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.

I really like this quilter's layout.

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
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  1. What an amazing story, I loved reading it. You are one talented person. Bless you!!

  2. We must be kindred spirits because I absolutely adore Anne of Green Gables too! What a wonderful quilt you've made. It's just perfect! Thanks for sharing this on Wednesday Wait Loss.

    My favorite rendition of the story is also the one starring Megan Fellows!

  3. This is a great quilt - love the girls you made from the cross stitch pattern - very clever! I also enjoyed your story about how you got started with quilting.

  4. A beautiful version, and no doubt a treasured gift.

  5. Thank goodness for rebels, otherwise things would be so monotonous. You didn't just complete the quilt, you made it your own, interwoven with your stories, paid homage to your grandma and made a unique gift for your dearest friend. Raising a glass to all kindred spirits - far and near. May they always guide us and hold us.

  6. I love words on quilts and your design is special, with a heartwarming inspiration and goal. Thanks for sharing your beautiful quilt. Anne of Green Gables is one of my daughter's favorite books too.

  7. Love Anne of Green Gables! Wonderful quilt!

  8. I think this was the perfect quilt for that fabric! I love the layout you came up with and all the special little touches that went into making this quilt. I think you were meant to miss the final layout instructions for a reason. <3

  9. WOW great tutorial on this wonderful quilt Jen. SO enjoyed reading your story. Plus lovely to see it arrive at its new home and what a big smile on her face. Cheers Glenda

  10. Tish sent me over to read about this remarkable quilt journey. So very glad I took her advice and popped in for a visit. Such a remarkable quilt journey! You have such vision!

  11. What a beautiful quilt! I loved reading, and watching, Anne of Green Gables too! I always love the stories behind the quilts you give. It is so special to know the meaning behind them!

  12. Look at your Anne and Diana!!!! Jen, what a fantastic quilt! I never started anything with the Anne fabric that I bought many months ago, now. It calls to me every so often, but I've got many things to finish up and square away first. Really love what you did here.

  13. What a lovely, lovely story of the quilt and your friendship. Thanks for sharing that.


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