Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Special Christmas Gift

When I saw the Martinique line from 3 Sisters I knew I had to make my mom a quilt for Christmas. The colors were spot on for her living room and the ticking stripe reminded me so much of the old feather pillows her mom, my grandma, used to make for us.
I snatched up a layer cake and some yardage this spring when it was on sale at Fat Quarter Shop. I felt good. I was planning ahead! Go me!

Then I found this "recipe" for a simple Snuggly layer cake throw on Moda Bake Shop and I was in business. I knew the large blocks would make piecing go quickly and make it more likely that all my seams lined up and all that jazz. Plus, I love the way big blocks really showcase the pretty fabrics.

And then, real inspiration struck.
Uh oh.
I saw this Heirloom Cut Chenille Baby Blanket at the Aesthetic Nest and there was no turning back. I was headed straight on into crazy town and not looking back.
The piecing of the quilt top was easy. And it turned out prettier than I imagined.
The quilting, however, nearly landed me in a straight jacket. 
People who machine quilt are just amazing to me. I guess perhaps I don't have the right sewing room set up to begin with. My space is tight and feeding even a small throw like this in and out of my machine is a real feat. But I don't think I have the mental "set up" either. I am too ADD as a sewer. That repetitive straight line sewing night after night after night after night brought me to tears more than once.

But it was so pretty.
And so I pushed through it.
And if the quilting nearly drove me crazy, well the cutting. . .
Oh the cutting!
The back of this quilt is three layers of super soft flannel. Each little channel between the quilting lines had to be cut by hand, through all three layers of flannel, being careful not to snip the quilt front in the process.

I had opted early on to NOT buy a special chenille cutter because I am cheap so I did all of this with my Ginghers (one of my favorite sewing things inherited from Grandma).  I went to work for a week with a sore, bruised cutting hand that was covered in blisters.

Finally, the cutting was done. I added a patchwork binding by machine since time was short and hand binding was not an option. I have to say, I really liked the machine binding and I think I might do it that way in the future.

Once it was bound it was ready for a wash.
This is where the magic happens. 
After one wash that flannel backing begins to curl up and fray like chenille.
The more it's washed the softer it will get.
And just like the pain of childbirth, all the trials of machine quilting and manually cutting were forgotten as I held this completed beauty in my hands and thought about how much my dear Momma was going to love it.

Mom, I know this isn't much when you think of all you've done for me in my lifetime. But each stitch is a prayer of blessing and of gratitude. You taught me to sew. So many years ago. All those hours in the fabric stores picking patterns and fabrics, all those hours supervising 4-H projects. Neither of us knew at the time the GIFT that teaching would be--though I imagine you had a clue, Mom's always do. Of course there were infinitely more life lessons over the years, of which are too many and too tender to mention (since I'm already weeping). I can't ever say thank you enough. But I hope, that in some small way as you curl up with your coffee and the paper you will feel wrapped up in love and know how much you are appreciated. Be blessed.

Merry Christmas Momma.


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