Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Quilt #65: Gioia's French Roses

Living with a brain injury and moving to a new state in this cocooning age of social media does not make building friendships an easy task. Niels and I had a very challenging first year. We were ridiculously in love, but life was hard. I got pregnant on our honeymoon. We lost that baby. We got pregnant the following month. We lost that baby and the recovery was very painful physically and emotionally. I married at 35 and was fearful that among all the things the brain injury stole from me, it was also stealing my opportunity for motherhood. Three months after our second miscarriage, I became pregnant again. I was violently ill with hyperemesis gravidarum and a severe headache for months. I was on bedrest for more than half of my pregnancy. During those long days, I found other expectant moms on a fertility website. We bonded as we shared our paths to pregnancy, we crowdsourced opinions on everything from feed out babies, decorating our nurseries, picking out car seats, picking out names. and everything else under the sun. Our views and opinions are all over the spectrum, but our group was free of the drama that so easily overtakes such groups. In short, by the time our December 08 babes were born, we had given birth to deep friendships.

Our little babies are now seven and a half. Our group has migrated to a private Facebook group and we continue to discuss all manner of topics together. We have weathered the loss of spouses, divorce, re-marriage, health scares, international moves, and more babies. 

One of the friends I made is Davinder. I connected with Davinder because we both have international families. When I learned that she was expecting, I knew I wanted to make her baby a quilt. As she prepared to meet her little girl, she mentioned wanting to create a shabby chic nursery. One day she posted about some Tanya Whelen fabrics she loved for curtains in the nursery. 

I wasn't ready to start her quilt yet, but I ordered several of the fabrics she mentioned so that I could stare them into inspiration.

I came across Heather French's French Roses pattern and knew it was just what I wanted to make. I like how the raw-edge applique frays with washing to make the roses pop.

There are lots of examples and variations of the pattern on Pinterest. 

But the one I like the most was this one from Etsy seller My Red Door Designs with roses alternating with nine patches.

I didn't buy the pattern because I love to reverse engineer patterns, so I'm not going to provide directions. If you like to follow directions, please buy the pattern

That said, here are a few photos of the process. First, I made my nine patches.

I played around with the roses for quite a while until I decide which fabric I wanted to use for the backgrounds, and how many prints I wanted in each rose. I decided on the polka dot backgrounds in pink, green, and blue. I alternated between the background print and one other print in a different color for each rose.

I stitched 1/4" around the each level of the roses and swirled my stitching in the center bloom.

My favorite picture from this process is this one of my son, who came into watch as I finished the binding. 

Before Davinder mentioned the Tanya Whelen fabric she liked, I had pulled out this Michael Miller fabric that I had picked up at a sale two summers ago. I was driving my car when I saw an older man setting up a garage sale by himself. I noticed a lot of quilting supplies, so I pulled in. We got to talking, and he shared with me that his wife had just passed away. She was a longtime quilter and he was selling the things from her craft room. We both had tears as he told me about her. He invited me to shop while I was there (the sale was started the next day) and as he saw how much I appreciated her things, he generously added more goodies to my bags.  This fabric was my favorite and I have been waiting for the right project. This was it. I thought of my benefactor often as I worked, remembering his loss as I used his wife's fabric to celebrate a new life.

I washed the quilt before putting on the label. I love the way the roses have frayed. The quilt is very soft and cozy. 

I made a matching taggy blanket out of scraps. 

Here you can see the difference between the pre-wash (right) and first wash (left). 

A few last shots before sending my gift and love to Canada. 

Linked to:

Print this post


  1. This quilt is so pretty in appearance and precious in its story!

  2. What a lovely quilt! I love the frayed flowers and the soft colors. Beautiful. Finding life long friends is such a gift.

  3. Such a great quilt! I love the softness of the roses, plus the little tag blanket. What a great gift! (I like reverse-engineering patterns too!)

  4. This is gorgeous! And perfectly shabby chic. I really love the roses and might have to do something with them on it. Thanks for sharing!

  5. This is so cute. Love the soft frayed edges. A quilt that will look better with age.


We love hearing from you!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...