My Grateful Melody Quilt Top

A few stitches here, and a block or two there…and 43 blocks have become 120.  My Grateful Melody quilt top is complete!  This project was wonderful:  a design and skill challenge, combined with personal memories in a quilt.

The Naive Melody sew along, hosted by Lucy Engels, is complete.  I’m happy to have finished my quilt top on schedule – something I often struggle to do.  

This project evolved as the weeks passed.  I started with a limited color palette, but added more as the mood struck and I used what I’d already cut.  Eventually I found myself with more than 15 fabrics as background, and even more variety in applique pieces.  Such fun!  

I added two shapes of my own to these blocks:  a tear drop, and a house.  I needed them there, for many reasons.  The obvious reasons are common to most of us over the past 11 months, but there were also deeply personal reasons for me and my family.  Isn’t it interesting how closely gratitude often sits to sadness and loss, and how tears often mingle with joy?  

My grateful melody quilt top tells the story of some treasured blessings.  It also holds some sadness I struggle to explain.  How grateful I am to have felt these feelings – to be alive and feeling enough to care so deeply!  In all, it’s a happy quilt.  Happy in color, in design and in making.  I cannot imagine ever being done exploring these possibilities!

This project tempts me to choose and begin my own 100 day project and see where it leads.  That is one creative challenge I’ve never done.  

For now, I’ve got commitments and unfinished projects enough to keep me busy for months!  Additionally, since this is my second quilt top finished in 2021, I’d better get quilting!

My 20 in 20 Finished Quilt Top

Well, here we are in 2021, with January mostly gone!  I have used the last couple of months to stay fully focused on life at home, and for quiet introspection and goal setting in this new year.  There is so much to come, but first:  my 20 in 20 finished quilt top!  

You may recall my sewing goal for 2020 was to spend at least 20 minutes sewing, every day.  Little did I know that a pandemic would send most of us home to do lots of sewing, or that all the changes would have my creativity coming and going at random intervals.  I could never have predicted such random schedules (or lack of them), or so little personal time.  Still, I kept sewing.

Gratefully I included hand sewing in my original plan.  There were MANY days that it was the only kind of sewing I could fit in, or the only kind that sounded nice. 

I made a half rectangle triangle block for every day of the year, with a neutral solid on days I didn’t manage to sew at all, and a yellow on Sundays.  Aqua meant more than 20 minutes; blue was 20 minutes of sewing, and green was less than 20 minutes.  Red was for when I was following a pattern, pink for working on my own designs, purple for old WIPs, orange for hand sewing.

I planned my 20 in 20 quilt to be a celebration of color.  It became something of a journal as well.  After a week or so of watching everything shut down, I decided to record things.  I started adding a few words for events that felt significant.  Weeks turned into months, and I continued adding highs and lows through the rest of the year.

I stitched with two strands of DMC black embroidery floss. It’s done VERY simply (and sometimes sloppily, in a hurry) over my penciled words.   Sewing the blocks was easy, and completed on New Year’s Eve.  The stitching took a few extra weeks.

When I look at my 20 in 20 finished quilt top, I see the celebration of color I planned.  I see the way quilting blesses my life.  In addition, I see the struggle of 2020, the things I wept and prayed over, as well as those I celebrated.  What a year!  I’m excited to quilt this one, and I hope it will become a treasure to my family.



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 focused on something I’m grateful for even – or rather, especially – in a pandemic.  

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 grateful melody applique blocks 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!

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