friends is having her third baby soon, a boy after two girls (see their quilts here and here). I asked her if she had any ideas for his nursery yet and she sent me a few images of very classic, preppy, New England type rooms - blues and greens, plaid, and stripes. I love the simplicity of the flannel whole cloth quilt I made for Rory so I decided to make her baby boy a wholecloth quilt too. I chose a plaid by Robert Kaufman and then gave her a bunch of coordinating options to choose from for the other side. I quilted it in a grid, echoing the plaid, and bound it in a chambray polka dot that I love and will definitely be using for binding again. My boy Finn was happy to help as my quilt holder! He grew rather attached to the little dragon though, and begged to keep it - haha... luckily for him his Gram found out and got him his own ;)

simple strips | a quilt for Benjamin

Friends recently welcomed their first baby and of course he needed a quilt. I've realized that I don't have a lot of greens or blues in my stash so I bought a scrap bundle to fill in the gaps. These simple strips came together quickly - I actually cut and laid them out when we had friends over for waffles one night! The back is made of scraps left from the front along with one big piece of cotton + steel clouds. In the photos it kind of sticks out like a sore thumb but I promise it coordinates quite nicely in real life. I can't remember how I quilted it except that I wrote his name, Benjamin, somewhere in the middle. He's already almost a month old and cute as can be - he has red hair like his mom and dad!
I love the polka dot binding, but I'm a little bummed that I didn't put a label on it. I kept forgetting to order more and I ran out and didn't receive my new ones until well after I gave this one to the baby's mom. At least his name is on it! Ezra and Finn were very helpful when I asked them to hold the quilt so I could take a couple photos before wrapping it up. I love these little guys so much!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

postage stamps in spring | a quilt for Appleby

Last year I made my second biggest quilt ever, a generous full size that's now on the bed of one of my best friend's daughters. Ari, my friend, had ambitions of making her daughter a quilt. She bought and cut a bunch of fabric (some of my favorites, like Bonnie Christine's Winged fabric, Tasha Noel's ducks, Heather Ross's strawberries and ballerinas, and Leah Duncan's Meadow prints) and even sewed a few strips together, but she ended up feeling overwhelmed and I asked if I could finish it up. I was so happy when she agreed to let me because it was such a nice quilt to work on. If I didn't love her and her daughter so much I'm not sure I would have been able to part with it!

I always intend to keep track of my progress better and I actually succeeded this time! Since Ari wanted a postage stamp quilt and had already cut a lot of squares I decided to make blocks that were 7x8 squares to make the project a little more manageable. I thought it would be more doable that way instead of piecing insanely long strips together at the end. If she had just given me yardage I probably would have used this tutorial because I think it would be faster and the prints would be randomized automatically. Anyway, I made sixteen of my 7x8 square blocks for a total of 896 squares! The back is from a sheet set that I saw at Target and suggested to Ari, small black plus signs on a white background. My mom offered to baste it for me (she knows that's my least favorite part of the process) but I ended up doing it over because of a problem area that I knew would be an issue when I was quilting. I did it early one morning before the boys were awake because whenever I baste a quilt they can't resist walking all over it which makes the task difficult, and that's putting it nicely. Ari and I decided on simple straight line quilting 1/4" on either side of all the seams, which is a lot of straight lines! It took me almost ten bobbins and between 10-12 hours, I lost track along the way. We picked Cotton + Steel Sprinkles fabric in black for the binding which gives the quilt a nice sharp finish, I think. Once it was done it measured 92.5"x89.5", and after washing it measured 82"x72", shrinking more than ten inches. I remember being really surprised at how much it shrunk, but I'm wondering if I measured that last dimension wrong now because that's a real lot. Hmm...

The pictures don't do it justice, but as usual I had Matt hold the quilt while the kids ran amok so we didn't have much time. We were at Meshanticut Lake, a little hidden gem in Cranston (okay, it's kind of gross because of all the goose poop sometimes and the swans are scary, but it's pretty if you can ignore those things, and I like to bring the boys there so we can illegally feed the ducks), and I love that I caught one of the swans in the first photo. Check him out up there! I love this quilt and am so glad I can visit it at Ari's house whenever I want :)

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