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Sunday, September 5, 2010

It Only Took Seven Years...Julie's Quilt

Imagine if you will, a sweet four-year-old beauty with curly hair and sweet face...a pile of fabric scraps in every color and pattern...sun shining through the windows...and a sweet voice asking, "how does that look Mommy?"...this is my precious memory of my oldest daughter designing her very first quilt.  I searched and searched for photos I thought I had taken of that day, but I am convinced after a few hours of looking that the "photos" I took were in my mind and heart.

I remember that day like it was yesterday.  I can hear her voice and see her face as she played with the fabric scraps and put them "just so" on the carpet.  She chose to do a four-patch quilt, so she put together four small squares to see how she liked them.  She worked and worked with it.  It was so wonderful to watch her to see which fabrics she would place side-by-side. 

We didn't buy any new fabrics, but rather used the scraps we had on hand at the time.  Some of the fabrics had been used to make Julie other things like doll blankets, so there was some sentimental value to it as well. 

Once I sewed together the four patch blocks, then she and I spent another afternoon sitting on the floor together while she put them in the "right" order.  I know you may be surprised, but she did this entirely on her own.  Yes, she asked a few questions and I made a few suggestions about colors right next to each other, etc. but made sure she knew that the position of the squares was ultimately up to her. 

I think she did a beautiful job, yes? 

Fast forward at least two years...the top of the quilt was sewn, but the border still needed to be added.  Julie chose that beautiful floral pattern and one strip of white muslin.  It took me another several months to find the time to add the borders.  (Heatherbee was 1 year old when Julie designed her quilt and by this time was nearly three I think). 

Once the borders were added, I had to have it quilted, but at the time, I just couldn't justify the cost.  So, Julie's quilt top was carefully folded up and placed in a bin with other unfinished projects.  (Does anyone else have those??)  I confess it sat there for at least another few years until I was able to get it to my local quilt shop, Sulphur Grove.  By the time Julie's 10th birthday came around, which was last year, I was able to give it to her...but it didn't have the binding added yet!

On her birthday, when she saw her quilt, she drew in her breath and then giggled with delight!  It was the best!  She wrapped herself up in it right then and there even though it was 95 degrees in the shade.  I loved seeing her eyes light up when she saw that quilt and knew that it was the one she and I had worked on together.  Her stitches...and wonderful memories.  (yes, I cried when she opened her quilt!)

I wanted the entire quilt to be "by Julie", so she then had the fun task of choosing a fabric for the binding.  She opted for this spunky black background fabric with white polka dots. 

Isn't it just perfect?  I think it really makes the whole quilt 'pop'. 

I said seven years, right?  Well, by Julie's 11th birthday, the binding was completed and the quilt made it's way onto her bed.  Finally!  From start to finish, it was seven years in the making (give or take a few months).  I am so glad she can now enjoy it and snuggle under it knowing it was something she and Mommy did together.  As a mom, I am hoping she will want to take it with her someday, but if not, I'll cherish having it here at home too.

I have three more quilts in process now.  One quilt is Heather's - she designed hers using scraps from my sewing bin too!  She liked the nine-patch and added denim in between hers, but now can't seem to decide on a backing fabric.  She's not my decisive one, but when she does finally decide, it was be the backing she has "always wanted". 

The other two quilts will be created from scraps of fabric from my girl's clothing.  I've been working on those two for the last five years, adding fabric squares to my stash whenever they grow out of something.  More on those later...probably much later I'm afraid.  (smile)

Have you worked on a project with your daughter that you've truly enjoyed?  I'd love to hear about it!

All my best to you today!  I hope you and yours are blessed on the Lord's Day today!