The Importance of a Quilt- The Sentiments

I remember going to a silent auction and standing beside a donated quilt. I was admiring all the elements such as colour, pattern, layout and quilting when a lady beside me broke my admiration by stating in a rather brusk and annoyed manor, "I'll never understand it, they take perfectly good fabric, cut it up and sew it all back together!" and off she went in a huff.

I was floored and amazed at her thought process, never once had that ever occurred to me. As a quilter I take all the beautiful fabrics around me and curate them into an entirely new design to create a new thing of beauty.

I often take an historical perspective when thinking about life. The origins of quilts was of utility, thrift and necessity. These women created beauty out of rags, flour sack and anything they could resource.

I was approached by a friend of a friend about 10 months ago with the idea of transforming a widows husbands flare of wild shirts into a memory quilt for her. We finally met in person this past November where we touched and admired the variety of shirts. We explored a variety of quilt styles and were able to decide on the feel and look that she wanted her late husbands shirts to be represented. This was an exciting start to a creative partnership.

Christmas came and went, our house went on the market and I needed to get on it. I have a wonderful quilting friend who loves to piece and doesn't do any free motion quilting. We have struck up a wonderful relationship. She pieces tops for me and I quilt for her. A match made in heaven. So one morning she came over and I gave her the marching orders for these shirts. It was great to have this creative interaction as we matched colours and set up the design for the top.

26 hours later and an amazing collection of double hour glass blocks, I was ready to break it down of how to construct the quilt. As I crunched numbers and played with the variety of layouts I realized that I could construct 4 lap sized quilts, one for each of her daughters and i for my client. Again the lines of creativity and collaboration were opened and we were able to work out the logistics. This was very rewarding for me as a creator to have the collaboration and feedback from my client who doesnt have a quilting background, I welcomed her 'fresh' eyes.

I thought it would be meaningful to have all the quilts pieced the same way but have the quilting be different and if possible reflect the personality of the daughters and mom. Again the collaboration and insights were shared.

This was more emotional for me than I had imagined. I had never had the privilege of meeting this husband and father but had heard many stories and seen pictures. As I pressed the blocks and quilt his smell came out and I imagined his warm hugs he had given over the years to his wife, daughters, grandchildren and friends. My mind turned to memories of my dad and to the incredible impact he had and continues to have on my life. I was privileged and honoured to have been apart of the mourning and more importantly the celebration of him. 

I imagined the gifting of the quilts. I imagined the daughters smelling the quilt and squishing it into their faces. I imagine the movies that will be watched as they cuddle up with their new treasure. I imagine the back of the couch that will proudly display the memory of their cherished father.

Quilts are much more than perfectly good fabric cut up and then sewn back together. They are works of art and for this case treasured family heirlooms that will be cherished and loved. They represent much more than threads.

When I made my final delivery to her home she had about three photo albums on her dining room table and proceeded to cheerfully show me pictures of her husband wearing the specific shirts from the quilt. Her plan is to make an album for her girls with pictures of their dad in his shirts when she gifts the quilts.

Again it was an honour and blessing for me to have been a part of this incredible family memory. I was so pleased to have been a part of this wonderful family honouring their dad. I have spent some time reflecting on my own dad and my interactions with him are cherished even more.

The sentiment of a quilt is as unique as each quilt. Each quilt brings love and sentiment into the world. 

Doodle Series Incorporating Leaves

'Overwhelmed' was how I used to feel about this kind of quilting.

So many ideas. 

So many ideas. 

I had no idea how the quilter could transition from one design to another.

I like order and structure. How did they know it would all fit together?

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I was looking at the process in a linear structured way, rather than looking at the design as being a collection of designs that compliment each other, not compete.

My biggest suggestion is to just go for it.

1.Study the elements of the design. I teach a beginner and intermediate free motion quilting class that helps to understand the elements that go into creating the designs.

2. Practice. There are lots of ways to practice. Experiment with pens and paper, dry erase markers and white boards, grid paper and plain. 

3. Commit. To become successful at anything one must put in the effort. I look back at some of my first quilts and cringe, I mean smile. I can see how far I have come. I love the progress I make and I know its only because I have committed to it and put in the time.

Doodle Series Exploring Swirls

I love learning free motion quilting because I love to see how people connect with the design and then are empowered to try it out. I have always admired swirls and was super intimidated by them. I look back at the quilts I have made over the years and can see my progression. 

There are all sorts of different swirls and lots of different ways to do them. In my intermediate class I teach one variety which I think is a great place to start.

For these doodle sketches I had fun just playing around with different types of swirls. If you do want to learn more from my method I do love to teach and you could contact me.

In the top pic I started with a swirl and then went for it. In the bottom I used the swirl as my main design element.

In the top pic I started with a swirl and then went for it. In the bottom I used the swirl as my main design element.

I encourage you to go for it. Draw, doodle, and design without fear or being judged. You are doing this for yourself. I have a hand injury that has left my right middle finger numb and I have two large scars on either side of my hand, so drawing is sometimes sore and limited, however I know that as I draw I allow my mind to explore all sorts of possibilities. Every doodle can inspire future designs in the future.

