Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Quilt #115: Mrs. Knoch's Labyrinth Walk


Earlier this month, I set my One Monthly Goal this quilt, which has been on my to-do queue for several years, ever since I saw this floating boy on Facebook.

I have reverse photo searched, Facebook-stalked and looked high and low for the source of this photo to no avail. If you know the quilter who made this quilt, please let me know in the comments so I can give proper credit.
I am drawn to illusion quilts, which is ironic because I often deal with vertigo as a result of my traumatic brain injury. There is something in me that loves the challenge of making sense of things that mess with the brain!

Speaking of making sense of things, the recipient of this quilt is D's school counselor Mrs. Knoch. D has matured so much over the last two years since he started meeting with her. When big emotions overwhelm him, I see him intentionally trying to put the techniques he's learned into practice. She has helped me, too, to better understand how his unique brain works and how to help him with the things that challenge him.

This is D's last year in his school and I am trying hard to make quilts for many of the special staff who have made his years there so wonderful. You can see photos of the seven quilts I have made so far on my September One Monthly Goal post. 

I usually post the label last, but in this case, it helps explain why I choose this pattern for a school counselor.


The quilt is called Labyrinth Walk, and was designed by Christopher Florence, aka the Guilty Quilter. 


I chose red, black, gray, and white for my quilt because Red is Mrs. Knoch's favorite color. Each of the prints has a metallic silver element to it.


The pattern is very well written, but it had to mess with me a little bit. After cutting all my pieces, and making the sub-parts, I checked to make sure that I had all the elements in all the right amounts. I was missing one pieced section. I checked through my project box again. Still missing. One more time, I took everything out and systematically went through the list. Still missing. Fine. I'll make another set. A few days later, I finished piecing the quilt and what was left on my table?


I can't explain it.

As soon as I finished the first block, I knew I was going to love this quilt.


Other than a few pieces playing hide and seek, and a few times I kicked myself for choosing two directional prints, the piecing went together really easily.

Tons of quilters have made this pattern, and I think there have been a ton of different ways that it has been quilted. I decided not to do a spiral as I have done for the last few quilts. I quilt on my domestic machine, and am just learning free motion. I'm far from confident enough to free motion a quilt, I decided to quilt straight lines on the gray and black pieces, the gray in one direction, the black in the other.


I was a 1/4 through the gray lines I started with when I realized that it was an ambitious idea to sew lines 1/2" apart. It took about four times as long to quilt as it did to piece!


It took me a few days to catch my breath after quilting before I could face trimming the threads on the back. The nice thing about a spiral quilting is that you only have one thread to clip on the back. This one had...more.


As I was clipping, I was thinking about the work Mrs. Knoch does with the kids at our school. How she helps them when they are overwhelmed. How she teaches them techniques to persevere and find success. I thought about my son and how hard he has worked to do the hard things. How proud I am of him for pushing through his fears and frustrations, for the confident, happy, brave boy he is. How grateful I am that he is in this school with teachers who get him, and a counselor he adores. And before I knew it, I was done!

As always, D is the first to sleep with one of my quilts. He has done it since he was four and I made my first quilt, for him. It's how he adds his love to my quilts. 


I looked forward to taking a finished picture of this quilt because you don't see the illusion while you are working on it, and definitely not while quilting it. But when you step away from it....


...you get four-footed photo bombers. 

When I emailed the school to find the best time for D and I to give Mrs. Knoch her quilt, the original plan was to present it before her class. (By the way, I think every school should offer this!)


We ended up finding her in the hallway before class so we gave it to her there. It made my heart sing that before she even saw it she said, "I love it already!" 


To see more pictures of the making of this quilt, check out #KnochWalkQuilt on Instagram. To see what I'm currently working on, follow me on at deJongDreamHouse.

Linked to:
Let's Bee Social @ Sew Fresh Quilts
Midweek Makers @ Quilt Fabrication
WIP Linky Party @ Silly Mama Quilts
WIPS on Wednesday @ Esther's Blog

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Quilt #17 :: Jeffrey's Blocks


We are continuing my trip down quilt memory lane. I am revisiting my early quilts and finally writing posts about them.

My 17th quilt was another baby quilt. 2014 was the last year I was involved with MOPS as my son was in school and I had discovered quilting to fill my days. My friend Emily, who I knew from MOPS, was the godsend who told us about the AMAZING school that D would end up attending the next six years. In 2014, her son Jeffrey was born. He and his mom are definitely quilt worthy.


