Saturday, November 21, 2015

Through the Ashes, Bringing Hope

My friend Jeannie and her family lost their home to a forest fire in Bastrop, Texas, several years ago. She was blessed to be gifted a quilt for her daughter's toddler bed that is now being used by her younger daughter in their new home. This fall there was another round of forest fires around Bastrop that destroyed the home of someone she knew with a small daughter. She asked me, knowing I'm a quilter, if I could help by making a toddler-bed sized quilt to gift to this family. I've made blocks and quilts for victims of house fire before through a Facebook group called Sew It Forward. That group hasn't been active lately, so I knew this was something I wanted to do.
I went in my stash and found this delightful Daisy Kingdom fabric from several years ago that I had bought with thoughts of making something for my granddaughter before life turned upside-down with my move to care for my parents in 2004. I pulled it out and thought it was perfect! Bright, cheerful, perfect for a little girl who just had her life turned upside-down.
Border print framed with the smiling daisies became the backing for this quilt.

What started out as the pieced back later became the front, embellished with quilting and thread painting.

I took the yardage with me to a sew-day and started cutting pieces to put together. Using the border print bordered by the smiling daisy print for the top was my initial thought; however, as the friends I was stitching with watched my progress, they loved the randomly pieced backing and thought it should be the front. I switched gears and went with it. As the layout came together, I found I needed one more piece to fill in a few blank spots. There just wasn't quite enough there in the three original prints to make the entire quilt, front and back. I found the purple in the shop where we were sewing and picked up a half-yard cut to fill in those open spots. Before we left that day, the top and back were pieced and ready to sandwich. I even got approval of the top layout by our youngest quilter who even posed for a quick pic!
I packed up and went home from our sew-day to sandwich and begin quilting right away. I knew Jeannie wanted to get this quilt delivered as soon as possible, so it needed to get finished and shipped off to Texas quick! That weekend I was able to work on it and completed the quilting, and got it bound. I sent it through the washer & dryer, and packaged it up to ship in record time. I used two spools of poly thread, one pink and one purple, through a single needle on my Handiquilter Sweet Sixteen to thread-paint the lettering of "You are my Sunshine" in the large yellow block. I had used a water soluble marker to draw registration lines and then draw the letters to follow with my stitching. I then stippled around it with a swirl meander.
Then I moved on to the other blocks. Most of it was quilted in pink, and some in a soft yellow. The yellow sides of the half-square triangles were quilted with feathers in pink thread, and modified orange peels filled the smiling daisy halves. One of the smiling sun blocks and several flowers and bugs on the large print were outlined to give them dimension, while the rest of the quilt was quilted with swirls and loopy meanders.
I added the words "love" and "hope" in the quilting of the two small horizontal yellow blocks near the top of the quilt. I was delighted with the results of my last minute, stash busting efforts to create a quilt for a little one who needed comfort after she and her parents lost their home to fire.
The quilt has safely made it to Texas and has been delivered to the family. I blessed and released this quilt with no expectation of acknowledgement as this family recreates their life from ashes. I pray that the little girl who received this quilt feels the love that went into every stitch to bring her comfort.

More snippets from the sewing room soon,

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful story.....wonderful detail and thoughts. Love the quilting effort you put into this very cute quilt.