Author Archives: jennifer

Flight II Quilt – to celebrate friendship and unity

This week I’m highlighting a couple of quilts I made a while ago, but failed to share here.  They still matter to me so I want a record of them.  This one matters because of what it meant while I was sewing it, and also who I gave it to.  I finished my My Flight II Quilt top back in 2015, made with the still-gorgeous Winged fabrics by Bonnie Christine.

This quilt is my Circling Swallows block doubled in size.  I want to revisit this beautiful design – watch for more in 2020.

As I pieced this quilt top I thought about women I know.  On the outside, we sometimes seem SO different, but when we open up and see beneath the surface, we have more in common than not.  I pondered unity, the power of working together, the importance of love and acceptance.

I quilted it in a spiral and hung it on my wall, a reminder of the kind of person I hope to be.

Then a family from Nigeria walked into church one day.  We met, introduced our kids, and started spending time together.  They come to the US every year or two for about six weeks.  Our friendship grew, and they became like family before they went home.

When it was time to say goodbye, I was uncertain we’d ever see each other again.  I needed to send her home with a gift, something to remember our connection by, and it needed to be a gift of self.  I went to my wall and took my precious Flight II quilt down, added a label and sent it to Nigeria with her.

Gratefully, we’ve kept in touch.  Now we spend time together every time they come. Somehow the timing has allowed us to share precious family milestones with each other.  This year I got to attend her birthday party, where I heard her grown children stand and offer tributes to their mother that made me cry.  I hope my children will speak so positively of me someday.  Franka is an amazing woman who leads her family in powerful ways.  She’s not ashamed to say what really matters, or to encourage people around her to be their best selves.  I find myself striving to be like her.

So these photos make me smile as I think of a quilt, and a dear friend – far away and yet not so far at all.


Secret Garden Quilt

I designed this quilt three years ago and somehow never shared it.  I started it in a Kathy Doughty workshop using 60 degree triangles and the Jaybird Quilts Hex N More Ruler.

This quilt was my first experience with a design wall.  I cut fabric, put it up, looked at it, changed it, and had no idea what the quilt’s composition would be until it unfolded piece by piece on the design wall.

Much of the fabric comes from Anna Maria Horner’s Fibs and Fables collection for Free Spirit, although there are fabrics in this quilt from many designers around the world.

My goal was to design a quilt that had patterns in it while also being unpredictable.  I wanted my eye to be drawn to the obvious repetitions and then linger on the sections that were unpredictable.  I want the viewer to wonder what I was thinking.

After I made the large blooms, working out the small triangle sections was my favorite part.  It felt like planting little secrets in the quilt for someone to unlock.  I named it my Secret Garden quilt for this reason.

I chose an Alexander Henry fairy tale print for the backing.  It adds a touch of whimsy and story to the quilt.

Making this quilt felt like a tiny step toward the quilting journey I’ve always wanted to be on.  I feel pulled to do more of it:  cut fabric, stand back and look for a while, change things, try something new, repeat.  Create without knowing where it’s going.  Allow things to unfold.  Too often I am worried about controlling the outcome of my creativity.

The Secret Garden quilt design still intrigues me.  I wonder what it would look like remade in another style and color scheme.  Perhaps I’ll revisit it one day…

Everglade Quilt Top

My heart aches today with the wish that time could stand still.  Just for a little longer – long enough for my feelings to catch up to where life’s at.  Time is so precious, time with our children and loved ones flies too quickly.  And that’s exactly what happened with our family vacation this summer, too.  So much going on, so much to treasure, capture, appreciate, process.  I feel all of this as I share photos of my Everglade quilt top.

Like my Raspberry applique project, this quilt top is an exercise in using pattern on pattern, with lots of bright colors.  I love what I am learning as I push myself to sew this way.  So many lessons about value and scale.  It’s a lot of fun.

I sewed the blocks together by machine, but every block in this quilt is hand appliqued.  A self-imposed deadline was to have a finished quilt top to photograph on vacation.  I find that giving myself deadlines is a good motivator, and with every year I improve in keeping promises to myself.  I’m grateful that sewing has helped me to recognize the importance of keeping my word to myself – and to practice doing it.

In so many ways these colors remind me of the beach, of colorful beach houses, beach toys, colorful swimsuits, and umbrellas.  It seemed fitting to take it with us.

Especially the blues.  I will never tire of blue.

These photos tug at my heart today because the bare feet in the photo belong to my son.  He is my best quilt holder, always willing to do it when I ask, and over the years he’s become pretty good at it.  He left a few weeks ago for two years of missionary service.  My heart is tender with missing him.

Being tenderhearted is a good thing.  It’s making me more appreciative of little things.  In this season of thanksgiving I have been pondering the gift of color, how much it means to me, how it enhances my life so richly.  We are blessed!


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