I bought the blue heart fabric in the Netherlands at the Utrecht fabric market. I was saving it for something special. 


I was young and uninformed when I made this quilt. I found the pattern on Pinterest and reverse engineered the pattern. I learned when writing this post that the blog from which I liked the sample quilt has been taken down. A Google image search led me to Ana Crafts, who does have an English-version of her pattern Manta Bebe Squares available. 

source
It's fun to see how my craft room has evolved. I now have a full wall of IKEA Trofast storage bins. 


This is a great pattern to show off a favorite print. I chose it because of the plus-style crosses that emerge when you focus on the grays.


We had a fresh blanket of snow the morning I gave the quilt to Emily and Jeffrey.


I mimicked the cross pattern with the label.


 Fun fact, the next year I made another quilt for Jeffrey's little brother, Jonah: 




Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Quilt #16: Lucky Lachlan


I have officially written posts about all of the quilts I made my first year as a quilter, in 2013. It only took me 5 years! Now, let's move on to 2014!

One of the most sentimental quilts I ever made in 2013, and ever, is the Irish Chain memory quilt I made for my Gramma. It hung on the wall of her apartment for the last few months of her life, and was wrapped around her when she passed. 


Gramma loved babies. In the last months of her life, she lived in Wisconsin, near my cousin Kaila. One of the last highlights of Gramma's life is getting to meet her new great-grandchild, Lachlan. It was only fitting that I made Lucky Lachlan a quilt out of the scraps of gramma's quilt. 


I used their first picture together on the label. 


I still can't believe Gramma is gone and that sweet baby in the picture is already 4!

Linked to:
BOMs Away @ What a Hoot Quilts
Design Wall Monday @ Small Quilts and Doll Quilts
Finished or Not Friday @ Busy Hands Quilts
Needle & Thread Thursday @ My Quilt Infatuation
Let's Bee Social @ Sew Fresh Quilts
Link Party @ Clever Chameleon
Linky Tuesday @ Free Motion by the River
Main Crush Monday @ Cooking Up Quilts
Midweek Makers @ Quilt Fabrication
Moving It Forward @ Em's Scrap Bag
Off the Wall Friday @ Nina Marie
Oh Scrap! @ Quilting is More Fun than Housework
Scrap Happy Saturday @ Sew Scrappy
Show Off Saturday @ Sew Can She
To Do Tuesday @ Stitch All the Things
Wednesday Wait Loss @ The Inquiring Quilter
What I Made Monday @ Pretty Piney
Whoop Whoop Friday @ Confessions of a Fabric Addict
WIP Linky Party @ Silly Mama Quilts
WIPs on Wednesday @ Esther's Blog
UFO Busting @ The Madd Hatter



Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Quilt #114: Kindred Spirits, an Anne of Green Gables Quilt


This quilt got its start more than 15 years ago. I was single, living in Michigan, working full time, and writing my first book. I had a group of fellow writers with whom I met regularly to celebrate and commiserate our writing careers. We called ourselves The Guild. Lorilee Craker was one of my fellow Guilders. At the time of my involvement, she was busy writing books about parenthood and adjusting to her new role as mom to a sweet little girl born in South Korea. (Note to self: must scan photos from pre-smart phone days). 

Fast forward a decade. A brain injury has stolen my writing career, but God has given me a new creative outlet--quilting--and a new career as wife and mom. When we built the de Jong Dream House, Lorilee and her family were some of the first to visit us.


A big reason why I love quilting, particularly as someone who lives with a brain injury, is that it allows me a way to be a giver again when so much of my life relies on my dependence on others. I realize that not everyone is a quilt person or values a homemade gift, but over the last few years, I have tried--and am still trying--to make something meaningful for the people who are meaningful to me. There is no method to my madness. I have a general list of people for whom I'd like to gift a quilt. I have a list of quilts I want to make. Sometimes those lists overlap. Most of the time, I follow my inspiration. Rarely, fate intervenes. 

I'm not one to buy pre-cuts or jelly rolls. I like buying fabric by the yard so I have more flexibility in what I make with it. But one night, I saw a layer cake of Anne of Green Gables fabric as the daily deal on Missouri Star's site. On a whim, I ordered it.


Like most women my age, I have a fondness for Anne of Green Gables, particularly the mini-series featuring Megan Follows. I was introduced to Anne by Mary Hemza, my stepdad's mom, who lived down the road from us and was the first one to care for me when I was sick. I can't recall how many times we watched it, but thinking of Anne brings back warm memories of being loved by a woman who has been gone nearly 20 years. 


