Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Jardim da Amizade: {r}Evolution of A Quilt

The world is but a canvas to the imagination. –Henry David Thoreau

I've been wanting to show you/off this quilt for a long time. Let's pretend it is the beginning of September again. When we left off, I'd just shown the completed signature quilt that was for a wonderful lady who had just turned 100. A dear neighbor, who has a long-arm, offered to do the machine quilting, so we're going to jump back a little further to the last week of August while the signature quilt was out for quilting. I received word in mid-August that some very special friends were coming from Brasil to visit, that they would be here for only a short window of time and that there was going to be a get-together on October 3rd. The gears in my brain began to turn and as soon as I dropped the signature quilt off with the lady who had volunteered to quilt it, I pulled out a bunch of half-square triangles I've had hanging about for a while and got to work.

Fast forward to October 3rd, and voilà. Jardim da Amizade, which translates directly as Garden of Friendship, but it is more comfortable to say Friendship Garden.

I took my inspiration {and this photo} from Wendy Sheppard at Ivory Spring. She is a truly amazing quilter. When I saw her quilt, I knew I wanted to make one of my own. I adapted the design, making my quilt square {I love square quilts}, rather than rectangular and my HSTs are 2" rather than Wendy's 1½" {can you imagine!}. Here's another little tidbit about Wendy's quilt; it took her only 5 days from start to finish.
Color Burst by Wendy Sheppard
Image Source

Wendy was inspired by the quilt below, which is on display at the Daughters of the American Revolution Museum in Washington, DC. I did some quick maths and there are 1,200 small half-square triangles in this quilt, all hand-pieced. Wow!
Old Maid's Ramble on display at the DAR Museum
Image Source

When I got the newsletter from my favorite local quilt shop the other day, I was delighted by another variation of this quilt. Aren't the colors beautiful? It is done in Moda's Lakeside Gatherings fabric line, and I love this take on the design.
Ladies on the Lake by Suzanne
at Corn Wagon Quilt Co.
Image Source

I had the greater part of the half-square triangles I used in my quilt already pieced when I decided to make this quilt. Some of them were even pressed open. The rest were ready and waiting to be pieced. I finished piecing those while the signature quilt was out for quilting, and as soon as that quilt was finished and delivered, I started piecing blocks of half-square triangles. It was a crazy undertaking to try and get this quilt done in such a short amount of time while juggling a full-time job, full-time mom and wife duties and a busy volunteer job at church. More than once I said, I don't know if I"m going to get this done. But I have to try.

I worked color by color and tried not to repeat any one print in each block. I wanted to photograph each block as I went, but it was hard to align my crazy schedule with good lighting as the days grew shorter. And I decided that I'd better spend every spare minute working on the piecing.

I like to do an embroidered label on the back of my quilts, but there just wasn't enough time for this one. Instead I used a permanent, archival quality pen and wrote my label out. I included a quote from Alfred Tennyson, If I had a flower for every time I thought of you, I could walk through my garden forever.

Melissa Kelley at Sew Shabby Quilting saved my bacon again and did yet another rush quilting job for me. After an all-nighter, Mr. Bug dropped the quilt off on a Tuesday morning on his way to work and Melissa had it ready for me on Wednesday evening, just in time for Mr. Bug to pick it up on his way home. She did a beautiful job on an edge-to-edge computerized floral design. I love the way it turned out. I then spent every second I could getting the binding on and hand-stitched to the back.

That week is kind of of a blur, but I'm pretty sure that Mr. Bug and the Not-So-Little Bugs ate a lot of cereal and take-out pizza. I didn't get much sleep and I was pretty useless at work. It was close, but I finished in time to take it to the get-together on Friday night. These are my Brasilian "parents," João Roberto {John Robert} and Maria Lúcia. I respect, admire and love them so much and it was so good to see them again!


This is the first quilt I've done that came completely from my stash. Granted, I did a swap for about half of the little half-square triangles, but all of the fabric I used for the swap came out of my stash and the ones I got back have been sitting in a drawer for so long that they count as stash by default. I did go and buy a piece of Kona in a sort of grayish-blue for the backing, but when I got it home, it wasn't quite right. I had a large quantity of Kona in Coal from a project that will probably never get off the ground, so the blue I bought {I think the color was Rain or Fog or something} went to stash {and is now being used in the next project I'm working on, which is another quilt made entirely from stash and which I hope to show you sooner than four months after it is finished and given away!}.

Other fun facts about this quilt:
• It has 640 small half-square triangles
• The total number of triangles {large and small} is 1,344
• The quilt measures 68" x 68"
• I'm going to make at least one more quilt like this because I'm slightly obsessed with half-square triangles.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Christine's Flower Garden

Every man desires to live long, but no man wishes to be old.
–Jonathan Swift


When last we left off, we were pretending it was early September. I was hurriedly trying to get a signature quilt finished for a lovely lady I know who was turning 100. This is her graduation {photo of a} photo in 1932. Isn't she beautiful? Nevermind you can see my reflection in the glass and I was too chicken/lazy to call her family and ask for a digital copy, which I know they had. Just ignore the extra head growing out of her right frontal lobe and the extra shoulder over her right ear.


Back to our story. As the deadline for the party drew near {which I might add was 11 days before her birthday. #talkaboutstressful}, I started to collect signatures for this fantastic quilt that I'd dreamt up using 1930's reproduction fabrics to make 100 signature blocks for the lady who had just been coming into her own in the 30's and was now turning 100. That was really, really fun! Families from the neighborhood and many of her long-time friends stopped by to sign a block. It was so interesting to hear what they had to say and how they felt about Christine. It turns out that she is pretty much as amazing as I had suspected.

