When my Grandfather passed away years ago, I did what I do, I threw myself into a project. In this case I spent the 48 hours following his passing whipping up a queen sized quilt. Sewing is a way for me to partition out whatever is going on, and allow me to feel productive when there is nothing I can do. While at his funeral, Grandma and I got to talk about the blanket I had made and projects we both had done. I love that this is something we can bond over, and at least this time it was a little respite from grieving. During that visit, Grandma gave me a whole bunch of quilting books she had collected along the way.
When I returned home, I had with me hundreds of sampler blocks and traditional quilt patterns. It gave me so much inspiration and helped me find my “style” when it comes to quilting. I love to take traditional blocks and patterns and use them in new and inventive ways. While I am a long way from designing my own patterns, I enjoy books and patterns that use blocks I’m familiar with from years of thumbing through Grandmas books for inspiration. It’s a way to connect the past to the present, and a reminder to me that this craft has deep roots that can be always be made relevant. It also reminds of family, and the way in which the lessons we give our children can take on new life and meaning in their hands.
For me, when I am looking at a quilt I see generations of passed down knowledge, mostly from woman to woman. I see the product of dozens of hours, guided by the hands of women who live on in the contributions they made to the art of quilting, and that is about as close to a soul as anything I believe in. That the end result also keeps someone you love warm and cozy and safe, is just life coming full circle for me.
Which is where this new project came from. Sometimes family isn’t related to you by blood, and there was a special little girl on her way to make a gift for.
Modern Drunkard’s Path
The quilt was taken from a book called A Quilters Mixology by Angela Pingel.
In it, Angela has some really great ideas for Drunkard’s Path blocks, which are great for learning curved piecing. I promise that if you (like me) have no idea how to do curved piecing, you will be able to check that off of your list of things to be afraid of by the time you are done. I loved being able to play with lots of different neutrals, and I felt the design lent itself to being a little looser with color matching. I love the result. When it came time to quilt it, I decided to trust one of our local stores to tackle the job for me. The Creation Station in Buelton, CA gave me great advice on quilting style and recommended using a different color thread, which turned out so perfect. I love their store because it never feels like ye old quilt shop, it’s fun and vibrant and I always find tons of new things I want to do there.
Once the quilt top was back in my hands, I tried machine sewing the top of the binding and hand sewing the back. That was also something new for me, and I think from now on that’s how I’ll do things. I gained a ton of experience, and I can only hope someday my quilting looks this good!
Here’s the final blanket! Happy sewing, and I strongly recommend A Quilter’s Mixology, there are least three more projects in that book I’m looking forward to.