I would love to see your doodles and future designs on your quilts.

Happy New Year 2017

I have put a lot of thought into what I want my 2017 to look like. Our house is on the market and due to my husbands work responsibilities we are being relocated to Nanaimo, a city located on Canada's beautiful Vancouver Island on the Pacific Ocean. This move feels surreal and is difficult for me to actually belief it will happen!!

With all this uncertainty of when we will move it has made planning my year tricky. I love to renovate homes and so with a new home will that entail a month or two of full on renovations? How far will we be from the kids schools? Will I be a daily taxi service every morning and afternoon? What will my business look like? How will I attract clients? Will I be quilting less customer quilts and spend more time developing curriculum?

What I want my year to look like can be summarized by the word that kept coming to my mind.

PLAY

At first I thought this rather odd. Over the 2 week break I spent a lot of time playing with my kids. We did a lot of swimming, skating, hanging out drawing/watching movies/learning how to cook, we spent time reviewing old goals and setting new ones. I really enjoyed putting off my own projects and focusing on them, however at the end of the two weeks I was ready to get back into my routine with my quilts, my blog and social media.

I decided to ponder on the concept of play. I feel that kids are losing this in their lives, screens screens and more screens are taking a greater part of their lives and imagination, conversation and relationships that are formed during play are being lost. I know for myself if I am all business and timelines I lose a bit of me if I don't take time to play with fabric. To rip apart an old sheet make a quilt sandwich and just let my hands and mind just go for it.

I thought of an acronym that goes along with PLAY. This will help me keep the balance I need amongst the changes our family will experience and the needs I have as a mom and as a creative person.

P- be Present. Wherever I am and what ever I am doing, I need to be present. Turn the phone off when I am with my kids. Keep my mind on the task at hand and not get distracted by other things.

L- always Learning. I love how much I have learned about quilting and free motion quilting and I love to share it with others. I actually need to always be learning, always pushing myself in all different ways to learn. Contributing to the quilting community is so fulfilling.

A- be Active. Running was a really big part of my life physically and emotionally. I have an injury that has prevented me from running like I used to. Adapt, I can cycle and walk cautiously. So I need to seek out more help from doctors, physio therapy and massage to get back. 

Y- always ask myself with every activity I do, 'Is this helping me meet my why?' Time is the great equalizer. Everyone has the same amount of time every day. I am very aware of how I use my time and am very reflective about my use of time and how that time used is meeting my purpose, my Why.

Some of my professional goals are to help people realize their goals by free motion quilting their own quilts, putting their own mark on their quilts. I love to teach. I really enjoyed my 8.5 years as a full-time elementary school teacher. I love to teach at church. Being able to teach at my beloved local quilt shop, Nuts For Bolts Etc over the past 4 years has been a huge blessing for me. I am a very social person and truly value the relationships I make with others.  Although I am leaving my clients/friends I have made here in Red Deer, I am looking forward to new opportunities to teach, not just in Nanaimo and Vancouver Island, but elsewhere. 

I am working towards having my course outlines available on my website where Quilt Guilds, Quilt Shops and groups of interested quilters can contact me to come and teach. 

As I conclude this post I want to encourage you all to think about your 'why'. Do you have any goals you want to achieve this year and want to share them? Please do. 

Light the World Day 22

Jesus Showed Gratitude

Some ideas to get involved: give a simple gift to the garbage collectors. Offer a prayer of pure gratitude. Write a thank you letter to someone who has positively impacted your life.

I am very grateful for a shift in my focus. I have always made a lot of my Christmas presents and consequently stay up late and stress out about all that I have to do to make the Christmas magic happen.

This year is unique because we have our house listed on the market which means our house needs to be in a state of perfection- another level of stress.

This year I am grateful for maturity. I am grateful to see more clearly the importance of being present and focused on the things that matter most. When I look back at this Christmas season I will remember the acts of service and interactions with others the most.

This afternoon I decided to make sure I have the caramel popcorn made so when the kids get home we can package it up, write Christmas cards to their teachers and help my kids feel the importance of showing gratitude.

What are you grateful for?

Light the World Day 21

Jesus Forgave Others

Some ideas: is there a family member you haven't talked to lately? call them. Make a list of your grudges. Then make plans to let them go. Be kind instead of right for an entire day.

I knew it would be hard to blog every.single.day. however I have loved this advent. My focus has been on a daily focus on the amazing qualities of the Saviour. I will not go into great detail about today's action.  Someone in my family was misunderstood and unintentionally hurt another's feelings. When I was made aware of this situation my heart was heavy. I didn't know how to resolve it. I prayed and contemplated what to do. 

My resolution was to make this woman a quilt to ask for forgiveness. Today I will deliver that quilt. I pray for guidance of speech and action.

Paisley and swirl all over design. Free tutorial coming!!

Paisley and swirl all over design. Free tutorial coming!!

