I’m an absolute glutton for punishment, and Christmas of 2015 confirmed that, in case anyone was still unsure about it.
2015 will forever be the year I lost my mind and decided to do a fully handmade Christmas for the whole family, but decided (in all of my pregnant wisdom) that it would be easier to begin projects after our son and second child was born, knowing that he wasn’t due until the first week of October. Since that wasn’t good enough, once he was born I decided not to start until after my husband returned to work and my son was already one month old.
Oh, and even better? We have to ship everything across the country back home and we had two weeks planned where family would be visiting us and I wouldn’t be able to work on gifts during their stays.
So, if you do the math, carry the one, divide by zero… that’s roughly 7 weeks to churn out and ship out gifts for 9 people.
Smart people would choose quick and easy projects, and, for the most part, I did, but I also decided Grandma needed a quilt.*
*See: glutton for punishment, above.
Making Grandma’s Quilt
Hubby’s grandmother is an incredible woman. She grew up in LA, raised three awesome children, and was faithfully and happily married for over 50 years. For her 80th birthday, she went boogie boarding. She makes friends everywhere she goes and will undoubtedly run into someone familiar no matter where she is (seriously, she ran into neighbors while travelling in Europe).
The husbeast adores her, and I have taken quite a liking to her myself. I decided at some point that I wanted to make a quilt for her, and spent some time finding the right pattern and fabrics to make her the perfect quilt.
I came across the Ruby, Pearl, and Opal Quilt by the Moda Bake Shop first. It was perfect – the story, the backing, the piecing – everything about it said “Grandma” to me, so I knew it was meant to be. I then waited months and months until the Milk, Sugar and Flower line by Penny Rose Fabrics was released and I could pick up the two layer cakes I needed to make this quilt for grandma. Every part of this quilt was deliberately chosen and planned with this incredible woman in mind.
Then I sat on the materials for months, because I make bad life decisions.
Ruby, Pearl, and Opal Quilt
I finally started the quilt in November and was pleasantly surprised that it came together pretty quickly – a blessing, since I waited so long to even open the packages of fabric.
I carefully cut and pieced this quilt top, with Kona cotton in white for the sashing. My blocks didn’t make perfect 12.5″ squares, but I got them close enough and called it good. It’s spread out on a queen sized mattress there – it was roughly 58″x72″.
The back is pieced, as well, per the instructions above. I chose this large blue floral from the fabric line to be the main fabric for the back as it was reminiscent of the flour sacks from years ago that were used to make clothing by struggling families.
I free motion quilted the whole quilt on my home sewing machine. I was pretty pleased with the results for my first attempt. If you’re interested in free motion quilting – just go for it! I read about 8 tutorials on it, practiced on a 15″ scrap quilt sandwich, then stuck the whole thing in my machine and went for it.
I used my embroidery machine to embroider this little quilt label for it. It says, “From my hands… To your heart.” Short, simple, sweet.
I then machine bound the whole thing (because I really didn’t have time for hand stitching the binding, and I don’t have the patience for that sort of thing) with this happy yellow fabric, echoing the yellow print from the quilt top.
I fell in love with this quilt. For the short time it graced my home, it brightened up any room it was in. It was just a happy little quilt, happy to exist, happy to keep you warm, happy to sit in the corner. It was unassuming, and didn’t command attention when you walked in, but it was lovely and cozy to have around.
As for the recipient? She adored it, as did everyone else who saw it. I was really touched at the response my happy little quilt received. It had many (many!) flaws, but it was perfectly functional and nice to have around (and this smart blogger didn’t photograph the flaws because who wants to dwell on those anyways?).
This year, I’m getting ready to start my handmade Christmas shenanigans in the next week or so, in hopes that I won’t be trying to finish a quilt the night before I absolutely need to mail things for them to arrive in time. I was pretty proud that I managed to finish in the nick of time, though, and hubby was thoroughly impressed.