Category Archives: Embroidery

A Brutiful Quilt for Project Quilting

This week’s project quilting challenge is sunrise/sunset. My quilt is called “Brutiful,” a term I heard this morning in a TED talk by Glennon Doyle Melton. It’s a mash-up of the words brutal and beautiful. Isn’t life both most of the time? This term is perfect for what I’ve been thinking about while designing and making the quilt this week. (Yes, only 7 days to make quilts in this challenge!) It’s thinking about a sunrise in autumn while in a deep dark pit. It’s the hope that in the brutal beautiful still exists and is accessible. With that in mind here’s my process story in photographs.

leavessunrise setting crumb blockssunrise big yellowsunrise small yellowsunrise start leaf
sunrise bold leafsunrise lines drawnHere’s the finished quilt. It’s 30×40 inches and has machine piecing, hand embroidery, hand quilting, and machine quilting. I did them in that order too. It’s bound in black so as not to distract from the dream. The sunrise is yellow, orange, and pink crumb-pieced blocks.Brutiful Quilt PQ Sunrise Challenge
Brutiful Quilt Close-UpClick here and check out the other sunrise/sunset projects. Vote for your favorites and be inspired by the art! 


I’m linking up to Slow Sunday Stitching and Main Crush Monday and Show and Tell Tuesday.

 

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Lovey Beanbags for Mary’s First Birthday

My niece, Mary Constance, is a year old this month. I remember waiting by the phone on the day she was born, and being so excited to meet her in November. I even got to give her a quilt in person during that trip. I wasn’t able to be at her first birthday party, but several of her extended family members were so I’m grateful for that. Everyone should be surrounded by people they love on their birthday.

Of course, photographs were taken of the cake-eating. I love how Mary is focused on sharing her cake. It’s a serious job.

Mary sharing cake

 

She allowed others to feed cake to her, too. It became a big ‘ole finger-food experience.

Mary having cake

My Dad, brother, and I wanted to give her something special. I’ve been dubbed the artist of the group, though my Dad’s a great writer and my brother’s a musician. Plus I used to work as a nanny, so I know a lot about age-appropriate toys. So here’s what I came up with.

Mary Beanbags

The beanbags, sewn by Mary’s favorite Aunt Megan (me!) are developmentally appropriate for a toddler. They’re good to squish and throw. As she grows, I’m sure she’ll learn her colors in English and Spanish and these’ll be good tools for that too as they’re primary and secondary colors.
Beanbag Qualities

Can you see the qualities embroidered on the front of each beanbag? My dad, brother, and I each chose two things we see in Mary Constance. On the back of them is the name of the person who chose that word for her. Now they’re customized specifically for her and – BONUS – they’re super gushy mushy lovey.
Beanbag Names

 

I do custom orders! These were invented for Mary’s birthday, but if you like ’em I can give you a quote and make some for your special occasion. Just email me and we’ll make it happen.  mrs.megan.null@gmail.com

ZK Wedding Pillow

ZackandKaceeWedding

My cousin Zack got married this weekend to his high school sweetheart. Doesn’t he look dapper?! Of course the bride is gorgeous. Welcome to our family, Kacee. I love you both. I wasn’t able to attend the wedding, but wanted to make something special for the couple. So here’s what I came up with. It’s a joint present with my Dad.  He paid for the materials.

ZK Pillow It’s a crumb pillow! This one measures 12×20 and has a few embroidered details as well as their initials. On the bottom is their wedding date, and before the “Z” you’ll find their first names. See?ZK Pillow1 ZK Pillow2

 

Congratulations Zack and Kacee. Happy honeymoon!

Inside the Reading Quilt is a Bit of History

 

 

I’m restoring my reading quilt, which I introduced to you guys in this post. I discovered something really cool when I started cutting the blocks out. I thought that this lumpy quilt was just the three layers: top, batting, and backing. I assumed that the batting was lumpy because it was poor-quality polyester which was commonly used when this quilt was made in 1991. I was wrong.

Here’s what I found underneath the first block. Huh. Interesting. There’s another quilt in there! It’s degraded to the point that the fabrics are thin and literally falling apart. There’s hand-embroidery across the block as well as ties.

