Grateful Melody Applique Blocks

A couple of months ago I joined the Naive Melody Sew Along, hosted by Lucy Engels.  It’s an applique quilt pattern consisting of 100 blocks, which resulted from her 100 day project earlier this year.  I watched that project unfold with great interest.  When she released the pattern I eagerly bought one and jumped in!  I’m calling my quilt Grateful Melody because with each block I’m focusing on something I’m grateful for even – or rather, especially – in 2020.  So today I thought I’d share the grateful melody applique blocks I’ve made so far:

Each of the blocks is hand appliqued using the needle turn method, and some of those shapes are awfully small and skinny!  I am enjoying the process of stitching these blocks and hope that my applique skills will be sharper for it.

It’s a fun idea – to take a bunch of shapes and use them differently on 100 different 6″ squares of fabric. Now that I’ve been sewing for a while, I have found myself adding a few blocks of my own.  I’m going to add a new shape or two in my next batch.  The color scheme is a fun experiment, and I’m also enjoying the idea of stitching my gratitude in abstract shapes.  While I know not every block will remind me of a specific blessing as time goes on, there are a few that I will always remember.

As I become increasingly interested in using quilting for storytelling, this project is a great experience for me.  I LOVE the exercise of preserving my story, feelings, and experiences in the quilts I make.  What are you grateful for?  How could you include that in a quilt?  What colors would you use?  It’s fun to ask these questions, and then start stitching.  I’ve got another set of grateful melody applique blocks to start on, and I love the challenge of doing it this way.  It also makes my sewing meaningful, helps me focus my thoughts positively, and opens new avenues of creative thought.  I highly recommend it!

“A Prayer for my Country” quilt top

We’re experiencing quite a year with politics and social issues in the U.S.  I have watched and read, thought and prayed, and tried to listen.  We are so blessed.  We are so broken.  It is scary.  There is hope.  All kinds of issues, so many opposites.  I started sewing in January, before Covid, before protests, before the election.  I had a small piece done, then left it hanging on my design wall as 2020 unfolded and I went back and forth with ideas for my little block.  Finally I gave myself a deadline to finish a small quilt top before the election.  As I was working on it last week, remembering all the thoughts I’ve had this year, the title for this quilt came softly but clearly:  A Prayer for my Country.

That’s what it is.  So many hopes and worries stitched into fabric.  I have nothing to say here about politics.  My biggest concern is how we treat each other.  My prayer for my country is that we will begin again to really look at each other and actually SEE.  See past the bad labels to the real person with hopes and dreams a lot like mine.  We must reject being pitted against one another.  We need to see each other, to be seen, and communicate respectfully from that place.  To see fellow Americans, and remember what “we” feels like on a large scale, instead of “us versus them”.

This quilt top began and ended with these thoughts.  Made entirely from scraps in my sewing room, it’s mostly solids.  It’s simple and complex, orderly and messy, despairing and hopeful.  Kind of like this year.  A lot like my heart.  

I keep praying, and I hope you will too.  Together we can face the challenges of our day and be better for them.  I know we can.  We must.  I photographed this piece on one wall of my Grandpa’s house, my Grandpa who lived through the Great Depression and fought in World War II.  His generation faced crisis and came together.  I miss him, and draw hope from his example.  

May we all be of good cheer and face the future with hope, learning from the hard things of 2020 and growing into a better, kinder people who see each other with compassion and humanity.  

20 in 20 September/October Report

I can’t believe it’s the last Monday in October.  Life at my house has been full speed ahead since August, and it’s still going strong.  While lots of things are strange and we all have much we wish we could change, I am grateful to be where I am and living this life.  I was out of town at the end of September and forgot to post about my progress, so this is a combined 20 in 20 September/October Report.  

I am still sewing!  It feels like an accomplishment again to fit it in.  Most of it has been deadline related sewing, or hand stitching in my car.  Unfortunately I don’t feel like I have a lot to show for my 20 minute sewing sessions.  I saved one empty spool of thread for this month’s photo, as a reminder that I am making progress.  20 in 20 blocks sept oct

As the end of the year looms I have long lists of what I WANT to sew and what I NEED to sew.  I’m working on the need to finish list, leaving a long list of hopeful projects ahead of me.  In all the deadlines, however, I have also neglected to make some of my half rectangle triangles, so I will be sewing a lot of these very soon.  Once in rows, I will add embroidery to journal a few more things.  Covid-19 continues to affect our lives, and other events deserve to be noted on this quilt.  I have a lot of work to do!  For now, I write each day on my planner how long I sewed for, and what kind of sewing it was.

That wraps up my 20 in 20 September/October Report.  Hopefully I’ll have a nearly finished quilt top to share next month.  Wouldn’t that be nice!  Now I’m off to finish and photograph a few things to share with you!  Have a great week.


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