Nicey Jane Layer Cake Quilt

I finished this simple yet cheery Nicey Jane layer cake quilt a while ago.  It sat, waiting for photos, until one day I felt like I should give it to a family we love.  Suddenly I had five minutes to take average pictures in too-bright light before I sent it off to its new home.  And then I promptly forgot all about it, until I stumbled on these pictures.  It’s a fun and easy quilt that I want to remember making, so here it is!

I had a few 10 inch squares of Heather Bailey’s Nicey Jane collection, and added a bunch more squares in solids that looked good with it.  Then I cut them into strips, sewed them together to make smaller squares, and made a quilt top.  The leftover bits of solids became a small scrappy border, and then I used my yardage in that lovely floral for a border to get it large enough for snuggling.  

I backed this quilt in a combination of new and old:  a vintage sheet paired with more Nicey Jane yardage.  I’m grateful to have found the photos because I really loved that vintage sheet.  It’s nice to remember it.

I bound it with the awesome stripe, also from the same collection.  This Nice Jane layer cake quilt is definitely one of the simplest I’ve ever made, which is a good thing when you have limited fabric or a limited time frame.  Though I think my Color Stack quilt pattern is my favorite fast finish for giving away.  One goal of mine is to give away more quilts.   I’m so glad I gifted this one to our friends.  I wonder if this simple design would be a good one to revisit and improve somehow.  It was definitely a fast, fun project.  

So, the Nicey Jane layer cake quilt was here and gone before we made any memories with it.  I hope it’s been loved and used where it is.  I’m grateful to have made it.

Nanduti – Paraguayan Lace

Three years ago my daughter came home from serving an 18 month mission in Paraguay.  She loved her experience there!  Learning new languages, learning to live in another country on a different continent, with a different climate and culture, all helped her grow dramatically.  Most of all, she learned to love people.  Knowing me and my love of textiles, she brought home some beautiful pieces of Nanduti, which is Paraguayan lace.  

They are stiff and highly starched weaving of colored threads in beautiful patterns.  I love looking at them.  There are so many bright colors and designs.

She brought home a large circle for me and one for her grandma.  We framed them both for display.  I mounted them on white fabric with a few stitches to hold them in place and then we put them in frames.  When I examine these pieces of nanduti I can’t help but think about the woman whose hands wove these together.  I wonder what was going on in her life as she made them?  Are these pieces a tribute to trials, or to happiness?  Both?  I always wonder about the life behind the hands who made art I hold.

As I’ve studied them recently, I noticed similarities to many English paper piecing designs.  It’s interesting how different yet similar design elements can be, especially across miles and cultures.  I’m curious about incorporating these designs into a quilt. 

She brought home several smaller flowers as well, and gave one to each of her sisters.  I decided to add mine to a quilt.  I don’t think this Paraguayan lace would wash well, so I sewed mine to my I’ll Never Walk Alone quilt.  It feels appropriate to have the nanduti on this quilt, because sending her so far away was a big event in my story, too. 

I hope she treasures her life-changing experiences, so it’s nice to have reminders like this in our home.  

 

Sand Dollar Applique Block

It’s no secret that I enjoy applique.  I have a long list of patterns to make, all using applique.  But lately I’ve wanted to make more of my own shapes and try an improv, free-form style of sewing with applique.  I guess this little sand dollar applique block is my first effort.  In all our years of wandering on the beach, my kids and I have become really good at spotting sand dollars.  We’ve found them as small as 1/4 inch in diameter, and as large as a few inches across.  They’re the ultimate treasure.  

It feels appropriate to have a sand dollar block somewhere in a quilt.  So I cut some fabric and decided to try my hand at this little shape.  I ended up making two sizes.  I’ll likely play with my idea some more before deciding what to do with it, but this was a lot of fun.

It was also fun to tape them to random little spots for photos.  

Here’s the thing:  I want to sew my story into my quilts.  I want them to tell the story of our lives, of my family, of my heart.  This feeling has been a guiding principle for a while now in my quilting, and it just keeps growing.  So this cute little sand dollar applique block is a little piece of that story.  And I can’t sew fast enough.  I’m sure I’ll never run out of things I want to say in my quilts.

I am deeply grateful for this form of self-expression.  It’s art I can wrap around my loved ones, and a way of saying things I don’t always have words for.  Creativity is such an essential part of life.  I am happier, more confident, more content when creating has space in my daily life.  Even if it’s stitching a little sand dollar in fabric.

Happy sewing!

Jennifer

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