My Heart, Today – A Finished Quilt

I keep thinking about last year at this time… driving my kids to school, busy as ever, getting ready for a quick trip to QuiltCon.  The coronavirus was just a whisper, and I was working on my little daily blocks or pieces of fabric as a visual journal of sorts.  I realized a few days ago that somehow I never shared what became of that quilt top, so here it is – My Heart, Today – a finished quilt.

I quilted it myself and tried to have fun as I went.  Inside the heart I used red thread, and either echoed the design in the fabric or did some simple design.  It was great practice.

I still love looking at this, even after a year, and remembering all the reasons why these particular blocks and fabrics ended up together.  The good days mingled with the tough ones.  Proof that when they’re all put together something beautiful and unique happens.  I never tire of these reminders.

I switched thread color to a soft gray when I quilted the background, and tried a new design.  It’s sort of a flame pattern, which I like.  I was also drawn to it at the time because it reminded me of both a refiner’s fire and of a candle lighting the way.  Both of those images resonated with me and paired beautifully with the story of this quilt.

I made a lot of mistakes as I quilted, but overall it worked.  The pattern provides a lovely texture to the background.  Learning, learning, learning – that’s what it’s all about, in life AND in quilting!

I had some of the incredibly soft and beautiful Outback Wife cotton/wool blend yardage in my sewing stash.  When I auditioned fabrics for the backing, it won.  Right now this quilt is on our family room couch and we love how soft it is!

This creative exercise, this daily journaling in fabric, is so fun and rewarding.  I think I could do it over and over again – collect and sew little bits that capture highs and lows.  Every time they could go together in a different shape or design, and it would be like volumes of journals.  In quilt form.  My Heart, Today, is the story of the winter of 2019-20.  I still feel some of it, but I’ve also come a long way.  Life is crazy, but oh, so good.  And I really love this quilt!

HOME – My First 100 Day Project

I have always wanted to try a “100 Day Project”.  It’s an invitation to choose something you will work on every day for 100 days.  Most of the projects I’ve seen are creative:  sewing, drawing, painting, and so forth, but you could choose anything.  I have a short list of ideas I’d love to try.  While I have no idea who decides when it starts, a fresh 100 days kicked off on January 31st.  And since I can’t stop smiling at the cute tiny 4″ house is from my new HOME quilt pattern, I decided to make 100 tiny blocks.  So here is the start of my first 100 day project, HOME.

Guess why I’ve never jumped in before?  Two reasons, the first being fear of failure.  I don’t want to commit and then quit.  The second reason is that I can’t settle on a single idea, especially one that is realistic for 100 consecutive days.  

So far, I’ve got six HOME blocks.  I thought my first tiny one was cute… until I made an even smaller house inside the same block.  That littlest house is just over 1.5″ wide – so cute!  They are a lot of fun to make, but I may not make one every day.  I decided I will be ok with that, because even seven of these adorable little houses is better than one!

So my first 100 day project is NOT going to be about perfection, but it will be all about fun.  And tiny houses.  Honestly, I’m not sure I’ve got time for it, which is why I’m keeping my expectations low.  I’m using all scraps for this project, brights with a light/dark pattern in each house, and all the white/off white scraps I can find.  I thought I’d have plenty of them, but I’m burning through them faster than anticipated already.  Therefore, I’m giving myself permission to pivot and change things up if I choose to.

For now, though, aren’t these adorable?  Want to make one?  The pattern is available HERE!

Refuge Quilt Top from HOME Quilt Block

HOME.  What has it meant to you over the past year?  Does it mean more than it did before?  It does to me.  As I considered what I wanted to say in a house quilt, especially a house quilt made in the pandemic, an image came to mind.  I pictured a house, bright with light, and dark clouds pressing in on it.  Things like howling wind came to mind, and I pictured the house straining under the pressure of the storm.  But then the image zoomed in, and I saw my husband and myself working together to support it, both to keep it standing and to keep it bright in spite of the darkness outside.  In that moment, my vision for this quilt was born, and using this fun house/log cabin quilt block is perfect.  So today I present my Refuge Quilt top, made with my Home Quilt block pattern.

This Refuge quilt top is smaller than I usually make, because I plan to hang it in our home.  I used 25 of the 10″ HOME blocks for a 5×5 grid.  It finishes at 50″ square.  All the roofs are black, and the background pieces come from about 15 different gray solids, ranging from almost white to almost black, and with green, brown, yellow, and blue undertones to them. 

All these solids captured what I wanted to say about the world in the past year.  There have certainly been bright moments, but also an abundance of challenges.  Keeping the storms and the darkness out is hard, but essential work.  I have titled this quilt “Refuge” because that is what home is for me and my family.  My husband and I work hard to create a place of security and safety for our children.  It’s the best, most meaningful work we do.  I am grateful to do it with him, and we lean heavily on God for help.

I made the houses from solids and prints that (mostly) read as solids, with a light and dark in each house to emphasize the log cabin design.  The bright colors provide a happy contrast to the storm outside, and each one is different – just like every family is different.  I chose to make homes in two different sizes, and alternated them in my layout.

My refuge quilt top describes, in fabric, the strain and beauty of keeping home strong.  It reminds me to be consistent in my efforts, even when it feels like an exercise in endurance, because HOME MATTERS.  Family matters.  May you be blessed in all you do to strengthen yours, and may your home be a refuge from the storm, a place of security and peace.

1 2 3 4 123