Through Tears She Saw More Clearly – A Finished Quilt

If I’ve a quilt that sums up my life experiences in the last decade or so, Through Tears She Saw More Clearly is probably it.  It tells the story of life’s tension between pain/heartache and the learning/growth that follow if we stay engaged in the journey.  This quilt was inspired by the early challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, but it’s come to mean much more to me in the last two years.  

Red-hot pain, teardrop shapes, a waterfall of flowers.   Sadness, emotional turmoil, fresh perspective after the tears.  Letting go and holding on.  So many things.  And so many life experiences can feel like this.  But the ultimate message of this quilt is that growth and clarity are on the other side of struggle.  We can’t get them any other way.  I feel like I experience this lesson repeatedly.  Hence the title:  Through Tears She Saw More Clearly.  It always works that way, doesn’t it?  They blur our vision, and give us new focus at the same time.

So many favorite prints are included in this quilt.  It’s a scrapbook of tempting florals and I’m so glad I cut into precious pieces for it.  

This quilt is the first one where my husband collaborated with me on the quilting design.  I had a deadline and was telling him my plan to quilt it quickly, when he stopped me and said “no, that’s not what this one needs.”  And then he proceeded to draw the design he pictured.  To my surprise, it was much better than my plan. It was also more consistent with the quilt’s message.  So I did my best to mimic his sketch.  (I wish I had kept that little drawing!  I think it was on a napkin or the back of an envelope or something.  Why didn’t I at least photograph it?!?)

I quilted Through Tears She Saw More Clearly with gold thread.  And teardrops.  Fewer and smaller at the top of the quilt, larger and more of them at the bottom.  Each teardrop connects to a gold string that starts at the top.  It’s hard to see because the prints are so busy, but I’m glad I did it.  I wish I’d added more dense quilting to make it stand out better.  But I learned a lesson, and the best part was collaborating with my husband on an idea.

I am grateful for the experience of making this quilt.  Grateful that I’m still learning.  It’s a gift to be alive, to struggle and try again.  To see more clearly through our tears.

Jennifer

Signature Quilt Block with Improv Flower Applique

I’ve mentioned my interest in creating my own applique designs before, and recently had a small-scale opportunity to do it.  Instead of just signing a card, a group of us wanted to sign a quilt block for a dear friend who was moving away.  I thought of the antique album quilts, and signatures on blocks.  In the end, I settled on stitching an improv flower applique signature quilt block for the occasion.

It’s a 6.5″ block with flower petals that are more modern than realistic.  I used a Liberty tana lawn floral for the petals because it was a piece I bought at QuiltCon 2022.  Several of us went together, so I thought it would be a fun memory to include in the block.  The leaves and stem were scraps from my fabric stash.

To make the flower, I simply cut 5 random wedges of fabric and arranged them so their points met closely enough to resemble a flower.  I then appliqued it using the needle turn method to the background, which is a Carolyn Friendlander design.  That’s another QuiltCon reference, as we took a class together from her.  The stem is a simple piece of bias, about 1/4 inch wide.  All in all, this was a fun block to stitch and I enjoyed it immensely.  I hope to make more!

My little flower block wasn’t large enough to be used as a signature quilt block, so I made it the center of an economy quilt block.  The two prints are light enough to write on and still be easily read.  I took this block and a sharpie to our last sew night with Amanda, and we passed it around for everyone to sign.  I wish I’d thought to snap a photo of it then!  

Happy Sewing to you!

 

Dream Catcher Quilt

I summoned the courage to quilt my Dream Catcher Quilt top.  Honestly, that’s usually the reason why it takes me so long to quilt them.  I need a deadline, or a whole lot of courage to quilt them.  In this case, it took courage.  I felt intimidated by the size and the wide range of colors, but once I settled on a simple approach, it worked out.  

I chose with a simple orange peel quilting design for the hourglass blocks, and in the stripes I did some straight line quilting that followed the print.  The Kaffe stripe in this quilt has got to be one of the best stripes ever designed!  I wish it was still in print.  

I shared the story of making this one in my post about the quilt top.  Finding the stripes was a fun challenge that I tackled with a friend.  Along the way we collected solids, tweaked the pattern instructions to our satisfaction, and had a great time sewing together.  It’s fascinating how such a simple design, with the right print, becomes incredible.  I feel like this Dream Catcher Quilt is a great example of that.  The stripe makes the quilt!  While it’s a long out of print fabric, it could be interesting to piece stripes and make something similar.

I’m thrilled to have this one in rotation around the house.  Like I admitted at the outset of this post, I have a backlog of quilt tops.  I’m trying to catch up, but progress is slow.  But nothing motivates like success, right?  I’m excited to finish another.

I hope your summer is as happy and colorful as this quilt!  It’s hard to believe that August is already here.  I’m counting on more sewing time this fall – we’ll see what happens!

Happy sewing to you!

Jennifer

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