I am so lucky to have a mother that decades ago took the time to teach me to sew. I received my first sewing machine from my grandmother because she just couldn’t make the transition from a treadle to an electric machine. I put many hours on that first machine making clothes and a few crafts. In 1979 I bought a brand new Kenmore sewing machine and this is the machine that I still use. While my children were growing up, I used it quite a bit for clothes but over the past 10 to 15 years, it has been sitting idle in the basement.
After seeing the beautiful quilts that my son’s lady friend, Meghan, had created I decided to unpack my machine and see if I could create some craftiness. Just a word of warning – leaving a sewing machine in a basement is not a good idea. Thankfully, my dad was able to get it all oiled up and working in tip-top shape.
I decided to start small so I made a
camouflage baby quilt. My sister-in-law and her husband are going to be first-time grandparents and the “theme” for the baby’s room at their house is camo. It turned out quite cute and was a real confidence booster. I also had done a Fred’s Spool quilt top for the guest bedroom but decided against quilting it. Instead I made it into a duvet cover. Oh, and I can’t forget my precious dog, Sophie; she has her own quilt to lay on.
During these practice runs, I decided that to commemorate my daughter and son-in-law’s upcoming five-year anniversary I would make them a quilt. I wanted it to reflect the beautiful view that they see every day – the Pacific Ocean. The other criteria was that the fabric would come from a quilt shop in Indianapolis – Crimson Tate:: Modern Quilter. I had been following the owner, Heather Givans, on Facebook and wanted to use some of her fabrics. So enter the modern age – FaceTime!!! On one of Meghan’s excursions to Indy, she set aside some time to FaceTime with me to select my fabrics. I was also able to meet Heather and she was just as I imagined – passionate about fabric and quilts. A week later when Meghan and my son, Eric, came to visit my fabric came with them. Perfect timing, as I had a four-day week-end that turned into a five-day week-end. Bonus!!
So how to turn yards of fabric into a quilt? For me, it starts with planning the design. I decided on a pattern that caught my eye over at Cluck Cluck Sew. Although it was posted as a baby quilt, I had a feeling this was the pattern I wanted and I was right. Now the fun begins with cutting and sewing the pieces together. Thank goodness for the modern convenience of a rotary cutter and mat. Old school would have me using pinking shears – not so much!!!
A little explanation of the fabric choices. The inspiration fabric is in the upper left corner – all the microbes and plankton that can be found in the ocean. To the right are the “shells” that wash up on the beach. In the lower left corner is the sun and sand and to the right is the “sea weed”. It all reminds me of the beautiful Pacific Ocean and the fun I had during my last visit.
I am straying from my story…..having a long week-end and plenty of fabric makes a quilt top go very fast. I learned about squaring up quilt squares and how important it is to the overall quilt top. You can see my handy-dandy block squarer-upper in the next picture. As I sewed each square and row into place, the design started to come alive. I was getting so excited to see the finished product. In only a week, I had completed the top and just needed to start working on the back.
After a few attempts at piecing the back (another lesson learned in planning) I was ready to put it all together. Oh, and it helps to buy the right size batting. I have a few in my stash now for future projects.
I thought about it all day at work and I was ready to take the plunge. I had decided on a simple quilting design to put it all together. I had no idea that this quilt was going to weigh at least 100 lbs. Okay, so I’m exaggerating but it certainly felt like it. A full night of quilting and then I was ready to put on the binding; that would wait until the next night. Something else I learned to do – make my own bias tape. Pinterest to the rescue!!
And then it was done. I couldn’t believe that I had created this quilt. I still loved the colors and design and how it all came together. Each time I worked on it, I couldn’t help but wonder how the recipients would like it and how much I missed them. Perhaps this was a way to let them know they are thought about each and every day.
I hope that Lisa and Kyle enjoy this quilt as much as I did creating it. I hope that it will bring some warmth on those cold, foggy San Francisco days and remind them of another west coast – Lake Michigan – and the family that loves them.
And “How Fun Was That???” – it was AWESOME!!! Time to get started on another.