Monday, October 28, 2013

"Out to Sea" Beach Quilt

Does anyone else have intense love/hate relationships with their quilts?


I sat on my hands for so long with this fabric, not knowing what to do with it.  I thought I'd pull off something like this, but then the asymmetry was just killing me.  So I scrapped my plan and came up with the above pattern.  I loved it as I was designing it, then I hated it all while making it.  The turning point came when Anne quilted it for me, and now my love grows stronger every day. (Sigh...)


I had to work with the dimensions of these ships (above), as well as these maps (below).


Then I added borders of three- and six-inch patchwork blocks.


Anne did some great quilting for me: waves with loop-do-loops in between...


...  I added a Kona solid blue binding to match this great chevron that I got from the Fat Quarter Shop...


... and we're done!  Finally!  Charlotte is THRILLED, to say the least.  I was hoping to have a beach photo shoot for our "beach" quilt, but alas, we didn't make it there this summer.  We hope to get there next summer, but in the meantime, this quilt is fast becoming a favorite as my kids' newest picnic blanket.  Who needs a beach, anyhow?!

P.S. Measuring 66 x 84 inches, I thought this quilt would be big enough for our family of six to use at the beach.  The kids keep doing this crazy  thing called "growing," though, so now that we've test-tried the quilt, I'm not so sure it's big enough!  Fortunately, Sarah Jane is about to release her latest fabric line; I guess I'll just have to make another quilt!  Stay tuned...

(Linking up with Quilt Story, Confessions of a Fabric Addict, and Crazy Mom Quilts.)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Skyfall: A Quilt for Chelse

This quilt is for one of Charlotte's nurses at Duke.  Chelse and I have been friends since we met during our second year of college in Fall 2000.

IMG_9839 by Charlotte's gRACE for a Cure

Well, maybe we've not been "friends" per se, for all that time.  We were in and out of touch since those fun and carefree days of college.  As with probably 60% of my friends, Chelse majored in nursing at the University of Virginia.  I, however, decided to pursue a thoroughly non-marketable degree of a double major in French Language & Literature and Religious Studies.  Yes, always a romantic; rarely level-headed or practical.

Chelse picked out the backing fabric; isn't it great?!

After graduation, we both moved to Northern Virginia and began working.  (Surprisingly enough, I did get a job... teaching unruly middle-school students.)  I remember seeing Chelse once during that first year after college.

I learned then that she had started working as a nurse on the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology floor.  I was so surprised... "Kids with cancer?!"  It seemed so very sad to me, not to mention so strange that someone might want to work in that world.

So, how terribly ironic, wouldn't you say, when I showed up with my daughter, Charlotte, to Chelse's workplace about two years ago now?  Ironic, yes; but also entirely providential.

Here is why I've made a quilt for Chelse: because where I did not previously want to face the sad fact that kids get cancer, Chelse has been tackling it head on for 10 years.  Day in and day out, nurses like Chelse come to work and care for sick kids.  Day in, day out, they come to work and they love our sick kids.  Not knowing what the future holds, they love our sick kids today.

This quilt didn't turn out quite how I wanted it to.  You can see that it is a "flying geese" pattern with a pop of aqua.  Only, if you look at it for longer than a second, you can see that I didn't really make "flying geese." I made half-square triangles, and then the only pattern that was "working" for me in the layout process was this one.  So I named it, "Skyfall" because of the pop of aqua.  It reminded me of geese taking to the sky, while the sky (the aqua portion) is falling.  (And because, come on, it's a great movie.)

This fabulous quilting was done by one of my other "God-sent" friends, Anne.  She even supplied the matching binding fabric!

As I'm writing, it's nearing midnight so maybe it's the hour that is making me all sappy, but oh! how this quilt is like my life!  How it has not "turned out" as I planned, having a child with cancer and disability. (Oh I know, who of us would ever "plan" such a thing, and whose life does turn out "just right?"  Even so...) When Charlotte was diagnosed with this brain tumor at only three-months old, the sky may as well have been falling.  I could not have cared less about the current events of the day; neither the royal wedding nor Bin Laden being killed was of any import to me.  For all I cared, my  world was crashing down around me, because my precious daughter was not expected to live for more than a few more months.

But as we move farther from the devastating time of diagnosis, I see a different kind of "Skyfall" these days.  Most people who are on the patient/family member side of this awful thing called cancer will tell you that some of the greatest people they've met, in all the world, are their doctors and nurses.  I, too, can affirm that.  So instead of insisting that "the sky is falling" as we walk through this world of suffering, I'll try to look for a different "Skyfall."  The wonderful people who care for Charlotte (and for me) are sent from heaven.  I truly believe God sends them into our lives.  Chelse is one of those sweet people.  She faces the hurts and the suffering head on; she loves and helps my daughter.  How very grateful I am that she is both a nurse to Charlotte and a friend to me.

Chelse is on the left, with me, Baby Marian, and our college "Marm," Sarah.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Christmas Quilt for Raffle

Thank you so much for following along our last two posts with the giveaways and the tutorial for Quilt Blocks.  The genesis of the Quilt Blocks is quite a lengthy story, so I'll just say that they were inspired by my artistic-genius-of-an-eldest-daughter, Elyse, and created by my friend, Tracy.  I must give credit where it is due, after all, and I forgot to mention that in my last post.

Speaking of Tracy... (and when am I not? Ha!)... she has put together this GORGEOUS Christmas quilt and is offering it as an incentive for a fundraiser we're participating in.  She used mainly the Kate Spain line, "In From the Cold," along with a few other fabulous fabrics.

Isn't it just so lovely?!

Back of the quilt

It's a generous throw size quilt.  I'm so sorry I don't have the actual dimensions, but really - plenty of room to cuddle up with a loved one (or two or three if they're of the pint-sized variety) on a chilly, winter's eve.

Here are some close-ups of some of the blocks.

Mugs of hot cocoa, mittens, and snowflakes - so much wintry fun!

Want to know the best part?  The tickets are only $5!  Can  you believe that this quilt might be yours for only $5?!

Here are the details:

Tracy's son, Elijah, has life-threatening food allergies.  (And my own son, Henry, was just recently diagnosed with a life-threatening nut allergy, as well.)  So this Saturday, Charlotte and our family is joining their team, "Elijah's Epi-Friends" at the FARE Walk in Cary, North Carolina.  We're walking for allergy research and education.

Isn't he one of the most handsome little dudes you've ever seen?!

Our team goal is $1,000 and we're not too far away.  Won't you consider even a small donation?  For every $5, you will get one raffle ticket entered in this sweet bin, and for $25 you get six tickets!  What a deal!

To find our team page and enter the raffle, click here.

*Edit: the raffle has ended (I won! in fact - can you believe it?!) but you are still welcome to donate in support of Allergy Research and Education.

Do it now before you forget.... the raffle ends this Friday night, October 11.

(Elijah, his sister, Betsy, and Charlotte play such silly games together!)

(Linking up to Quilt Story, Needle and Thread Thursday, and Crazy Mom Quilts.)