Quilting Mends My Soul

When the weather gets hot and I’m not in the mood to go outside or read, I quilt. I am a self-taught quilter; honing my skills by watching YouTube videos and looking for quilt patterns and tutorials online. My quilting passion started several years ago when our church was doing a service project for Children’s Hospital. We were asked to make little quilted envelopes for preemies that don’t make it. They are usually no bigger than a pound or two. We made 12” quilt squares, batted and backed them, then stitched three corners together to form the envelope for this little angel to be caressed while being held by its family one last time. For that time on I was hooked!

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As I learned to make the quilt squares I quickly realized that by sewing several of these completed squares together, I could make a quilt of any size. My favorite size to make is a baby quilt. They’re quick and so fun to make for Moms-To-Be. Sometimes I ask them what colors or themes they like for this particular bundle of joy, other times it’s a total surprise. Either way, the anticipation of making something for another is what keeps me quilting. I love all the colors of fabric, playing with different combinations, and collecting to add to my “stash”. There are times when I find a pretty piece of fabric and I have to buy it, not knowing beforehand what it will be used for. Those are the best pieces because there are times when I just pull out my stash and make a quilt from my bits and scraps. The creativity involved in making a quilt brings out a joy that is hard to describe. Creating fills my soul.

My Latest Project

A few years ago I had a request from my youngest daughter for a specific quilt for her bed. She found the quilt online and was confident that I could recreate this cat quilt. While she loves black and white, it was SOOOO hard for me not to throw some color into her quilt! I did sneak some yellow onto the back and she loves it to this day.

Cat quilt

In my enthusiasm for quilting I have discovered that I’m pretty good at teaching willing participants. A couple of summers ago I put together a little class on how to make pinwheel quilts. My two students (my daughter-in-law, Sarah and friend, Danielle) quickly caught on and we all finished a baby quilt in no time. I am impressed by their skills and both have gone on to make several more quilts. Sarah just completed a twin size quilt for her grandmother out of her grandfather’s shirts. Sarah has created a cherished keepsake for her grandmother as he recently passed away.

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I usually start with a pattern in mind then I look for the fabric. I like to pick colors/prints that coordinate with the baby’s room or nursery theme. Sometimes I find exactly what I’m looking for other times, not so much. There was one baby quilt that was one such struggle. The Mom-To-Be was having a boy and was doing the nursery in a John Deere theme in browns and greens. Try as I might, I could not make myself buy the tractor fabric even though they had it at the store. Then I remembered this new mom’s wedding that I had previously attended. Her predominate color was Tiffany (aqua) blue. I had been in love with the aqua, white and red color scheme for a while and was just itching to try it out on a quilt. So I went rogue and it was a hit! She loved the colors and the fact that she had a handmade quilt for her newborn.

Quilts are the gift that keeps on giving. They provide comfort and warmth. They can bring back memories of events or loved ones. And they are the ultimate in a handmade gift. My quilts are made to be used. I include washing instructions so they know it’s ok if they get dirty. I seem to always have a baby quilt in the works. Whether its for someone in particular or because I’m trying out a new pattern or color scheme. It’s nice when I have one already made for those last minute gifts.

Quilts can also be an art form. I’ve even had one of my baby quilts hung on the wall instead of wrapped around the babe. Now that’s a compliment if I ever saw one! I loved the aqua, white and red color scheme so much that I created a wall hanging for my laundry room out of some of the leftovers from a quilt. I’ve also made a quilted pillow for one of my cousins. It was fun to surprise her and brighten up her day! I am currently designing two quilt tops that I will wrap onto panels that will be hung in my dining room. I’m excited to see if they turn out!

Inspiration quilt
I saw this quilt in Park City and it’s my inspiration for my quilt panels.

But my biggest compliment was when one mom showed me her daughter’s quilt, several years later, that was just strips of fabric! That’s all that was left; it had been so well loved and she still slept with the strips tucked under her pillow at night. That’s the most I can ask for; that a quilt I lovingly made another person was well loved in return.

Norton

With so many styles to create from easy strips to detailed patterns, traditional to modern, wild colors to tone on tone, I think I will be playing with fabric and quilting for a long time! You can check out my quilting Pinterest board here for inspiration. Who knows? Maybe you’ll catch the bug too.

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