Category Archives: Quilting and Sewing

Katie Jump Rope Lone Star Quilt

I have a sweet little book titled “And then in a twinkling”.  It’s a little holiday picture book that depicts the way one day it’s Halloween, and the next it’s Christmas, and how it all happens “in a twinkling”.  I’m tempted to say of this project,  “and then, in a twinkling, one lone star block became four”.  But that wouldn’t really be the truth about this Katie Jump Rope lone star quilt.

katie jump rope lone star quilt top

You see, I shared my original block more than a year ago, and in the last couple of months have made a few more blocks.  Nothing “twinkling” about taking a year to bring a quilt top to the next step, right?  Yet the last year definitely passed “in a twinkling”.  Why does time fly like it does?  Sometimes it amazes me.  When I finished the first block, my daughter was still in high school.  Now, a year later, she’s in Paraguay.  The months between included a car accident, concussion (which nearly ruined her graduation), leaving home, a semester of college, playing a season on a college soccer team, preparing to leave the country for 18 months, the holidays, 6 weeks in Mexico and now she’s been in Paraguay for 3 months.  What a year it’s been, and that’s without mentioning all that happened for the other nine members of our family.

Sometimes I am hard on myself when life isn’t like a full-speed-ahead straight road with me methodically ticking everything off the list, completed and beautiful. (And doesn’t our media-filled world make it look like everything happens “in a twinkling” for everyone else?)  I wonder if that’s really the goal.  Could life be more of an excursion that includes circling back around, re-examining, picking up where we left off and adding something new?

lone star quilt top

I am liking these fun, large blocks.  The four large stars are each 34 inches square, making the top 68 inches square at this point.  The smaller star in the center is made from the few small pieces I have of the original Katie Jump Rope collection.  I was happy to find a way to include them in the quilt.  I appliqued that star into the center after sewing the large stars together by glue basting the block to the quilt.  If I were to do it again, I would thread baste the block and needle turn the edges, even with the seams.  I think it would have looked better and been more accurate that way.  Live and learn, right?  Circling back around….

I am pausing again on this project to decide if it’s done, or if I should explore an idea for a border.  The idea has been lurking in the back of my mind for a long time.  Perhaps “in a twinkling” (translation: after many hours of sewing) I’ll have more to share with this Katie Jump Rope lone star quilt.

Without doubt, during that “twinkling” there will be plenty of life to live.  May we all live it well!


Collection Quilt: a quilt top finished

The Collection quilt.  What an interesting name! Collecting is the action or process of gathering something.  My quilt top is finished, and stepping back to look at it makes me smile.  I see fabrics gathered over time into my stash now working together in the blocks and also think of life experiences that came while I was stitching them.  In particular, I remember a day when collecting grew in meaning for me.

Collection quilt top

It had been another busy week and I was discouraged.  Would I ever catch up?  Could I please have a do-over?  I love my children dearly and want them to succeed.  Yet it seemed that everywhere I looked I saw parents doing something better than I did, something I’d never even thought of, and I would never be enough.  The thought was heavy.

completed collection quilt top

Then I heard a voice so clearly in my mind that there was no mistaking it.  It simply said this:  “In all the history of the world, there has never been, and will never be, another family exactly like yours.  STOP LOOKING AROUND!  I know what I want your family to be like.  LOOK UP, and let me show you.”

collection quilt, finished quilt top

Such a sermon in those brief sentences!

It invited me to look again at the unique group of people I call my family, and see with new eyes the experiences, lessons, and gifts we’re collecting together.  It was beautiful to look and really see.  I felt new love and gratitude for where we are today.

quilt top on ladder

Quilting reinforces this truth for me.  We each bring something unique to our projects, and regardless of skill, size of stash or fabric budget, time constraints, and design style, we stitch a piece of ourselves into our quilts.  I’m learning in my parenting and my sewing to stop looking around and instead look up.  In doing so, life (and quilting) becomes more beautiful, instructive, nurturing, and joyful.

collection quilt with borders added

The Collection quilt pattern is by Carolyn Friedlander.  I added borders to make it larger.  You can see progress pictures of my sections here, here and here.

Thank you so much for visiting.  I hope you’re looking up today!



The Gentle Art of Quilting Book Review + Till We Meet Quilt Top

Have you ever bought a book because you loved the cover?  That’s why I bought The Gentle Art of Quilt-Making.  Something about the striking image of a dramatic quilt paired with white flower vases and the words “the gentle art of quilt-making” grabbed me and I didn’t resist.  Is quilt making a gentle art?  And why was it that such a simple quilt riveted my attention?  I purchased the book.

