Friday, 30 January 2015

A Labour of Love

It's a finish!


Four years ago, when my daughter was a one year old in a crib sleeping under a tiny quilt, I decided it was time to start working on her big girl bed quilt.  She was growing so fast...

I searched for the perfect pattern and eventually settled on this Darlene Zimmerman beauty.  It would need some tweaking:   I would add a few rows to make it a good twin-size quilt, and switch the green for a nice yellow (although I really, really love that green).  Also, I wasn't crazy about the stars, so I decided to replace them with different appliqués, my way to take a commercial pattern and make it mine.



And so, I began working on my baby girl's big girl bed quilt, making 25-patch blocks and appliqué-ing (is that a verb?) hockey sticks and ice cream cones and cherries and birds...

It was fun coming up with 20 different appliqués

We eventually bought the perfect bed for her room... a double bed.   More tweaking was needed....  the top was almost done, another row here, another column there...

After a few months, the top was complete, and the quilt was basted with the help of a few ladies from my former guild, Mariners Quilt Guild.  Then came the big decision: to machine quilt, or to hand quilt?  Sure, machine quilting would be faster, but hand quilting would be so much more suited to this 1930s inspired quilt.  Plus, I had hand quilted both my sons' bed quilts... so the decision was made.  A decision I would come to regret many, many times.

Over the next few years, I hand quilted while watching hockey practices, gymnastic and karate lessons.  I quilted at the cottage, at guild meetings and sew-ins, and at home.

Favourite chair at the cottage...

This quilt has been everywhere!  to Toronto a few times, to at least three New Brunswick destinations, from airports to airplanes, from rental cars (I wasn't driving) to hotel rooms, even on ferries.

In the middle of the Northumberland Strait...

As much as I love hand quilting, I did not love every minute of hand quilting this quilt.  Sure, I enjoyed some of it, but it got tiresome pretty quickly.  When my daughter eventually got her big girl bed, I was not even half way done and it was clear that it was going to take much more time.  I struggled to find the motivation and I put it away many times, hoping the motivation would return before the 1930s bedroom would need to be updated for a teenager!

Nothing beats the texture of hand quilting...

And there were lots of nagging doubts: Would the darker fabrics bleed?  Would the quilt still fit on her bed?  The hand quilting seemed to shrink those 2" squares by about 1/8" to 1/4", which could mean 5" to 10" over the final size... I did not dare measuring it, it was to late to start again.

I was also bracing myself for a typical small child reaction, something between complete indifference and "I don't want/don't like it".  Truth be told, I wasn't even sure I liked it myself. I really, really had to push myself to see this through to the end.  I am glad I did.

Final stitches...

My daughter is quite oblivious to the amount of time it took to complete this quilt (4/5 of her life), but as I was putting the binding on it, she snuggled next to me and asked whether the quilt was for her.  I had told her before, but this was the first time she really showed interest.  When I said yes, her eyes lit up and she could not wait to get it on her bed.  She did have to wait: after four years of being tossed around in all sorts of places, it needed a good wash! 

I had to get a picture on the hammock even though I just missed the light

I am happy to report that the fabric did not bleed (I am glad I used a colour catcher - it came out very dark), that the quilt still fits the bed (I dried it flat for the most part but tossed it in the dryer for about 10 minutes), and that my daughter loves it.


 And finally, I can say I love it too!


Linking up to TGIFF hosted by Leanne at the Devoted Quilter and Finish Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.

23 comments:

  1. Congratulations on a great finish. I love all the applieque details especially animals!

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  2. What a wonderful story and a truly beautiful quilt. I am sure she will share the story of it with her children.

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  3. Just lovely! When I read your post, I usually have the same feeling - do I like this? will I like it? maybe I'll just put it away and forget about it, etc. But when I look back on the quilts I've finished, I truly do like them all! So cute for your little girl!

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  4. An awesome finish!! Lots of love put into this project.

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  5. Your quilt is gorgeous!!! Wonderful finish!!

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  6. You are one dedicated hand quilter! Love how you made this pattern your own... the hockey sticks are unexpected and perfect! The best part about this whole quilt story is that your little darling was so excited to have it on her bed.

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  7. Congratulations! A family heirloom!

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  8. So beautiful! I love how much it has traveled with you, and that you persevered! It looks great on her bed, and while it is perfect for a little girl it's not at all 'baby-ish'. Thanks for linking to TGIFF!

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  9. Just beautiful....a treasure for years to come!

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  10. Oh my! It tuned out beautifully! I know you are so glad you stuck with it...a true investment of time, talent, and love :o) I'm also glad to year that your daughter loves it! Hooray Dominique :o)

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  11. amazing story Dominique, and I am so glad that at a very early MMQG sew in we were there when you pulled it out to work away. A true labor of love

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  12. It is indeed a treasure--to be loved, to build forts, and to snuggle with during a bedtime story. Thank you for sharing ithe tale of its creation.

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  13. The story is as awesome as the quilt :)

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  14. Love the story; love the quilt! What an heirloom! Beautiful!

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  15. Oh my! It's absolutely fabulous! She will treasure it for years to come...

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  16. What a lovely quilt that love built for your daughter.

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  17. Lots of love went into this quilt. It's fantastic!

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  18. Your daughters room looks adorable with the yellows coordinated. A timeless & beautiful quilt! My fave is the little submarine!

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  19. A stunning quilt! Great work! Glad you also liked it in the end too!

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  20. Such a lovely quilt. Your perseverance paid off - what a huge amount of quilting time went into this work of art.

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  21. This is a lovely quilt that she can use for life. I am sure that this will be one that can be passed on through several generations.

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  22. Wow! Such a huge amount of work went into that beauty. Congratulations on a wonderful finish. I'm sure it will be treasured for many years.

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