Monday, October 27, 2014

Children are a Gift From the Lord

I have a very precious friend who makes it her aim to encourage me in countless ways. It has been a rough year for me, and she has been careful to prop me up time and again. It has been a big year for her as well, and so in my estimation, her care about me and care of me, is even more precious.
Early in the year, my friend, we'll call her "Charlotte", in an effort to affirm my gifts and provide me with some worthwhile work, gave me my first official quilt commission. Two in fact! She asked me to create cuddle rugs for newborns arriving in August and September. 
Charlotte has always praised my creativity. She makes me feel that my artistic flair is a remarkable aspect of, me! That it's a gift that translates into good for my family and others. During a time when I was questioning my own value, Charlotte wisely provided me with an opportunity to be my(valuable)self- to be my busy-hands, colour-loving, ticking-with-ideas, creative self. I can hear her say, "this is a season where you can be yourself". Ahhh, my clever Charlotte could see the connection between quilt commissions and a reworked self esteem.
So let me share a few photos, taken throughout this year, of the process of creating baby quilts, which started a lot of other good things too.

One of the many things I admire about Charlotte is that she operates in advance. (Such a bewildering concept!) So we began well in advance of those August and September due dates. This meant we didn't yet know if I was sewing for a boy or a girl, and I took the punt that one of each could work. We shopped for a pretty palate of softly-coloured, delicate prints for mystery baby #1. I decided to set these prints amongst crisp white triangles and used a pattern from one of my favourite designers, Rita of Red Pepper Quilts. (Each week I look forward to her progress posts with gorgeous photos and details of the new baby blankets Rita creates. She has surely made one client after another extremely delighted with their purchases!)

An aspect of patchwork that I avoid like the plague is quilting. I knew that I would need to overcome my reluctance to stitch through all the layers this instance. I have a new-to-me beautiful Janome that I believed would take some of the perceived sting out of the process. I've worked in the shop's workroom long enough to know the how-to's of prepping for quilting and I was careful to pin baste this puppy to within an inch of its' life!
I discovered the extremely gratifying outcome of the '6 (edited) p's of preparation' and how they relate to performance.
And, I established a respectful rapport with my new machine and its' dual feed built-in walking foot, learning early on that slow and slooower-er-er and very steady is the only way a new quilter should approach this task. Big tick✅, I have nicely machine quilted my first ever (tiny, mind you) piece! The 'nicely' bit is the imperative here, -I knew I could quilt it poorly, I didn't know I would quilt it well, and ENJOY THE PROCESS!
Ahhhh, that is where we leave this little candy-coated quilt for a princess, because, you see, the baby BOY, for whom I was sewing, as it turned out, would require something less dainty. Both boys would, in fact!
So, we moved on to this stack of ultra cool, urban looking prints. Isn't variety the spice of life? For me, the more prints, the merrier! And what could be better than starting a new project midstream? I have no problem with that, at all. Charlotte encouraged me to use my own design this time, and that's just more fun too, as far as I'm concerned. 
I focused on this dear little seagull in his yellow galoshes, and kept it so so simple. Sometimes, the straightforward just works. 
The 9-patch block I used is an old and basic utility block. The clever bit to this quilt is the way the colours jump and play around together, and the name we gave it, which we came up with together - "Puddle Jumper", after the yellow-booted birdy hopping round the blocks in his rain gear. And that's it. Simple, sweet. 
More happy time spent practising quilting!

(I love the 'Big Finish' of the royal blue stripe!)

And it was packaged up on time (but not early, never early, (so sorry Charlotte!)) for the dear little fellow that was prayed over throughout the process!
And boy, did that feel GOOD!

Little boy #2's rug proved a bit more painstaking in its' design inception, and required one, two, three do-overs. Do you know that sometimes, if it sees too much use, you must replace your seam ripper? Haha! I discovered this fact! A new, sharp, "un-picker" works wonders! 

After much debate during the design wall stage, and miles of reverse sewing, "Baby Gem" was finally finished! You can pray a lot for a youngster when you have to sew and pick and re-sew a few times over! It was my pleasure.

"Children are a gift from the Lord", Psalm 127 sings out. Charlotte asked me to include this promise somewhere on the quilt, and so stitched into the binding is this very testament. It's a tiny bit of print which packs a big message - God's good Word always does. It's a reminder that these boys are a promised blessing to their parents, of the Lord's generosity to us, all things coming from Him, and of His amazing, intricate, unique creations...each of us!


  1. Beautiful Mary...both the quilts and the message behind are wonderful and sorry I haven't been there for you as much as I would have liked...hugs

    1. Wendy Wendy. You've had some milestones this year marking your history too! I understand. Thanks for all your beautiful comments.

  2. "Quilters affect eternity; they can never tell where their influence stops."
    Thank you for already influencing these young lives in countless ways, Booie! You are a treasure, Love, sister K.

    1. I like the quote K! Thank you - always affirming me - I can count on it! (Look at you in your profile photo in the olive grove in Collioure! I remember an early trip back to the ranch for me on that particular evening!) Love you dearest K xo