Friday, October 29, 2010

Blogger's Quilt Festival


For the first time this summer I participated in an online swap. I was lucky enough to happen upon the Doll Quilt Swap on flickr, just as they were taking names for the 9th round. I signed up and hoped and hoped that I'd get in (there were about two hundred of us this round I think). I got the email (on my birthday no less) congratulating me that I got in, and a few days later received information about my partner. DQS is a secret swap, so we know who we're sending to, but not who we're receiving from.
Center panel - notice the hand stitched rainbow of circles.

Having never done a swap before, I decided to go way out of my comfort zone and challenge myself to do all the things I'd never done before. I'd never actually sat down and planned a quilt. So I did. I sat down with me nieces and colored half a dozen pictures of what I wanted this quilt to be. I went with a rainbow of colors based on my partner's likes. The grey was all me (I am really addicted to using grey fabric in everything). I had been wanting to try out the cathedral window quilt block for a while, but had been too chicken to do so. I tackled and decided I loved it but it needed to be smaller. I scaled it down to just under 3" finished (6" to start, rather than the normal 9" or 12").
Close up of the windows, stitched down by machine.
It certainly took me a long time to iron and fold all those pieces, but it kept amazing me how great the blocks looked. Partway through the ironing, I changed up my plan a little, adding some sashing to add a bit of interest. It all came together without a problem. Once it was all assembled I backed it with a pink printed fabric (my partner voiced her love of pink) and added batting (not traditionally done in a cathedral window quilt).To attach all three layers I did some big, bold hand stitches (I'd never done before either) to highlight the circle-ness of the central panel. Finally I did a piped binding that I'd recently seen a tutorial for.
Piped binding.

In the end I'd worked so hard on this quilt, literally spending hours and hours with it, that I was scared to send it off. It sat in my sewing room, completely done, for weeks before I sent it (still on time mind you). I really love this quilt. I don't think I have it in me to make another one, but it was totally and completely worth it. I sure hope my partner loves it as much as I do!!! By the sound of the thank you she sent, she does!

I poured my heart into this quilt. How could I send it off to someone I haven't even met?

Now here's the real story behind the quilt. This summer I joined a doll quilt swap. Did I learn a ton about quilting and myself? Yes. But most of all I learned about a community of ladies (and a few men) who really are there for each other. They really care and support and respond in ways that I didn't know was possible via the Internet. I have friends in real life, who I've known for years, that haven't supported me half as much as these ladies did this summer. They're stand up people. They make you laugh and look forward to checking in each day. Do I know all of them by name (their real names)? No. Do I know that I can turn to them and find support? Yes.
The back, highlighting the quilted circles.
The quilt that I nearly wrote about today is Rosemarie's Quilt, which started midway through the Doll Quilt Swap - Through various group discussions on a couple different flickr groups I somehow went out on a limb and asked for help making blocks to make a quilt for my niece (age 4) who has cancer. Two days later I had envelopes coming to my door from all over the world. Most of the people who sent them were from the Doll Quilt Swap. How can I send away a quilt that took so many hours and so much love? I got more than enough in return. I got community. Sharing, sewing, and talking about Spartacus. What more could we ask for? Here's hoping that I get in for round 10!! :)

Want to see more pictures? I documented each step here.
Check out all the other awesome quilts over here.

27 comments:

  1. LOVE LOVE LOVE the grey and green! Beautiful quilt, you should be really proud!

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  2. this is so so pretty. I'm going to give cathedral windows a bash soon - eek!

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  3. Thanks for sharing. Visiting from Amy's Quilt Festival. --Julia

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  4. This is awesome! I really love it!

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  5. SO pretty! I am a beginner quilter, but I saw a tutorial for this type of design a few weeks ago, I just didn't think I could do it yet though. I really love yours...I think the gray goes amazing with the colors/prints, and I love that Anna Maria Horner on the back.

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  6. lovely quilt and a great story. thanks for sharing.

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  7. How beautiful! I understand why it was so hard to send off. I'm glad you had such good pictures to share! :)

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  8. I love the quilt. That's a perfect story too. There are some very amazing people out there.

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  9. What a great story and what a FANTASTIC quilt!! Good on you.

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  10. So gorgeous! Well worth all your hard work!

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  11. I just love the quilt..I can see how much time and love you put into it!
    Micki

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  12. So beautiful. I love cathedral windows and also have been too chicken to try one!

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  13. I love the hand stitching on this - I'm filing that idea away to try! Thanks for sharing!

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  14. First and most importantly - I hope your niece recovers well and that your family gets bucket loads of caring help.

    Your quilt swap is gorgeous and I love the different color interpretation you went with. Good for you getting it all done and giving it away afterwards :)

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  15. Neat modern cathedral window -- I like the background being grey.

    Angie - www.craftedAngles.com

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  16. I love your DQS9! I really wanted to receive it!!
    Cathedral Windows is right up high on my 'to do' list since you made this!

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  17. wow - how many unique techniques can you get in one lovely quilt - wow - love this!!! I love hand work too and the lime/gray palette is great!!!

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  18. I love your quilt! The green really pops with the grey. I think Cathedral Windows has moved up on my "someday" list thanks to you! (Though thanks to Amy, that list seems to be growing longer with each click...)

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  19. That quilt is simply amazing!

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  20. Fantastic ... I admire anyone who is able to do Cathedral Window ...

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  21. I love the cathedral windows... just wish I was brave enough to have a go too. Your quilt looks fantastic.

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  22. Such a beautiful quilt! I just love the cathedral window, but it looks so hard!

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  23. darling quilt. those cathedral windows are just wonderful---don't think i could ever think to tackle them. thanks for sharing and have a great day

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  24. This is amazing, I love it! all those little pieces!

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