Light the World Day 20

Jesus Saw Potential in Others

Some ideas to get involved: be a mentor/tutor to someone. Take a child to work and let them so a small part of your job. Cheer someone on! Attend an event to support someone you know.

Today my son played his last game in his community basketball league. A year ago he didn't really understand the game or wasn't very good at it. For the past year he has studied, practiced and dedicated himself to the game. He has worn through several balls as he toke it upon himself to walk to school (weather permitting) and back every day dribbling his ball. Last week's game he got 30 points. Of the 12 games they played they only won 4. Its not about the win, its about the process and what can be learned. I love watching him commit to something, work hard at it and be successful in his own progression. 

Light the World Day 19

Jesus Calmed the Storm

Some ideas: Learn ways you can help people around the world through charitable giving. Review emergency response plans for people living in your area. Give your family or loved ones the gift of a 72-hour kit for emergencies.

Having 5 kids equates to 5 very different personalities and reactions to situations. I go by Joesph Smith's mantra, teach them correct principles and they shall govern themselves. Needless to say our home is not perfect and there are storms that sometimes erupt (I have a 13 and 12 year old!). We strive to have peace in our home and always look to Christ's example.

Light the World Day 18

Jesus Honoured the Sabbath

Some ideas: turn off your phone for a few hours today. Attend a religious service in your area. Visit a family member.

Our family keeps the Sabbath different from the other days of the week. We attend church in the am from 9-12. We try to keep meal preparation rather simple, if we aren't having guests. We spend time together. I never sew or quilt or do any sort of quilting stuff on Sunday. We monitor what we put on our screens. We often have pop corn and watch a family oriented show. Going on nature walks is also another favourite activity. We also like to play games and enjoy being together.

Light the World Day 17

Jesus Cared for His Mother

Some ideas: call your mother right now. Make a list of all the things your mother has done for you. Send it to her. Identify a motherly figure in your life and take her flowers.

This is today's task. This video is so sweet. Being a mom is a lot harder than I ever imagined. I am grateful for the example of Jesus Christ of being patient and kind.

Light the World Day 16

Jesus Showed Compassion 

Here are some ideas: participate in a local sub-for-Santa for a family that could use some holiday cheer. Try leaving only encouraging comments of social media. Pray for an opportunity today to show someone compassion.

I am not very tech savvy. I have a deadline for some pattern publishing and was really struggling with making some diagrams. My friend Mary came to the rescue. She was able to do what I needed in a matter of minutes. I told her that she lite up my world. So grateful.

Light the World Day 15

Jesus Worshipped Through Song

Some ideas: invite a friend to attend a Christmas Day worship service to sing hymns and worship. Share your favourite performance on social media. Listen to Christmas hymns for an entire day.

My mom came and did Christmas baking with my youngest son while listening to Christmas music. It was a sweet memory.

Light the World Day 14

Jesus Taught Us To Clothe the Naked

Some ideas: collect winter clothing (old or new) for your local homeless shelter. Learn about how we should love those in need from a wise king. (Mosaic 4:14-27). Go through your closet and donate.

I worked on writing quilting patterns yesterday, this is a humbling act for me. I am not very competent in this area and I feel like it takes me so much longer than it should. I just keep reminding myself that this is the only way to learn. It's humbling.

Tomorrow's challenge is to worship through song. I would love to hear what songs touch your heart.

Light the World Day 13

Jesus Showed Humility 

Some ideas: share an experience with loved ones about a time you had to rely on God's help. No matter your age, ask a parent how to deal with a current challenge in your life. Think of a time you were wrong about someone. Share it with a loved one.

Yesterday's challenge was "Jesus taught others and so can you." I had a dear friend come over and teach me how to operate a computer program. I also had the opportunity to help a student decide on a free motion quilting design that would best suit her table runner.

Tomorrows challenge is to clothe the naked. Do you feel a little closet purging ahead of you?

Light the World Day 12

Jesus Taught Others 

Ideas: Share your favourite teaching or story of Jesus on social media. Pass down something that you learned from your parents or grandparents. Watch an online tutorial to learn a new skill that can benefit others.

Yesterday's challenge was "Jesus Ministered to Children". I decided on doing one on one dates with each of my kids. Saturday was wonderful to go to the temple. I toke my two younger boys to a seniors centre then out for treats. Not exactly sure what I will do with my third son. We are still planning.

We spent time as a family after church preparing Christmas presents. I love seeing my family growing, learning and appreciating that happiness comes from serving other and working together. So grateful to be a mom and to teach my kids the importance of who they are.

Light the World Day 11

Jesus Ministered to Children

Some ideas. Ask your children what they think you should pray about as a family. As a Christmas gift, purchase a picture of Jesus for your child's room. Teach your child of the Saviour's love for them. Make plans to take each of your children on a 1-on-1 activity.

Yesterday was a thrill for me and my kids. I was blessed to find 13 male names and 14 female names. We had a great time at the temple then I toke them out for Vietnamese food, yum.

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They do love each other! Pretty cold day in Calgary.

My beautiful daughter. So grateful to have shared this with her and my son.

My beautiful daughter. So grateful to have shared this with her and my son.