After I helped my friend Neani submit her quilt entry to Sacred Threads 2019, she challenged me to make and submit a quilt as well. The deadline was less than two months away! I took on the challenge!
I had been thinking about making a portrait quilt of my Dad.
I already had the perfect photo. But I had never made a portrait quilt. I
enlarged the photo, made a pattern, then another pattern, until I was
satisfied. I auditioned fabrics from my stash and found this wonderful gradated
fabric with enough tones to work.
The project took on a life of its own as I selected, cut and
fused the fabrics. My dad as a young man emerged. Then I started adding thread.
Working a bit each day, I watched as he was transformed into the older man he
was. His own shirts added the final touches.
The quilt was accepted at Sacred Threads and was on display
there during the month of July. The following paragraph is adapted from the
text used in the exhibition book.
My dad has been an inspiration to many. Over the past few
years of his 95 he developed dementia. Even so he still taught his family and
caregivers so many lessons. This quilt is based on a photograph taken just
after a haircut last year. His smile is lively and bright! I wanted to capture
his spirit in fabric. After I started the portrait, Dad developed pneumonia and
passed on surrounded by his children. We are sad to let him go but happy he is
at peace and reunited with our mom. Serendipitously, purple is the color for
I received a wonderful comment from someone who saw Dad’s portrait at Sacred Threads. I have no idea who wrote this. It really means a lot to me. I am grateful for the person who gave me this gift.
“I love his eyes, I feel they tell me some of who he was. Kindness
and understanding and love, that is what I see. I lost both of my parents,
first my Mom, to Alzheimers. When Dad passed I was surprised to also grieve
again for my Mom. It was as if with him still alive, a part of her was still
here. Thank You!”
There are several babies on the way in our family, so I’ve started making some baby quilts. I tried several new techniques on this one. I pieced the triangles on the serger instead of the sewing machine. It went together quickly and should add to the durability of the quilt. Then I quilted using special rulers and a ruler foot, with two different sewing machines. There’s quite a learning curve to using the rulers!
When it came time to bind the quilt, I could not find the binding I had originally cut. So I found coordinating solid fabrics and tried the faux piping method of binding. I think it looks much better than what I had planned!
My newest sewing machine has an embroidery function that can be used for quilting. I’ve done some experimenting with that feature. Today I practiced on a quilt for Hospice Caring, to give to one of the campers at bereavement camp later this year. The top was made and layered with batting and backing and was ready to quilt. I made some calculations, found a design that was close to the right size, and adjusted it to fit. Getting the quilt hooped correctly took some time, and I had to do it 20 times! Not sure I got any better at it! The stitching was pretty easy–just watch and listen for problems, like running out of thread. It was fun and it’s done. The pattern shows up best on the back.
Today I started preparing for a demo I’ll be presenting at our quilt show in August. I’ll be using skinny strips of fabric, the size that usually go into the trash, and recycle them into cute little bags, like these.
Skinny strip bags
Now I have plenty of scraps that don’t fit in the category of “skinny strips” so I started playing with those as well. I used chunky scraps to make this one. While I was making it my thought was to cut it up for projects or quilt blocks. I really like it as is so it may become a wall hanging.
Crazy fat quarter
Then I used strips from a bag of scraps I purchased (uh, yeah, I didn’t have any of that line in my stash) a few years ago, to make this one. I like how it turned out, not sure how to use it yet.
Strippy fat quarter.
Playing with scraps has been a great way to spend the end of my vacation!
What I thought would be easy enough–making one block a day in the Splendid Sampler sew-along–lasted one day. Until today! This pattern called for an embroidered motif in the center. I had a piece of tatted lace that my sister-in-love Marie had made some time ago. Unfortunately it had gotten stained and set aside, waiting to be useful. It was the perfect size and shape for this block! I used sharpie markers and alcohol to dye it. I like the result!
We presented the finished quilt to Birthright at our March quilt guild meeting. It will be auctioned for a fundraiser!
In one of my quilt guilds, the president has challenged us to complete unfinished projects this year. She asked us to submit a list of projects. Then, as we finish projects, we bring them for show and tell at the monthly meeting. She has a point system with prizes at the end of the year. I’m not looking for prizes but I consider this a good way to make progress on projects I’d like to see completed!
So far I have started and completed a new purse for myself–not an unfinished project from the list, but a satisfying accomplishment. I used ByAnnie’s Soft and Stable to give it body and stability. I also upcycled some parts from old purses. I’m pleased with the results.
This morning I started another new project. This is a year-long project called Splendid Sampler. Over 80 quilt designers have compiled 100 six inch blocks that will be released one at a time twice a week. This sounds like something I can keep up with. The first block is a heart, perfect for Valentine’s Day.At least I am on track for today!
As for the unfinished projects? Maybe later….