Happy New Year Everyone! Last year I set and linked up an OMG with Elm Street Quilts exactly once, in January. I finished the goal, so that was a good thing. I didn’t remember to link up the finish though. And that was the end of my organization plan for 2019! Anyone want to take bets on whether I can do a bit better in 2020? Who knows? I am going to give it a shot though. So many times I flit from thing to thing which doesn’t make for a lot of finishes. Hoping this will help me get a few things accomplished.
This month I plan to finish my Squared Away quilt. Last week I got it basted and I have been quilting it with straight line patterns. It is going well and I would guess I am 30% done? So it should be easy-peasy to finish quilting it and get it bound. I really like the look of this so far and it is going well.
I also got my first block done for the 2020 Monthly Color Challenge hosted over at Patterns by Jen. I was a lurker with this challenge the last two years, watching others make these fun blocks. So I am joining in. One block a month is attainable and while it likely won’t make a dent in my scrap bins, at least I will use a few! This month is yellow. It was actually tough to find two yellows to use together as apparently all of my yellow scraps are exactly the same value. This looks pretty good though. Side note – when I was looking at my scraps I couldn’t remember where the heck any of them came from. Then I remembered that Mari sent me lots of yellow pieces last year when I lamented not having a yellow bin. So, Mari – do these look familiar? Did you give me these???
Did you see this great story in the news? I love stuff like this!! To whomever left this woman a tip of $2020 – you are amazing!! I would rather read about these sorts of events than politics any day of the week.
OK – that is it for now. Today I have a Chemex Cozy to make for a customer. I am also hoping to get outside and help Ray with some yard work – the last four days have been migraine days so I have been a couch potato. Maybe some fresh air will do this quilter good. How about you?
I haven’t finished a quilt for such a long time. This one feels great! Partly because I started it in June, 2017 so it has been around for a while. But also in part because I am donating it to the Mercyful Quilt drive that I have been hosting over these past weeks.
Surely I am not alone in the feeling of intention that comes along when making a quilt for a specific purpose. When I began making this quilt, I chose it because I love the Twisted pattern, the lattice look of it. I was happy because I mainly used scrappy bits that I had in my stash. It was just a nice project. However as I began quilting it, I knew it would be a nice piece to donate to the Palliative Care unit at Mercy Hospital. Once I decided to donate it, my mind constantly wandered, thinking about the purpose of this particular quilt.
I chose to use a grid pattern for the open sections within the lattice. This was a bit time consuming. I did mark the lines with a Frixion pen – though they still have some wobble to them. But I wanted them to be as straight and uniform as I could get them. I marked and quilted a one inch grid on each spot. This gave me plenty of time to think while I quilted.
As my mind wandered, I found myself thinking about the family who might choose my quilt for their special family member who was actively in the dying process. I do not hold any grand illusion that because they have this quilt in hand, the process becomes easy. I have been there. I know that whether given one, or twenty five, handmade quilts, the process doesn’t become easier. But it is something. It might reduce the sterility of the hospital room a tiny bit. Maybe taking the quilt home will bring comfort to the family as they grieve. It gave me great satisfaction to think that maybe by donating this quilt, I am bringing a little bit of solace to the family as well as comfort to the person who died.
Modern, bright florals on the front and soft roses on the back. So sweet.
Since starting this quilt drive, I have received so many comments that compliment the staff who support patients as they die. Many of us feel the same – that this is such a special calling and certainly a very difficult job much of the time. Collectively we are grateful for these angels who are able to provide care for patient and family at this time of life. Personally, when I think of someone dying, I almost always find myself remembering when my first husband died. It is only natural I suppose; this was a huge, life altering event in my, and my childrens’, life. He died in 1994 after experiencing an aneurysm in his brain stem. He was flown to a trauma care hospital and they took care of him (and me) for the next two days.
This was such a stressful, terrifying time in my life. I was only 33 and he was 36. We had three young children. I spent that weekend in a shocked, fearful state of mind. The staff there were amazing. Mark had a nurse that spent about 36 hours with him, without going home. She just stayed with both of us. I remember asking her how she could do this job. I asked her why she stayed so long, and how many of her patients actually survived. She sat with me and explained she felt honored to care for him and me both as we faced this change. She told me that less than 20% of her patients survived. But she felt called to do this work. She told me that most of the nursing staff don’t last a very long time in this type of work, but for the time she was able to, she wanted to do this type of nursing. She was an angel and while I can hardly remember her face, I do remember her words.
