Our son, Aaron, and daughter-in-law, Christa, celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary on Wednesday.
You know how you look at your babies and then toddlers and wonder why each phase is passing so quickly, and how you wish you could just tell them to stop growing for a little bit? I look at this picture and wonder how it is possible that now they have their own children, including one who just completed third grade!
So a long time ago, in a galaxy far away....
Just kidding. I think it was in the late 1990s, maybe before Aaron had even graduated from high school and I had not been quilting all that long, I found a pattern for a "white on white heirloom quilt."
It was a booklet of sixteen 18" blocks, all hand quilted. So I purchased the pattern and some solid white fabric, and got to work.
A few years later, probably 1998-ish, Aaron had fallen in love with the beautiful Christa, and in my head I thought this could be an engagement quilt. Not quite finished. Maybe a wedding quilt. Still not finished. Maybe a first anniversary quilt. Nope, not done. Five-year anniversary? It came and went.
I worked on the blocks sporadically, and they were all quilted on this hoop.
When they were finally completed (I have no idea what year that would have been), they were folded and put away. I always meant to just power through and put the blocks together. But then "life" happened and I was busy with other projects. Every once in awhile, Christa would kind of quietly mention, "So about that white quilt...." and I would respond with, "yes, I haven't forgotten...." and then I would forget and go on to something else. Mark would try to nudge me along with reminders like "you know, you really should
just get that white quilt DONE." Yeah, yeah, someday....
And then I realized this was the year of a big anniversary for them--15 years. I have already been on a mission to complete quilts that have been long languishing on a shelf. So I got out all those blocks and tried to figure out how to put the top together.
Since quilt-as-you-go has gained popularity, I'm sure there are other ways I could have approached this, but I followed the instructions in the booklet.
Step 1 was to sew the blocks together, top layer only, right sides together, after first pinning the batting and backing out of the way, and then iron the seam open. This skinny pressing bar was really helpful.
Step 2 involved trimming 1/4" of the batting from each block to get it out of the seam allowance, and then whip stitching the raw edges together.
Step 3 involved pressing the edge of one side of the backing seam under by 1/4" and then hand sewing it on top of the other edge.
That took a couple of days. Those long horizontal seams were pretty slow going.
As I was working on it, it was kind of like looking at a quilt that someone else had completed. I have to admit to being kind of impressed with my tiny and precise stitches. I'm not sure I could duplicate them at this point.
There are some funny little quirks--while I tried to trim the blocks as evenly as possible, and keep everything nice and straight when sewing the front layers and the back layers together, there was still a bit of shifting.
On the back I found this random piece of blue thread quilted into a place where I could not retrieve it, and also few places where I had managed to quilt a pleat into the back! Oh, and even a spot of blood (you will be happy to know that I did not photograph that one).
It was pretty thrilling when it was finally time for photographs of a completed quilt!
Choosing a favorite block was kind of like choosing a favorite child, but I really like these:
As I was trying to figure out how to wrap it, I kept getting an image of it simply folded and tied with a blue satin ribbon. My dear friend, Dotty, did the most beautiful job, adding some white lacy ribbon and a white rose. It was extra special to have Dotty do this--she is the one who taught me how to hand quilt.
Isn't it beautiful?
Aaron and Christa stopped by on their way to dinner. I can't even begin to tell you how thrilling it was to hand over something that has spanned so many years, so many hours, so many yards of white quilting thread, made for two people I love so very VERY much.
Size: 72" x 72"
Pattern by: Maud von Bergh-Arnoldus
Completely hand quilted and pieced by: me (the sewing machine was only used to sew the top layers together and attach the binding to the front--otherwise everything was done by hand).
Things I would change (if I could): Back when I started, I had no clue about solid quilting cotton. For all I know, this is just white muslin. I'm not even sure it's 100 percent cotton. I hope it holds up over the years--it seems fine when I compare it to the quality solid cottons I work with now, but still, it's a bit of a mystery. Also, I could definitely use white batting--I'm not even sure white batting was available when I started this project. It probably was, but quilting was new to me so it didn't even occur to me to check on that. I didn't think it would make much of a difference, but when I put on the binding, it looks so much more white than the body of the quilt. Oh, well...
The most important thing is that it is done and has been passed on to two very special people. And I can tell you for certain that Mark played a big part in its completion--if it were not for his gentle nudging and encouragement, it would still not be done.
I think they are happy with it.
Oh, and the label.
And now I think I'll link it to as many places as possible: crazy mom quilts TGIFF
Confessions of a Fabric Addict.