When the layer cake arrived, I set it aside to await inspiration. It came monthly later when a quilter on Facebook mentioned the mystery quilt she was working on as part of the Prince Edward Island Modern Quilt Guild.  What? Anne's adopted hometown has a quilt guild! Sign me up!

I knew from the start that I would be gifting this quilt to my friend Lorilee Craker.  One of her recent books is a wonderful memoir called Anne of Green Gables, my Daughter, and Me. Not only did Lorilee adopt, but she was adopted herself. One might say that Anne and Lorilee are kindred spirits. Every month as finished my clue, I took a photo with Lorilee's book. 


I kept up really well with the mystery until the very end. Someone I missed the last month's clue, which was the final reveal and assembly instructions. By the time I realized my mistake, the directions were already removed from the site. What to do?!

From the PEI MQG Facebook group, I was able to see pictures of the final quilt.  There were a few options. I was working on the modern layout.

Source
I really like this quilter's layout.

Source
I could have reverse engineered to figure out how to complete the quilt, but I decided instead to make it my own instead. 

It seemed fitting to add a quote to the quilt given our love of words. There are so many great quotes in the Anne series, but I landed on this one: Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. For the letters themselves, I once again used Lori Holt's awesome Spelling Bee book.


If you've used Lori's book, you may notice that I changed her "s" blocks. I'm a rebel like that!

After the quote and mystery quilt elements, the main thing missing was Miss Anne and her kindred spirit, Diana. 

I found this amazing cross stitch pattern of characters from Anne of Green Gables. I used it as a starting point for my renditions of Anne and Diana. 

Buy pattern here
I changed their eyes and lips to give them a more youthful, innocent look, and changed Anne's collar and Diana's hair. 


I really like the pattern's detail of Anne's hair. By using two prints, it gives the impression of braided hair. 


I used this same idea on the backing.


I was down to the smallest scraps by the time I was working on the back. Lorilee wrote a book called Money Secrets of the Amish, so I thought she would appreciate that I had to hobble together some scraps to finish the back.


I used spiral quilting but started the quilting with an e centered on one of the "e" blocks. 


I made the label by designing it on my computer and printing it on Kona white backed with freezer paper. 


I was able to deliver the quilt in person when we drove up to Michigan for the AQS quilt show.


Let's raise a glass of raspberry cordial to kindred friends!


To see more pictures of this quilt, check the hashtag #lorileeaoggquilt on Instagram. To see what I'm currently working on, please follow me at deJongDreamHouse.

Read more about Lorilee on her blog. You can also follow Lorilee on Instagram at TheBookSellersDaughter and on Facebook at Lorilee Craker. 

Linked to:
BOMs Away @ What a Hoot Quilts
Design Wall Monday @ Small Quilts & Doll Quilts
Finished or Not Friday @ Busy Hands Quilts
Let's Bee Social @ Sew Fresh Quilts
Linky Tuesday @ Free Motion By the River
Main Crush Monday @ Cooking Up Quilts
Monday Making @ Love Laugh Quilt
Moving It Forward @ Em's Scrap Bag
Needle & Thread Thursday @ My Quilt Infatuation
Off the Wall Friday @ Nina Marie
Oh Scrap! @ Quilting is More Fun than Housework
Show Off Saturday @ Sew Can She
To Do Tuesday @ Stitch All the Things
Wednesday Wait Loss @ The Inquiring Quilter
What I Made Monday @ Pretty Piney
Whoop Whoop Friday @ Confessions of Fabric Addict
WIP Linky Party @ Silly Mama Quilts
WIPs on Wednesday @ Esther's Blog
UFO Busting @ The Mad Quilter

UFO Busting

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Quilt #12 :: Olivia's Elephants


I made this baby quilt back in 2013--five years ago! I am happy to report that with this post, I will have (finally!) shared all fourteen quilts I made the first year I started quilting. You can check out my 2013 virtual trunk show here, and you can find links to all my quilts here.

Back to 2013, I had a 4-year-old and attended MOPs at a local church. In my group that year was a young mom expecting her second child, a girl. I had just started building my stash, and was itching to use the adorable elephant fabric I bought at Joann.


When Olivia told us about her baby, I got to work. I started playing around in PowerPoint to come up with a pattern. 


I was pretty knew to matching seams so it seems like matches to have block that looked like this.


I didn't yet know how to make custom labels, and clearly binding was still my nemesis! But it was indeed, handmade with love.


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