~time elapse~

Ta, da! Signed and assembled blocks with sashings ready to go. I used Sharpies because they are relatively inexpensive and have infamous non-solubility. Yes, I know they're not archival, but they come in such lovely colors and I'm hoping that the acid will all wash away when/if the quilt gets washed some day.

~time elapse~

All told, there are 338 signatures on this quilt

Christine is just as beautiful as ever, wouldn't you agree? She cried a little bit when I gave the quilt to her at the party. And, actually you can see it wasn't quite finished. Note the binding clips on two of the four sides. I told you they moved the party up 11 days, didn't I? So many people were invested in this quilt that I decided that taking it unfinished to display was the only option. I came back after the party, brought it home to finish the binding and took it to her the next day. We had a nice time looking over all the blocks together.

As I was working on this, I kept praying that I'd be able to get it done in time for her birthday. I wasn't sure if I would be able to pull it off. There were so many people involved that I didn't want to let them, myself, or Christine down {not that she was aware of the quilt, but I feel like it is kind of a let-down to give someone a gift after their birthday}. There is a fellow quilter in my ward {congregation} who has a long-arm and when she came to sign a block, she offered to do the quilting as her gift to Christine. Who am I to turn away the answer to a prayer when it knocks at my front door? It was a no-brainer to take her up on her offer.

I mentioned that it was fun to collect signatures, right? The top right square in the picture above went all the way to Pittsburgh and back to be signed by a family who used to live in our neighborhood. The block under that, in the bottom left corner, is signed by a little Japanese woman who has been friends with Christine for years. That, I think, is my favorite block of all.

The block below in the bottom left corner is a close second. The couple who came to sign this block dropped by at about 9:00 pm, and embarrassingly enough, I still hadn't cleaned the table from dinner. They were very gracious while I cleared away some dishes, wiped the table and pulled out fabric samples so they could pick which they liked best. The wife narrowed it down to three different blocks and then told her husband to choose. He started to choose something that was not in the options she offered. She got him back on track and then she asked him to sign for them because he had better writing. Their kind negotiations and the familiarity of their back-and-forth was very telling of a long marriage of cooperation, mutual respect and love, and friendship. Anyway, I think their birthday wish was rather creative.

Gratuitous artsy smartsy quilt shot. That trumpet vine makes the perfect backdrop for quilts. I wish it were in bloom all year round.

Christine still lives in the house her husband built for their family in the 60's. Her family checks in on her several times throughout the day. When the weather is good, she walks around the block. She was even still driving until just three years ago, when her eyesight became too poor. She still goes out in the early mornings, before the sun comes out {she's very careful to avoid exposure of her skin to the sun} to weed her roses. I thought it fitting to call this quilt Christine's Flower Garden. The finish was really down to the wire and I didn't have time to sew the label into the back like I usually do, so I put it in the corner. I kind of love how it turned out.

More about this quilt:
Working on a plan
Moving forward with a plan
The first half of the blocks
The second half of the blocks

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Rest of the Signature Blocks

The more sand that has escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we should see through it. –Jean Paul

Let's pretend it is the beginning of September for a minute, instead of almost the middle of November. Then this will be a new and shiny project instead of old news. I've been working on signature blocks. I already showed you these cute green blocks.

I'm working towards 100 blocks. Here are some more green ones.

I tried to do about the same number of blocks in each color. These are the last of the green ones.

My turquoises aren't very turquoisey, but love these pretty 1930's reproduction fabrics.

More turquoise blocks. I'm going to put these together into a quilt for sweet lady in my ward {congregation} who is turning 100.

The last four turquoise blocks. In 1930 this friend of mine, Christine, turned 16. That's why I wanted to use the reproduction fabrics.

I love this sweet blue print.

And this one.

And this one.

I was really excited to finally get to the purple blocks. Partly because they are such pretty fabrics and partly because I meant I was almost done!

The blocks are 5" and paper pieced. I printed the pattern out on freezer paper, which meant I could peel the whole pattern off the back of the blocks when I was done.

To be honest, I was really relieved to get these last four blocks done. Christine's birthday is September 17th. But the party is scheduled for the 6th.

And here's a little recap of all 100 blocks – 25 sets of four.

Time to get them signed and all put together!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

The Story of My Life

Happily ever after isn't a fairy tale. It's a choice. –Dawn Weaver

This is one of my favorite wedding pictures. It serves as a reminder that some things never change. My hairstyle has been pretty much the same for the last 18 years. And Mr. Bug still has that amazing smile.

What a photo can't measure is how much two people can grow together.

I've spent 43% of my life with Mr. Bug. It is impossible to imagine life without him. It hasn't always been easy, but the struggles make the good times even sweeter!



P.S. This video portrays a very sweet love story. Don't ruin it by looking up they lyrics for the song. They are kind of depressing.

P.S.S. The Corn Wagon Quilt Company, my favorite LQS is also celebrating their anniversary today. They have $1.99 fat quarters from 9 to 10 am. I think I'm going to do some double anniversary celebrating today.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sabbath Songs: Glorious


There are times when you might feel aimless
You can't see the places where you belong
But you will find that there is a purpose
It's been there within you all along
And when you're near it
You can almost hear it

It's like a symphony just keep listenin'
And pretty soon you'll start to figure out yo part
Everyone plays a piece and there are melodies
In each one of us, oh, it's glorious
–Stephanie Mabey



This beautiful song is featured in Meet the Mormons, which chronicles the day-to-day realities of six members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints living in countries around the world. If you love cutie David Archuleta's voice a free mp3 download of this song is available.



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