Inside the Reading Quilt

Here’s what it looks like after I’ve cut out all of the reading blocks. There’s a crazy quilt under there! It’s completely done by hand with large pieces of fabric and large hand embroidery.

You’ll notice that some of the borders are still there. That’s because before my current plan of restoring the quilt by reusing the blocks, I tried to add some quilting and save it that way. I didn’t get far with that plan before deciding it wasn’t the way to go. Inside the Reading QuiltHere’s a closer look at some of the embroidery.
Inside the Reading QuiltI wanted to see if there were any surprises hiding under the backing fabric, so I cut into that. Nope, looks like the backing is original to the crazy quilt, as it’s attached to that. The stuffing is completely falling apart, as you can see.

I did a burn test on the batting to see if it’s synthetic or natural. Since it caught fire right away, instead of melting or curling away from the flame like rayon and polyester it’s a natural fiber. Probably cotton or wool.
Inside the Reading Quilt

Here are my top two theories on the history of this crazy quilt. We may never know for sure. First, it could have been made by maternal grandmother. She started a cathedral window quilt that includes fabrics from Mom’s communion dress, Papa’s handkerchief, Grandad’s shirt, and more. (Read more about Papa here.) But she never finished it. The story is that she liked the idea but hated sewing it so it was a UFO (unfinished object) that Mom completed when she learned to quilt. Now it’s a family treasure. Maybe she made the crazy quilt before starting the cathedral window, which is a much more difficult project.

Second theory. My Dad’s grandmother (Gigi to me) was a healer. Sometimes people bartered for her services instead of giving money. She might also have sewn herself, I don’t really know. Anyway, when she died our family found a stack of beautiful, hand-sewn quilts. None of them had labels so we didn’t know who the makers were. Mom was given some of those and maybe this one, which has clearly been falling apart for a very long time, was re-purposed that summer that I learned to love reading.

Some others of Gigi’s quilts are still out there somewhere, intact I hope. I learned to quilt with my Mom. After she died, it was too painful to do it without her for a long time. Besides, I was a teenager who wanted to spend her time at the movies, mall, and finding a boyfriend. So her fabric stash, rulers, and other supplies were given to her quilting friends. Over time other things were given away too, including those unknown quilters’ art.

I came back to quilting about five years after Mom’s death… to make a Christmas present for my cousin Jade. I am an artist, and fabric is a great medium to express that. Plus, sometimes, it makes me feel closer to my ancestors.

Baby Tortuga, Honu, Schildkrote and More.

This week’s blog post will be an update of the various things I’ve been working on while recovering from being sick. (Yay antibiotics!)

I’ve been doing a lot of handwork on the couch with my kitty keeping me company. Her name is Loki. We call her Loki Bear because when she’s really excited that you’ve come in the room she stands up on her hind-legs so you can reach her head easier and give her love… which looks like a circus bear trick. The living room, open first room, hallway, and kitchen aren’t completely cat-safe yet. There are lots of hidey-holes and dangerous things to get into. So the cats, in general, spend all of their time in the master suite. Loki Bear is the exception. She’s learned that she can be out here as long as she stays on the couch. Smart girl.
happy loki snuggles

Remember the summer camp quilts for the turtle and turkey clans that I’m working on? Here are some of my previous posts on the topic: Turtles, Turkeys, Wolves and Bears Oh My!The Turkeys are Here and Like a Herd of Turtles.

This week I’ve been doing some hand-embroidery for the turtle quilt. One thing that I admire about Crystal Lake Camps is the emphasis on diversity. Every summer there are international campers and counselors. During the years that I was a camper I befriended people from Mexico, Russia, and Germany. Since then it’s become even more multi-national. In honor of this, I researched how to write the word “turtle” in many languages. These blocks will become part of the turtles clan quilt for the lodge. Here are the completed ones I have so far. Many more to come!

turtle in many languages

I also sewed the buttons onto these and other card holders that will be added to my etsy shop tonight. Isn’t the baby rattle fabric cute?! They’d be perfect for baby-shower gift cards to help pay for… diapers! Isn’t that what most parents use those gift cards for?

greenstars outsidepinkyellow outside

As always, I do custom orders! If you’d like some gift card holders for a special occasion please let me know. Fabrics can be for every occasion. I can make ’em individually and in bulk as well.

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