Sunday, June 22, 2014

Val's Quilt

My little sister turned 18 today. Just writing that out feels so wrong, I just can't believe it. My parents adopted her from an orphanage in Belarus when she was a year old and she joined our family like she owned us. She is stubborn, loyal, generous, and strong, and I have loved her with my whole heart from day one. 

She chose her favorite colors for her quilt from my Kona color card: caribbean, berry, black, and white. This may actually be too much white for her, and I probably should have added some skulls;) Other than that, it is so "her".

My machine has a small throat and it has often made me shy away from bigger quilts, or at least determined how I would quilt them. But this time I really wanted to echo quilt the stars, yet knew that turning this size quilt that many times would be torture. So I decided to try quilting it in two parts. Below you can see the top half, basted and ready to go. (I baste very sparsely and never use a walking foot - somehow it always works for me.)


After I quilted both halves, which turned out to be so very easy, you can see below how I sewed them together on the front of the quilt, then trimmed the batting pieces to just touch each other.

Then I whipped-stitched the pieces together. Not sure this provided more stability, but it made me feel better.

Then I trimmed and folded the two back fabric pieces and blind-stitched them closed.

In the end, you could not tell at all that it was quilted in two parts and then connected.  The extra steps at the end were time-consuming, but it was better than losing my sanity trying to stuff the whole quilt through my machine's throat 956 times.

I'm disappointed that it didn't photograph too well. Maybe it's the stark contrast of the white and dark colors? I was also in a hurry - late for her birthday dinner! - so I didn't have time for a lot of close-ups to show all the fabrics.

Honestly, when I first started making the blocks, I didn't really like them that much - it was the caribbean color that turned me off.  But the more I made, the more I liked how it was was coming together, and now that it's done I absolutely love it. I used this tutorial to make the blocks.

I remember when she was all forehead and big, ice-blue eyes. Now her eyes are green and just look how beautiful she's become. Happy Birthday, Val!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Dear 21-Year-Old Me

Making progress on my little sister's quilt. Gotta have it done by her birthday this weekend!

 This morning my son found our engagement picture and laughed, as children do when they see younger versions of their parents. It was only 12.5 years ago, but wow, so much has changed since then! As I sat there working on the quilt, I thought of all the things I would tell 21-year-old me... not that she would listen;)

I would tell her:
  • Relax! Watch your life unfold with wonder, take it as it comes, and love it for what it is.
  • Don't try to fix everything and everyone. Know when to keep your mouth shut and when not to get involved in someone else's drama.
  • Don't be so trusting of people. Expect to be hurt and only put your trust in those who are worth the heartache.
  • Be patient. With yourself, with others, with life.
  • Perfection is an illusion. There is no such thing, so don't be so upset when you can't achieve it.
  • Push yourself! Work hard! Earn what you want, don't expect it to just happen because Dad said that your life would be great. He was talking about potential, not about a lucky free ride.
  • Let go of the guilt and toxic shame that you carry around. Forgive yourself.
  • You cannot make everyone like you or agree with you. You are not that special. But what others think does not determine your worth.
  • Take care of your body! Exercise and eat right and value your health and strength.
  • Stay put in your first apartment. Finish school, get a job, build a life slowly. Don't get pregnant 3 months after your wedding. Don't buy a house at 22. Stop rushing to reach milestones or keep up with others.
  • Your life will be nothing like what you imagined, so go ahead and get used to that fact.
 Some of these things are cliche', some common, and some unique to me and my personal brand of naivete' (which might be a nice word for "stupid"). But each is a hard-earned lesson that fills me with gratitude instead of regret. Each has a story that, when strung together, helps make up the sum total of who I am today. I survived all of that, I'm recovering from the aftermath, and have so much more wisdom going forward. In another 12.5 years I will probably be able to write a similar list to the 33-year-old me... but hey, that's growth. :)