There was also a chaplain who came in and out quite a number of times to check on me. Memories of him are a bit of a blur but I know he was there and supportive. At a time like this, there are many decisions to make and having someone who wasn’t emotionally involved is so important. I am not sharing all of this as a call for pity. I am fine and my boys are fine. We will always miss Mark but memories of him have become a sweet part of our life. I am sharing it to describe how needed and comforting it was to have this team of people who deal with death on a daily basis and thus were able help me to deal with it. They helped me to make decisions when I was reeling with shock and grief. Mark wanted to be an organ donor and that process was somewhat involved. They told me what to expect next, why they were doing each process, what Mark might be experiencing as time went on. They were such a comfort at such a scary, sad time.
My Mercyful Quilt is backed with a soft vintage sheet.
So, making this quilt caused me to reflect. It gave me time to think about providing what we can to help people we will never meet. I thought about how being kind to a faceless person feels good. Quilting this piece made me realize how important it is to pay it forward. I received comfort from a team such as the one at Mercy Hospital. It is my turn to help the next person going through a difficult time.
Now this one is done so I can look forward to quilting the next one. I have two quilt tops in line to work on. I have a few holiday projects in process but I think it is ok to work on those first and then tackle the next Mercyful quilt.
Mercyful Quilts – destined to bring comfort to others.
Look at the stack that is waiting to be picked up! I believe we are at twenty quilts so far and more are on the way. My gratitude intention for Thanksgiving this year is easy. I am over the top grateful for each of you and the amazing, gorgeous quilts you are sending to me for Mercy Hospital. Quilts have arrived from Texas, Arizona, Louisiana, Massachusetts and all over California. AMAZING!! I hope you will continue to feel a desire to work on this drive. Share it with your quilting groups, post about it on your blog or Instagram feed and tag it #Mercyfulquilts. The need is ongoing. If you cannot contribute a quilt, you may want to make a couple of blocks for Covered in Love. This program serves the same need at a hospital in Texas.
Wishing all of you a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend.
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If you are a fan of the TV show Parks & Rec, you are probably familiar with Galentine’s Day. The main character Leslie (played by Amy Poehler), holds a Galentine’s Party with her girlfriends each year on the night before Valentine’s Day. It made me smile to see this graphic sent to the Ambassadors by Island Batik.
Since I was in the spirit, last week I made a Valentine, to me from me. I have a number of little heart mini quilts that I have made over the last several years. I like them. Simple hearts of red, pink, cream and white. Remember how much fun Valentine’s Day was? We decorated brown paper bags, wrote the “to” and “from” on each card, and hoped there would be some candy involved.
This year Island Batik included some red and pink batik fat quarters in each of the Ambassador boxes. It just so happened that I recently purchased a pattern from Jayne of Twiggy and Opal called Rainbow Heart Trio. I made just one of the three minis included in the pattern. Don’t you love how the tiny heart is nestled into the center of the larger heart? Since I only made the one mini, I have hardly made a dent in the bundle of pinks and red fat quarters. No worries though, Island Batik has plenty of projects in store for us. I will put them to use soon enough.
This project was yet another lesson in value and color (when, oh when, will I learn these lessons!?) If you look at the tiny heart, you might notice a few pieces of a pale dotted batik. It is a very pale shade of lavender. On its own, it is very pretty. Included with this project and surrounded by the creamy background pieces, it is totally lost. I didn’t really get it until that smaller heart was surrounded by the larger heart. Looking at the photo above, this is the smaller heart when I was piecing it. I thought there was just enough difference between that pale dotted batik and the background. Once it was surrounded by the background it faded out. I also had some of that fabric used as blocks in the larger heart. I was able to unpick those stitches and swap the fabric out with something darker. I left the smaller heart alone. I will get this figured out one day. But for now, the shape of the smaller heart doesn’t show up as much as it would have if I had used darker fabric in those spots. I will get there though. It just takes practice.
The Rainbow Heart Trio pattern comes together quite easily. The longest task is definitely the cutting. The HST’s that make up the smaller heart finish out at 1 1/2″. Tiny little things. I quilted it with my walking foot. The quilting was inspired by the pattern. I liked how Jayne quilted the samples and I followed along with her. The only part that I free motioned was the little scallops around the outer edge of the smaller heart.
Wishing each of you a Happy Galentine’s Day and an even sweeter Valentine’s Day!
Linking to all of my favorites. Check out the tab at the top of the page, Link Ups.