The Gentlel Art of Quilt-Making by Jane Brocket

Fast forward two weeks.  There I stood in the airport, busy travelers coming and going but I simply stood, tears on my cheeks, my view of her shrinking as she made her way through the snaking line at the security gate.  How?  How do you do it?  How do you send your child to another country for 18 months?  How was I going to live without her stories, her laughter, her calls & texts, her presence for so long?

Our oldest daughter is off on one of the greatest adventures she will ever have, serving for 18 months as a missionary for the LDS Church in Paraguay.

I know heartbreak harder than this, and her leaving was a good thing!  But this goodbye undid me deep inside.  I stood there reminding myself that mothers have done this for thousands of years, that she will be fine, that the months will fly by.  But for a few minutes it didn’t matter that I stood at the end of a long line of generations to know this kind of bittersweet; it was just me holding my breath with all the raw, fresh pain of it, experiencing something new.

beginning of Till We Meet quilt top

So we watched until we couldn’t see her anymore, and my heart lurched at the idea of driving away while she was still somewhere in the airport. We made our way to the exit where that sixth sense of a parent told me that someone was missing.  Without thinking, I looked around to see who wasn’t with us and it hit me – it was her.  Fresh tears pricked at my eyes and I said to my husband, “I guess it’s time to learn to count to seven instead of eight.”  He cleared his throat and turned away to blink hard.

The nine of us drove home in the rain, with tears and sniffles coming here and there in the van.  I watched the water run down the window and pondered what it will be like to have a piece of my heart living on another continent.  The kids and I spent the day quietly at home, just being together.

quilt top on ladder

Then I noticed Jane Brocket’s book again, and thought, “I really need something gentle right now.”  I flipped to the pattern for the cover quilt (she calls it Russian shawl) and decided to begin.  I started with a lovely floral that caught my eye, and added a couple of solids.  And raindrop/teardrop fabric.  That was a must!  I began as the pattern suggested, with an 18.5″ square for my center, and began adding borders, alternating narrow solids with wider prints.  I didn’t follow the pattern exactly, but that’s the fun thing about the book.  The patterns aren’t really so exact, because they’re meant to encourage you to find inspiration in your world and create your own quilt.  This book would be a great way to coax yourself out of always following someone’s pattern and into designing simple quilts that capture your own inspiration.  My quilt top progressed largely as expected until I got to that second narrow green border.

Till We Meet quilt top - Hopeful Homemaker

I’d been sewing in sadness until that point, but suddenly my eyes rested on the green ombre fabric and everything inside of me went very still.  It reminded me of being at the beach, of standing at the water’s edge and looking out to sea.  It reminded me of all the times I’ve stood in that place and let the sight of the ocean wash away my worries and sadness, and bring comfort and peace with the tide.  I looked at that fabric and remembered that Emmeline was never mine; she was sent to us on loan, and now she’s off on a journey that will bring her back more HER than she’s ever been.  It’s  a journey I took too, many years ago, although I didn’t go so far.  But it’s a journey I want her to take, a journey that will change us all for the better.  I looked at that fabric and felt all of those feelings, and suddenly my sadness was gone.

till we meet quilt top by hopeful homemaker

So I sewed that ombre fabric to the quilt, not worried that the colors weren’t a perfect match.  I added it because it was part of the gentle art of healing my heart through quilt-making.  It was part of the story.  I had planned to call the quilt a farewell quilt, but suddenly the name changed.  “Till we meet” was the story.  The strips on the right side of the quilt came together as I listened to tributes to a great man and humble leader, Thomas S. Monson, who had recently passed away.  And then the quilt was done and all the sadness drained and only peace was left.

blue quilt top

Of the quilts in her book, Jane writes, “My quilts are most definitely not heirloom quilts, but are instead practical quilts that I have enjoyed making and truly like, quilts that are warm, useful, visually pleasing and packed with thoughts and associations.  This is private, personal quilt-making as an absorbing creative pastime with lovely results, rather than quilt-making for show or competition. . . . . You may find… that every quilt tells a story, that you can do it, that basic patterns can be supremely clever (which is why they have been around for so long), that making lovely quilts is not difficult, and that the results will be something of which you can be justifiably proud.”

Till We Meet - simple quilt top by Hopeful Homemaker

My quilt top doesn’t look much like the Russian Shawl quilt it was patterned after, but it tells the story of that day and reminded me that there is, indeed, a gentle art of quilt-making that i want to experience more often.  I am grateful to have felt it with this project and feel eager to return to this book for more creative exploration.

And that sad January day?  It was quickly swept away by all the blessings, all the good days, great emails, and tremendous growth for our daughter.  She’s thriving in Paraguay and we couldn’t be happier!

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