Thursday, August 30, 2018

Quilt #113 :: Cosmic Cross

Back in 2014, I made a quilt for our church quilt ministry that was donated to a local veteran. I called in Patriotic Explosion. It was my 38th quilt, and the first I made exclusively out of my own scraps.

Since then, I've wanted to make another one, but instead of the plus sign in the center, I wanted a cross. It would be a gift for our very special pastor. Mike is a former NASA scientist who made a mid-career change to become a pastor. 

The first time we visited the church, we had a trifecta of things that made us realize we were where we needed to be.  When we stopped at the visitor's table, we learned about the quilting ministry. During the service, a woman got up to talk about how the church supported her family after her husband's brain injury. Then, Niels and I both looked up the pastor's bio and learned about his NASA background. Our son has been obsessed with space since he was 3. He's now 9. We have prayed for science-y people who share our faith. We looked at each other and just smiled. 

We have been so touched by how Mike has made D feel special over the years by answering his questions and listening to his (sometimes) rambling thoughts on all things space and science. 

At times, Mike has given D small gifts: a NASA sticker, a space calendar, a science book. He definitely deserved a thank you quilt!

About two years ago, I had D find out Mike's favorite color, green. Shortly after, I selected prints for Mike's quilt. But as all quilters know, it's hard to find time to make all the quilts you want to make!

The hardest part was figuring how to set the lower blocks for the cross, but once that was done, the quilt came together quickly. 

My favorite part of the quilt is the label that D made for it. He wrote the words and drew the rocket on regular paper. I took a picture of it with my phone then printed it on fabric backed with freezer paper. 

I finished the quilt on Saturday and D, as always, slept with it to make sure it was filled with lots of love.

The light was so pretty when I took the photo at the top of the page. I finally remembered to take a picture of the back, too. 

 I'm glad we took pictures on Saturday night because the light didn't cooperate as well when we tried to get pictures in front of the church. I did laugh at the timing of the green car that passed us though!

D waited (mostly) patiently for his turn to talk with Mike. He was SO excited to give him the quilt. 

It's so fun to deliver quilts in person. 

If ever a picture captured D's enthusiasm for talking with Mike, this is it.

Thank you, Pastor Mike, for pouring love into our son, making him feel important and heard, and nurturing both his love of science and faith. We appreciate you so much!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Quilt #11: Turning 20 in Red

In November 2013 I completed my first donated quilt. It was 8 months since I first started sewing my first rag quilt on a teeny Big Lots sewing machine. Our family started attending a new church. The first Sunday we visited, we learned about the quilting ministry, Piecemakers. The funny thing is, in the five years since, I've never seen it mentioned again. It's become a bit of a joke amongst the group, that we are a secret society!

The ladies in our group have all different styles and abilities. One person doesn't actually sew, but she cut up kits. This first quilt I made for the group was made from one of her kits. (I didn't actually have a quilt stash back then!) The pattern is called Turning 20. 

It was also the first time I used polyester batting since that is what gets donated to our group. I am definitely not a fan.

My attempt at straight line quilting without lines, rulers, or tape. 

I totally forgot about this sweet picture of my boy falling asleep next to the quilt top. Sigh...

I don't remember which organization received this quilt, but I hope it is being used and loved.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Quilt #112: Lots of Love Wedding Quilt

They say good things come to those who wait. That's true not only for those who are on my quilt list, but also for so many of us wanting to find someone with whom to share our life. 

True story: Niels and I got married when I was 35. When we bought Niels' wedding band, we asked the jeweler to inscribe it with "worth the wait." At the time, I was a bit self-conscious about my weight because my new head meds had caused me to gain 50 pounds in pretty short period of time and I was struggling with the fact that I would be at my all time high weight for my wedding, with pictures that would be around forever. Can you see where this is going? Two days before our wedding, I picked up the ring and read the writing, "worth the weight." That was my only true bridezilla moment of wedding planning! The owner of the store was mortified and overnighted a new ring to us. All is well. 

My friend Jamie also waited longer than average to meet her Mr. Right. Their story is complicated and beautiful and theirs to tell. Jamie and I have been friends for nearly 20 years and was one of my first friendsd when I moved to Michigan in 1999. We worked together at not one, but two companies. When I brought my Shih Tzu Bailey home from Minneapolis, Jamie was there with a camera at the airport to take pictures and welcome us home. After my brain injury, Jamie remained a friend and loved me despite the changes to my personality. She definitely deserved a place on my quilt list!

As I thought about what kind of quilt to make Jamie (and Toben) for their wedding quilt, the thing that kept coming to mind is love. That sounds clique, I realize, for a wedding quilt, but the love I think of when I think of Jamie goes beyond the gooey wedding love. Jamie knows how to love when it's hard--when it's a friend whose life is changed by brain injury, when it's watching her brother fight and then fade away from cancer, when it's engaging with the kids of her friends and family even when she longs to have children of  her own, when it's speaking up for those on the margins. Jamie embodies love. 

