This quilt has been in the works for a while... It started in late 2017 when I purchased Christmas fabrics after the holiday. I proceeded to cut and sew said fabrics early in 2018, planning WAAAAY ahead to make a quilt for my hubby's aunt.
Aunt Linda hosts a family Christmas gathering every year. She coordinates (with her oldest daughter) food and cookies and gift/gift exchanges AND cleans her house to accommodate us. And, in the 20 years I've been going, had never been given anything special. Yes, we say thank you, but sometimes you have to do something more.
So I decided that, for the 2018 party, she would get a quilt. I (obviously) started early, planning ahead. Giving myself plenty of time to procrastinate. And time to either forget to take photos...or maybe they were taken and, in purging my phone camera, were deleted before transfer?
Anyways, this quilt was slated to be given in December of 2018. But then tragedy struck. Her husband passed away (Uncle Ernie, an always-smiling goofball that everyone loved) suddenly and unexpectedly in March of that year. While I never saw the two of them together much, I know her world was shattered. We were all in shock.
And as we were just starting to adapt to this new normal, one day shy of a month later tragedy struck again. Uncle Rick, Ernie's younger brother, had an accident at home, resulting in 3rd degree burns over a good portion of his body. After being in the hospital for a week, rallying and giving us all hope, he also passed away. His wife, Annie, was dumbstruck. We all were.
Two uncles, both in their early 60's, gone just like that. A month apart.
As the summer wore on, Annie and Linda attended a few family gatherings at my in-laws (their house is always a popular hangout for bonfires in the summer), but I could see both were struggling with their losses, Linda it seemed more than Annie. But we all grieve in our own way and I can never know what either was thinking.
My hubby and I had hopes that there would be a family Christmas, but it did not happen. And we all understood, sad as we were. So we debated contacting Linda and giving her the quilt anyways, but never did.
This year, however, the tradition continued. This past weekend, the family gathered for the usual routine, but Linda and her daughter opted for a neutral location and rented a church-turned-community-center nearby. Every single one of the family members that have been regulars attended. We didn't lose a single one - added an extra, in fact, as one of Annie's grandkids has had a little boy since we last met. We ate good, family-favorite foods, had a fun gift exchange, and generally had a great time. I expected a few tearful moments, but I think it was planned carefully to avoid those if we could. But we knew there were two uncles missing.
And, before the festivities got too out of control, we gave Linda her quilt, thanking her for hosting for so many years and keeping the family together.
She is not a very expressive person, so I kept the presentation short and sweet, but she pulled me aside later and thanked me. I told her she better use it! I hope she does.
This photo is just the top. I have no finished photo, but I quilted swirls over the whole quilt, using red thread because it was what I had that matched the best.
So this quilt has been a long time waiting to be shared, but until it was given, I wanted to make sure the secret was not let out.
And now for a few tidbits of what I have been working on the past week!
I bought fabric for a quilt that has been in long residence of the Closet of Shame:
There are both sides represented here, but I had a hard time getting the photo to show it well. What was rolled onto the bolt as the "back" you can see in the lower portion of the photo. The white area has a pinkish tinge and I think it works better with the quilt top, so I'll use it upside down. But the remainder of this quilt will remain quiet for just a bit longer, as it is a secret project!
I purchased some fabric and made a pillowcase for my MSU-loving niece - this was too cute to pass up, even at the ridiculous price for officially licensed fabrics!
I completed three more blocks for the Little Miss Sawtooth quilt along. Three more (two blocks, one will be doubled) to go - and that pattern is coming Friday! I hope to be ready and can maybe even get that top done soon. I would LOVE to have it finished in time to gift at Christmas, but we'll see how things go. I told the boss I would pick up extra shifts, so I expect now that I have a looming deadline, she'll take me up on that!
I'm excited to be so close with blocks, but know the dreaded long seams are still to come!
Speaking of dreaded long seams, the blocks I started a few weeks ago to be my November charity quilt came out of hiding today!
I started out in the sewing room cutting pieces for sashing and sewing the pieced cornerstones. I was up there almost 2 hours with no cat help. I took the blocks out of the box to figure out a layout and within seconds, Gabby appeared out of nowhere and started helping. (Apparently helping me take a blurry picture!)
From here I proceeded to sew these together. In another few hours, with close supervision and occasional visits to demand ALL THE PETS, I had a top!
It looks a lot different, but Gabby is still in there. She was chasing her (stubby) tail while I was trying to get a photo. (Short as it is, she can still catch it!) The quilt top still needs to be trimmed because some of the setting triangles are oversized and I need to decide if it will get a border or not. The pattern calls for a black border and binding, but I feel like that stops the eye abruptly and don't much care for it. I have enough green, but this is enough for today.
And finally, new kid Finn is settling in nicely...
...he is super snuggly and has started playing with his brother and sister. They are still all adjusting to each other, but it is going better than I imagined. He is learning to stay off the counters, eat his food at a normal pace and play with toys (I'm not sure he had them, or if he was just too much in survival mode at first to want to play). He is currently reminding me it is nearing dinner time and also trying to lay on my hands as I type. (Works okay until I have to add a photo and need to move my hand to use the mouse!)
I have to work a long shift tomorrow, but hope to get to the longarm later this week to finish up the quilt with the paisley back. And maybe some other stuff, too.