It always sucks a little when one of your kids birthdays falls during lean times. It’s even worse when it’s a milestone birthday. With my husband not working and our income significantly lowered, we couldn’t afford to have a party or big gift for our daughter, Anna’s 18th birthday. It was time to get creative. It actually reminded me a lot of her first birthday. Fresh out of college with a baby, we struggled to make ends meet. For months leading up to her birthday I would buy a ball of cotton yarn on pay day and crocheted her a blanket. Because I added to it so slowly, the dye lots didn’t match, but it didn’t matter. That blanket went everywhere with her for years. Earlier this summer, every time she would catch me sewing (mostly bee blocks), she would ask when I was going to make her a quilt. I finally answered one day that I’d have it done by the time she graduated (next May) and she gave me a dejected “oh” and stopped asking.
Back when I started sewing I participated in a Denyse Schmidt charm swap sponsored by Jill at Made with Moxie. I had two slots and cut into them right away to make some hexies. Anna in particular liked her fabrics, so I set the rest aside thinking I’d incorporate them in a project for her. Over time I added in 2 1/2′, 4 1/2″ and 6 1/2″ squares of Flea Market Fancy, Chicopee and several ds Quilts fabrics form Joann’s, with the intention of making a Magic Numbers Quilt for. So with nine days before her birthday, I decided that I would surprise her with a quilt. A queen size quilt. Once I realized how many blocks I would need I decided to add in some 12 1/2″ blocks too, to break everything up a bit. Two days later, I had this…
Then came the big challenge…How to quilt it. Not only was I concerned about my ability to wrangle such a big quilt through my home machine, but I also wanted to double up on the batting, since she had asked for a heavy quilt. I have fibromyalgia, so I knew even if I were to take it slow, it was going to be a stretch to get it done in time. With that in mind, I posted to my quilt group on Facebook asking for advice. The most incredible thing happened. The lovely Tara Evans, director of Golden Threads Quilt Club, offered to long-arm in exchange for a lap quilt to donate to a local Senior. Tara really connected with wanting to help me provide a meaningful gift for my daughter’s birthday and finished the quilting the same day I dropped it off.
Since everything for this quilt had to come from stash, I used a backing I had originally intended for a different quilt and bound it in my favorite Chicopee plaid. Despite not “matching” any of the purples on the front of the quilt, I don’t think I could have planned a more perfect fabric. It had the depth needed to hold it’s own with the front of the quilt.
The night before her birthday, I spent six hours hand sewing the binding to the back. As many different machine binding methods I’ve tried, nothing will ever beat the crisp clean look of a hand sewn binding in my mind. l especially love the perfect corners.
I don’t know who was more excited for her birthday, her or me. I gave it to her within moments of her getting up and she wrapped herself up in it right away.
Anna’s 18th Birthday Quilt Stats:
Pattern: Magic Numbers
Fabric: Denyse Schmidt’s Flea Market Fancy,
Chicopee and ds Quilts prints
Back: 108″ wide purple blender
Binding: Simple Plaid in Charcoal
Finished Size: 90″ X 99″
Finished Date: August 2013
Check back tomorrow to see the finished quilt I made for Golden Threads!