November 5, 2014
Life is full of twists and turns. A recent crisis brought an anxiousness out in me that I could tell I was not handling well. Tough things were happening, and I realized that this is the way it was going to be for awhile. This stressful time came with a ton of meetings, a lot of waiting to see the direction things would go, and a bit of hand wringing. I found the only thing that calmed my nerves was keeping my hands busy with something, like cleaning, cooking, or working on this quilt I just finished.
I found the pattern called Leaves about two years ago in a fabric shop in Eugene, Oregon. The pattern was designed by the authors of The Modern Quilt Workshop and has a medium level of difficulty. I figured I could probably make this quilt without buying any new material. So, I began pulling fabric from several different spots around my sewing room.
I like to keep different colors of fat quarters and medium sized pieces of fabric above my sewing machine, having the colors out where I can see them inspires me!
Soon, I had a pile of fabric to begin cutting out the pieces. One of the challenges of this quilt was working with curves, which I have never done on a quilt before. I think that working on this quilt was a test to see if someday I could make a Double Wedding Ring Quilt. I have always been intimidated by all of the curves in a Double Wedding Ring Quilt.
I made the stencils and began cutting the fabric.
This is my son Wesley’s cat, Cheddar, who likes to ‘bless’ each of my projects by laying on whatever is near the sewing machine. She is one of the nicest cats we have ever had. She has an easy going temperament, likes people, and purrs easily.
Pinning each block gave my fingers something to focus on especially when I was feeling anxious.
Drinking more water, taking long walks, trying my hand at cooking, emptying out bedrooms and closets, taking unused items to Goodwill, and keeping up with cleaning only calmed me for a short time. Working on these blocks eased my stress to the point that I even bought more pins so, I could keep putting blocks together at one time. Seeing the fabric being used up made me feel good. Fussing with each block until I got it together the way I liked gave me a sense of accomplishment.
After each individual block was sewn together, I pressed them and re-sized each block.
This is what a block looks like when it has been pressed and sized.
After the blocks were all lined up on my ironing board, I began the piecework of laying out the quilt on my wall that has a long stretch of felt board on it.
Having the pieces organized on the wall helped me to see which colors I had used and to arrange the light and dark pattern in a rotating sequence. After I aligned the squares the way I liked, I labeled each row and numbered each pair in the row. Then, I matched the seams in each pair of circles and sewed them together. I ironed each finished circle block and began sewing each row together. Labeling each piece kept me from sewing the wrong blocks together with the wrong row. Back in the day, I might have thought this was all a bit too much work, but when you’re stressed and you need something to focus on, all of the fuss was exactly what I needed.
From cutting all of the pieces to sewing all of the blocks into rows together, it all took about two and a half months to have the top of the quilt sewn together. I did need to buy more of the lighter lime color of fabric and a few various shades of pink colored fabric to have enough variety when laying out the light and darker blocks.
The finished quilt is a queen size 93.5″ x 93.5″ and was machine quilted by Tom Korn, a local quilter in the area. Slowly but surely, the stress of the crisis that hit a few months ago is starting to ease. Finding a new ‘normal’ is a tricky thing to do. At least it is for our family.
Thanks for listening!