Friday, September 2, 2011

Lessons from a Quilt.

Last night, Gus and I took the Dolphin Signature Quilt to Gail.  Before I list what I have learned from the making of the quilt, let me just say that I'm learning every day from Gail as I read her blog and her journey with Ovarian Cancer. Gail is facing the cancer down with great spirit and faith. Gail is Gus's school nurse, and as I listened to them talking last night, I learned that she is also a friend to him and all of her students. She drew stories out of Gus about this school year that I had not yet heard.

This quilt started as a stack of challenge blocks from the Thimble Pleasures 9 Patch Challenge that ran from September-December last year.  While I enthusiastically made my 90 blocks (a block a day) and then some, actually quite a few more, I didn't ever put them together.  After learning about Gail's diagnosis, I thought about using some to create a quilt from Gus's fourth grade class. This grew to first include the entire fourth grade, and then the entire school as I brainstormed ways to create a design that could accommodate about 400 signatures (students, faculty and staff).  After figuring out that it was indeed possible to create a design for the second side of the quilt that could be appealing, I sent my designs to a few folks at school for their feedback and garnered their enthusiastic support.

New skills attempted (and mastered) and other skills practiced (I've blogged about much of this previously):
  • Sashing
  • Cornerstones
  • Bringing the thread to the top, and burying in the batting
  • Invisible Thread
  • Free Motion Quilting
  • Echo Quilting
  • Following Quilting Designs
  • Pieced borders
  • Creating & Attaching Bindings
  • Measure Thrice, Cut Once
  • Sometimes it is better to stop and draw the design carefully and other times freehand is great
  • Anchoring the quilting in both directions really is a good idea
  • A comfortable seam ripper and good lighting is imperative

The biggest thing this quilt taught me was not to be afraid to try something new.  And also that You-Tube is a WONDERFUL resource for learning quilting skills.  I definitely learn by seeing someone demonstrate over reading the instructions.


Cherry Red Quilter said...

this quilt is gorgeous and will be such a blessing to Gail I am sure.

Impera_Magna said...

Congratulations on such a beautiful and meaningful finish! I know Gail must love it...

Barb said...

What a wonderful gift to Gail!! The quilt is beautiful as is the spirit in which it was made!! God Bless!

Dirt Road Quilter said...

I can only imagine how much this beautiful quilt will mean to her! You have truly created a treasured work of art and I know Gail will enjoy it for many years to come!

Brenda said...

great work, very beautiful pictures, and the detail of what you have learned in the process is so helpful. Blessings to Gail as well.

Collie Girl said...

Thank you so much for making the quilt for my friend Gail!!! You are truly a magician with the quilting and have the biggest heart in the world. I am so touched that you did this tribute to her, and that you described how she drew stories out of Gus that you hadn't heard :) Love, Janet