Warm Hearts and Toasty Toes

When you make something with your own two hands with the intention of giving it away to another person, there's always something that keeps you going, gets you through the ripping and redoing, the stupid mistakes, the body aches, the feeling that the project won't ever end. For me, it's this face:

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This is my dear friend Stefie. We met in college, were in the same fraternity. She is just a wonderful human being. We have all sorts of things in common, but one of them is a love of this stationery brand Rifle Paper Co. I was beside myself last year when they put out their first fabric collection with my favorite quilting design house, Cotton + Steel. Completely unprompted, Stefie messaged me about it. We both loved it.

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Stefie had just gotten engaged to the kind of person you always hope your best friends will marry: smart, funny, kind, and loves the hell out of your friend. Pair that with the knowledge that Stefie is worthy of handcraft and it was obvious: Stefie and Marcus were getting a wedding quilt.

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I thought a lot about exactly which fabrics to use, what pattern to make. I settled on my own spin on the Wanta Fanta block from Blossom Heart Quilts (it's free if you want to try it too). I am many things, but crazy enough to attempt a traditional Double Wedding Ring Quilt I am not. I just loved how the combination of snowball blocks and a paper pieced cross could make a block that looked so similar to the DWR. I did a lot of sketching and math (I rearranged the blocks so that the edges would be complete circles floating on a background rather than being bisected by the binding of the quilt), followed by a lot of shopping (my background fabric was a variety of white and off-white low volume fabrics), followed by A LOT of cutting followed by A LOT of sewing. I stood on balconies to assess my layout, arranging and rearranging. I used SuzyQuilts' tutorial for chain piecing blocks. I did a lot of ripping and resewing so that points matched perfectly. Eventually my top was finished.

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I sourced and pieced my backing fabric (Cloud9 organic cotton from my ever favorite Gaffney Fabrics) basted and got to quilting. Friends, when I tell you that this nearly killed me I only exaggerate slightly. For love or money I could not get my machine to keep good tension. I quilted, ripped and restitched the same sections. I gave up to preserve my sanity (and my neck and back!) many nights but I kept at it. I had the wedding date as my target but I had a countdown clock of another sort limiting my craft time and my baby made his presence known (oh yeah, surprise! I had a baby!). I missed my deadline. But I managed to pull it out and finish it up and bang on a label (my first appliqué!) this week in time for a trip to NYC this weekend. I handed over that amalgam of cloth and thread and love that I'd had my hands and heart on for over a year. I'll admit I was a little sad to give it up but I know it will be well loved with them.

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Congrats you crazy kids. Use it in good health.