For the third time, I used the wonky alphabet by Kelby Sews for my letters. I used her paper pieced alphabet on Papa Steve's It Is Well quilt.

And I used her love letters on my sister Liz's wedding quilt. (I modified the "E").

I don't usually tell someone I am making a quilt for them, because I rarely hit my deadlines, and because it's really fun for me to see if someone figures it out from progress posts on Instagram. But I did tell Jamie I would make her a wedding quilt and asked her what colors she would like me to use. She said she would want the quilt for their bed and that they were using beach colors. 

I started making blocks in between other projects a few months before they got married. This spring we went on a cruise and I was reminded of the beauty of the ocean. It also gave me the sew-jo I needed to finish Jamie's quilt!

I made the quilt top my April One Monthly Goal for Elm Street Quilts monthly challenge. I finished the top on their 1st anniversary. I put two surprises into the quilt that I didn't want to reveal before Jamie and Toben saw the quilt in person, so I had to be a little sneaky with my OMG update post

The first surprise is that one of the LOVE blocks was made in Michigan State colors in honor of her brother Tony.

Tony passed away a few months after their wedding after a brave battle with cancer. Jamie's first year of marriage has been bittersweet as her joy is mingled with grief. Tony's memory is near to Jamie's heart so I knew he needed to be a part of her quilt, too.

Tony at Jamie's wedding, with Jamie's husband Toben to the right. Photo Credit: Jamie Heim
The other surprise was a block made of rainbow prints. This block has  significance to both Jamie and Toben and also needed a place on their quilt. 


Cheers to you, Jamie & Toben. Here's wishing you many years of joy and lots of love!
Credit: Northern Exposure Photography
To see more pictures of this quilt, check the hashtag #lotsofloveweddingquilton Instagram. To see what I'm currently working on, please follow me at deJongDreamHouse.

My Quilt Infatuation FeatureFinished or Not Friday at Busy Hands Quilts

Sunday, August 26, 2018

One Monthly Goal :: August 2018 Update

A funny thing happened on my way to finishing this month's One Monthly Goal. My goal was to finish my Prince Edward Island Modern Quilt Guild mystery quilt. I started lots of social quilting projects last year and this year I'm doing my best to finish them all. The hiccup I ran into with this quilt is that I didn't download the final instructions in time! So I started the month with all the clues completed, but no final assembly instructions.

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.

I really like this quilter's layout.

I knew from the start that I would be gifting this quilt to my friend Lorilee Craker.  Lorilee and I were part of a writers group in my pre-quilting, pre-brain injury days. One of her recent books is a wonderful memoir called Anne of Green Gables, my Daughter, and Me. I bought some Anne of Green Gables fabric on a whim about a year ago. I thought I'd make Lorilee a pillow or something small. But when I learned of the PEI mystery quilt, I knew I had to use my Anne fabric on a quilt for Lorilee. 

It seemed fitting to add a quote to the quilt given our love of words. There are so many great quilts in the Anne series, but I landed on this one: Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. With a quote like that, I also had to include Anne and Diana on the quilt.

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

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.

Previous OMGs:
August 2018 - Anne of Green Gables Quilt
July 2018 - Dutch Canuck Quilt
June 2018 - Daybed Pillow
June 2017 - no goal

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Quilt #8: D's Napping in Space

Here's another oldie I haven't shared yet here on the blog, Napping in Space. My very first quilt was a Thomas the Train rag quilt made at the request of my then-train-obsessed 3-year-old. I made many, many mistakes as I muddled my way through, but as I worked on it, the quilting bug bit...hard! And as for my son, he moved on to a new! 

When he started pre-k, he asked for a space quilt for nap time. I came up with three designs and he chose the chevrons.

I was excited to use some fabric I bought in Florida where D's obsession with space began. Niels had a conference in Orlando, and we turned it into a family trip. When the work was done, we had a free day before we headed home. We asked D if he would rather go to a Disney park or Kennedy Space Center. He looked at us sternly and said, "I do not like Mickey the Mouse." So offf to Kennedy we went!

I was new to half square triangles at this point in my quilting learning curve, so I was pretty tickled when my corners matched.

I believe this during the making of this quilt that I learned about the magic of chain piecing. Game changer!!

I can't get over how little he was here, trying out the quilt top for size.

I am dead from cute!

I used a super fluffy cuddle fabric for the back, per D's request. On the back you can see my echo quilting.

He loved it then, and he loves it still. It's looking pretty worn, but he still sleeps with it every night, five years later.

For the label, I used a picture from the previous Halloween.

Since this was his nap quilt, I also made a matching pillow.

Don't we all sleep better with a homemade quilt?

Hard to believe my little guy is now 9 and starting fourth grade this week. Sob!! Stop growing, sweet boy!!

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