Since I started sewing and quilting back in 2009 or so, I’ve wanted to make quilts for my sons. I have such fond memories of my mom making quilts for all of her children, and we still happily use them. Sure, the edges may be a bit frayed, but we treasure them. It’s like having mom here still to comfort us. That I can place my hands over stitches that she made fills me with love (and a few tears).
I finally got both done, and gave them to the boys this past Christmas. It’s taken this long to get pictures because a) I didn’t have anyplace to hang them and b) the boys were hesitant to give them up for washing.
Our newly installed fence gave me a hanging place, so I promised them I’d have them washed, dried and photographed within one day. Success!
My journey to make these quilts for my boys was a long one. My first goal was to finish them for Christmas 2012. I got sorta close – Rob’s was done, but without the binding, and Jake’s was just a quilt top. But, I wrapped them up anyhow and put them under the tree with a promise to complete them. Well, it turned out to take two years, and a complete change of pattern for Jake’s quilt, but I did it! Here’s their stories:
Wonky Improv Quilt
Rob’s is a wonky square with improvisational piecing. I thought that technique was well-suited for him, as he’s my creative thinker and risk-taker. I loved making this, and using the quilt as you go method for it. I learned a lot from the project, including that I wasn’t properly adhering to any quilt as you go method – probably because I didn’t really follow any instructions. Just like motherhood – learn from the mistakes with the first one It was much easier the second go-round. (also like motherhood).
For both of the quilts, I was sure to include some fabric from my mom’s quilt stash that I received when she passed. It was kind of hard, as she had mostly calicos and I wanted to do modern quilt designs. But, it worked out in the end, and each boy knows which patches are from “Nanny” fabric – they were both very close to her, and appreciated this idea.
Floating Squares Quilt
Jake’s was originally a coin quilt pattern with browns and blues. I realized after putting off finishing it for over a year that it may have been because I didn’t really care for it. My sister came over for a crafty day on December 12th, and showed me a baby quilt she’d made for a co-worker. I loved the floating squares pattern, and got so inspired that I decided I wanted to make the quilt for Jake in the same pattern as a Christmas gift. We worked together to pick out the fabrics, and I set to cutting. Yes, it was less than 2 weeks before Christmas, but I was a woman on a mission. Yes, I was still quilting on the 23rd and washing and drying on the 24th, but it got done, and Jake was thrilled with it.
I found a new tutorial by Candy Glendening on YouTube for quilt as you go without sashing, and it was a life saver! You can find it here. Her technique was so easy. I’m sure I would not have been able to finish this quilt so quickly without it. You basically quilt each strip, and then assemble the strips.
Both boys really love their quilts, and it makes me so happy to see them enjoy them. My mom often sewed late into December 24th to finish quilt gifts, and I felt a strong connection to her as I made these Christmas quilts. I know that my boys will cherish them (and never give them to a thrift store). Heck, I had to strike a hard bargain to get them for 12 hours.