Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Quilt #128 :: Big Lake Blooms (May 2019 One Monthly Goal)

It's been pretty quiet on the blog front this month. We have closed on both the Dream House and the Lake House. Mom has moved into the Lake House and is there to keep an eye on things while we do some renovations. Niels, D, and I are still at the Dream House for a few more weeks packing up, decluttering, and finishing out D's elementary career. 

Packing and renovating has taken a big chunk out of my sewing time. I have a few projects I'd like to finish in my current craft room before moving into my ah-mazing new Vesper View Studio. 

One of the projects on my list is my One Monthly Goal for May, which I'm calling Big Lake Blooms. I'm happy to say that I finished my goal, not just to have an item crossed off my long to do list, but especially because this quilt is headed to my hometown where I hope it will raise money for a special family.

I grew up in a very small town in Minnesota. When I attended school in the 80s, there were only two schools in our district. The K-86elementary school, which was right next to the 7-12 high school, or "Big School" as our elementary teachers called it. There were less than 100 students in our graduating class, so we all grew up together and knew everyone in our class, as well as the classes ahead and behind us.


I've been thinking a lot about the idea of home lately as we pack up the Dream House and move into the Lake House. As much as we love this physical building in which we have lived in for the last nearly 8 years, it is the memories we've made here that made it a home, and we'll take those with us to the Lake House. Even though I haven't lived in Big Lake for nearly 30 years (!), it is still the home of my childhood memories so I will always have a connection there.

I left Big Lake after graduation and haven't lived in Minnesota since. But thanks to the internet and social media, I was able to reconnect with a lot of people I had lost track of over my college and early career years. It's been interesting to see which friendships fade over the years, which remain steady even though our interactions are overwhelmingly digital, and which friendships surprisingly blossom in adulthood. 

On April 12, 2019, tragedy struck my little town. A fire took the lives of two babies, ages two and one, and their father. Two older siblings and their mom survived. In a town so small, something like this affects the entire community. But, in a small town, the whole community pulls together to help the ones who are hurting. 

One June 6, there will be a fundraiser in my little hometown. I'm 800 miles away here in Ohio, but I'm sending a quilt to participate in spirit. I hope that it helps raise money for Jessica to buy a new home, to replace some of the things that were lost, and make things a little easier as they grieve a tremendous loss. And if the quilt doesn't sell, I hope it offers comfort to the family. 

Now, let me tell you about this quilt. The pattern is called Magnolia Mystery. It was designed by Cheryl of Meadow Mist Designs. I started it in July of 2017 as part of my year of social quilting. 
Since I didn't know what the pattern would be, I decided only to use fabric from my stash. 

I have a lot of blue, so I started with that print. I chose the yellow because it has a similar flower bloom design, and so does the white. I thought gray would look better than a stark black or white background. This print reminds me of splotches of raindrops, which seemed to go well with flower blooms.

As the months went by, I still wasn't sure where this quilt was meant to go. When the mystery was revealed, I finished the top. It's a beautiful pattern and I love how it turned out.

However, since I didn't have a pressing deadline or recipient in mind, I folded up the top and it waited patiently in my UFO bin for the last year.

When I first heard about the fire, it brought a visceral response as I thought about the fire that destroyed one of my childhood homes in January 2014. In response, I posted about making a quilt for my dad and his wife, who were fortunately not home at the time. Quilters from all over the world responded, and I ended up making quilts for both of them, as well as for my stepbrother who was also living with them. The group of quilters came to be the organization Sew It Forward.

Once these quilts were completed, the group made quilts for other families affected by fire. And then we moved on to other projects. After about a year of dormancy, Tina Burlington asked if she could revive the group. I gave my blessing and she is now doing amazing things with it. If you are a quilter, please check out the Facebook group to find out how you can be involved. The beauty of the group is that you don't need to make a full quilt. You can make one block per project. Or more if you have the time, or none at all if other things demand your attention.

I was debating whether or not to put this family on the Sew It Forward list, and then I remembered the quilt waiting to be finished. Big Lake school colors are blue and gold. 

Given the somber occasion, I like that the blue and gold is muted and the gray raindrop fabric. The other thing I noticed is the center row. When you look at this block... can see two complete blocks in the middle, and two partial blocks on the side. Fitting for a family that has had the lives of two children cut short. 

I can't imagine anything harder than losing a child, let alone two in the same night. I hope that the fundraiser is a huge success and that Jessica and her family feel all the love and support being sent her way in the months and years ahead. 

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

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  1. What a beautiful quilt and a wonderful way to honour the family.

  2. It’s a beautiful quilt! It seems perfect for the occasion—a blanket of love.

  3. Beautiful! Thanks for linking up with Elm Street Quilts One Monthly Goal and congrats on your finish!

  4. What a tragic loss. Your quilt is beautiful, and in addition to the money it raises, I know the grieving family will feel the love that went into making it for them.

    I didn't know you were a fellow Minnesotan expat! I lived in Wayzata when I was in elementary school and, although I understand that a LOT of development has happened there over the past 30 years, I am pretty sure we just had two schools, too. Birchview Elementary School had one huge classroom for each grade, subdivided into quadrants with a gathering space where the whole class could assemble (like when we watched the Challenger disaster live on TV) and the other three were allocated to three team teachers so they could split us up into different groups with different teachers for math, reading, etc. So many memories!

  5. It's a beautiful quilt and I know it will bring comfort.

  6. It’s a lovely quilt, and awesome that you are sending it to help that family who lost so much.

  7. What a beautiful quilt and such a lovely way to provide comfort to a grieving family. Thanks for sharing your story on Wednesday Wait Loss.

  8. I can't imagine it not selling. It is a beautiful pattern and the colours you chose have made it stunning and so appropriate too.


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