A Lone Star Quilt Made by Yvonne

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This is the Queen Size Lone Star Quilt Yvonne, my quilt teacher, machined pieced.  Friends from Weaver Mennonite Church quilted this blanket by hand as a gift for me over 20+ years ago.  This is when I lived in Pennsyl-Tucky and where the quilt was made.

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The trick to sewing a quilt like this is cutting the exact same sized pieces and sewing a quarter of an inch seam with each piece, so the quilt will flatten evenly when it is on a bed (or a shed…for taking pictures).  If the piecing is off or the sewing is not spot on, the quilt will pucker like a little fabric volcano at the center of the quilt.

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As you can see, Yvonne is a gifted seamstress, quilt template design arrangement extraordinaire, excellent at using engaging colors, and a master hand quilter!

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This is why I fell in love with her quilts, and this is where the seed of desire was planted to make something just as warm and homey for my family.

I give thanks for Yvonne and her craftsmanship abilities, and her patience with me (and my little ones) back in the day!  I give thanks for talented people who can use their gifts to bless and teach others.  I know my life has been blessed in several ways by knowing Yvonne.

Hope the pieces of your life are coming together!

~Molly

For the Love of Quilting

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For the Love of Quilting

How did I learn to quilt?

I learned to quilt by way of apprenticeship.  Yvonne was a woman who babysat my children when they were young, and I fell in love with the patterns, the look, and the feel of her quilts.  She specialized in making Lone Star Quilts and then donating them to fundraiser auctions. Once my interest in how quilts were made started, the grip of learning as much as I could by asking questions and simply by being around the people who made these quilts stoked a fire of creativity in me.

Watching a gathering of women working on a large quilt during a quilting bee, I couldn’t help but notice how many of the quiltersI met in Western Pennsylvania wore antique filigree rings.  I was drawn to the the intricate platinum metal work with the diamond set down in the ring.  In my mind, I associated the filigree ring with good quilting, and I really wanted one. Perhaps if I had one of these rings, I would be a good quilter, too, is what I thought. Several years into this informal quilt training time, we found such a ring from a jeweler in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I have since found two more of these rings and have given one to my daughter, Hayley, and the other to my daughter-in-law, Lesley.

I have done hand quilting on pre-printed baby size quilts to practice perfecting my stitches since I was 20 years old and made my first quilt when I was 26.

I can say it’s been a good journey!

I hope the pieces of life are coming together for you!

~Molly

The Whisper To Every Grandchild

  The Whisper to Every Grandchild: Know You Are Unconditionally Loved and Valuable To Someone

The role of a grandparent has been on my mind lately.  I’ve been trying to put my finger on what kind of grandparent I want to be, and at times, I think, I don’t have a clue what I’m doing. I lack the experience of growing up with grandparents, as both sets of my grandparents had passed before I was born. Because I live on a different coast than my family, my children have had limited contact with their grandparents.  When I was young, I made a promise to myself to be an involved and an interested grandparent, because it would have meant a lot to me as a bee-bop kind of kid to have an older mentor looking out for me, keeping me accountable, and mirroring positive ways of living to me.

A few years ago, I gave an assignment to my high school students to write an autobiography. My students were 16-17 years old and many of them had already experienced a lot of life, even though if you asked them, most would say, “I don’t have anything to write about.” One of my students turned in a paper, like a time release medicine tablet, it has been helping me to grow in the inside, and over time it has been making me a better person.

Joe (this student’s name has been changed to protect his privacy) was a thoughtful, congenial, easy-going, and talented young man.  He always impressed me as a solid, salt of the earth, kind of person.  His family was gifted in the business of sales.  He had three brothers, and he was gifted in doing service work and student leadership.  The year I taught Joe, I remember looking at the stack of autobiographies, taking a deep breath, and diving in not knowing what I was going to find.  When I came to Joe’s paper, I thought to myself, “This will be an encouraging story.”  I felt sure this fellow had a good life.  But as I turned the pages of this student’s experience, I was shocked to read how stressful life had become.  Life had become so overwhelming, he was at the point of making a plan and gathering all of the equipment to end his life.   On the afternoon he went to make his plan a reality, everything was ready to go in the garage, and then he paused, and in his autobiography he shared who slowed down his plan to end it all that day, his grandmother.  He began thinking of how sad she would be.   He realized how grieved she would be without him in her life, and he didn’t want to hurt her or upset her if she found him.  He couldn’t go through with his plan. When Joe was most stressed and weakened by life, it was his grandmother who came to mind.  She was the voice in his head; it was her beautiful, thoughtful, and loving voice of reassurance shaping his value, meaning, and very existence in life.  What we all would give to have such a person in our lives!  I was stunned, and somewhat frozen about what to do with the paper in my hands.  How do I respond to such raw emotion?  And how do I put a letter grade on such vulnerable, open, and painful sharing?  I don’t remember the grade I put on the paper, but I can say Joe and I had a stronger student – teacher relationship from that time on.  Because of this student’s paper, my life was changed in so many ways and my eyes were opened to the students I thought were doing Okay in life were maybe struggling more than I realized.

Sometime later at a school event, Joe’s grandmother came to the booth I was working that year.  I took her order, and as I went to gather her items, I paused and said, “I’m Mrs. McCabe, and I’ve taught some of your grandchildren.  They are good people, and I’ve enjoyed teaching them very much.  Whatever you’re doing as a grandparent, please keep doing it, because you are making a real difference in their lives.”  There at the festival booth, this grandmother looked at me, and she started weeping.  After a bit, she grabbed my hand and patted it with hers as she said, “I love those kids.  They sure are special to me.  Thank you.”  With those words, she let go of my hand.

I’ve never forgotten Joe’s paper, and how he bravely shared such hard decisions or that moment at the festival booth with Joe’s Grandma. When this dear grandmother let go of my hand, I remember thinking to myself:  When I have grandchildren…if I ever have grandchildren…I want to be a grandmother just like her. I want to be a grandparent whose grandchildren know how precious and valuable they are; I want to be that loving voice in their heads, just like Joe’s Grandmother.

~Molly

Checkerboard RD Oregon

In my last post, I had a picture of a hot air balloon ready to take flight.  That same day, on the way home from Bauman Farm, I saw this cool name for a road, and just knew I wanted a picture of it to show you the quilt below.

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I liked catching the hot air balloon in flight in the background.

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  It was a lovely day for a balloon ride!

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 I made this checkerboard for my daughter…alas it still needs to be quilted.  I sewed this top together a few years ago now…like maybe 10 or 11 years.

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The trick will be seeing if she is interested in having it at this point.  On a positive note, I’ve noticed my seam points are lined up pretty nicely on this top!

Hope you’re having a great day!

~Molly

Up, Up, & Away – A Hot Air Balloon Kind of Day

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I’ve been feeling lucky, because I have one daughter and two sons and now I have one granddaughter and two grandsons…another set of three with the same gender arrangement!  I’ve had a fun weekend keeping up with two of my grandchildren under the age of 3.  It’s been busy!

Our family took the boys to The Gilbert House on Friday, to the Children’s Park Area at the Keizer Rapids Park on Saturday, and to the Bauman Farm today.  This is where I found this hot air balloon slowly taking shape for an evening flight.

For some reason, I never get used to the sight of a hot air balloon being readied to fly; it always lightens my spirits!

Hope you’re doing well!

~Molly