Large Flight Quilt Top

This quilt top is one I’ve worked on slowly over several years. It’s a large block version of the traditional circling swallows block, and is paper pieced.  I wanted it to be colorful, unexpected, and big enough to serve as a fun picnic or beach quilt.  Here it is, my large Flight quilt top:

I made my first version of the Flight quilt back in 2014 with Bonnie Christine fabrics.  That was TEN years ago!  Wow, time has flown.  Since then, here and there I’ve revisited it, and finally released the pattern.  (It’s actually a two in one pattern, with a bonus extra large single block Flight II pattern that makes a 64″ quilt)  Over the years I made a few sample blocks, but I always wanted to make a large 9 block version.

I had a few sample blocks in solids, all made independently.  I decided to use them, however, and went through my stash of solids to make several more.  It’s a vibrant quilt, and the unexpected color combinations make me smile.  (They remind me of my Prosper in Solids quilt, but maybe even more bold.)  It’s SO much fun to play with color and see how they all interact with each other.  That interaction, and observing what takes center stage, is one of my most favorite things about quilting.  I get to experiment endlessly, and learn from all of it.  Color is such a great teacher!

I’m currently brainstorming how to quilt this.  It could be fun to create something cool in the negative space.  I would also like to make the birds stand out, but perhaps a simple edge to edge design will prevail.  Either way, I’m excited to finish this large flight quilt top and have it begin the journey of memory making with my family!

Flight II Quilt in Posy

When I launched my Flight Quilt pattern, it only made sense to include both sizes.  I have long loved the symmetry and beauty of the traditional circling swallows design.  After I made my first Flight quilt, I also made a larger, single block version years ago and called it Flight II.  The pattern includes the Flight and Flight II blocks, so it made sense to make another Flight II quilt.  Here it is, Flight II Quilt in Posy fabrics!

This version provided an opportunity to play with some new colors:  Ruby + Bee solids by Heather Ross and Annabel Wrigley, plus a few prints from Annabel’s Posy collection.  I enjoyed sewing with them, and found the colors to be very pretty.

I chose a rich blue for the background of the quilt and an orchid for the star.  Circling are 8 prints from the Posy collection.  Because of the larger size, this quilt comes together quickly and measures 64″ square.

I wanted understated quilting, so I quilted this on my longarm (I am trying to improve!) in an edge-to-edge loop pattern.  The binding is the same gorgeous blue as the background.  And for the backing, I selected a happy Martha Negley print which I’ve saved for years.  I love the light contrast it provides to the quilt front.

This Flight II quilt in Posy was made for Allee, a dear friend to all of my daughters.  Her goodness and kindness has lifted my girls again and again, and we all love being around her.  She is like a 6th daughter, so it only made sense for her to have her own quilt.  As I’ve said before, quilts are art we can wrap around people we love.  What a joy it is to do that!

My Bleeding Hearts

I remember it well, the wondering if I would ever feel happy again.  Ever smile a genuine smile.  Wondering if the heartbreak that threatened to pull me apart would ever quiet to a distant ache.

It was May.  So busy and so awful.  I carried a pain that made me pace circles around my house unless there was something needing immediate attention.  My only coherent thoughts came in prayer.  I bought a number 7 to put on my kitchen counter, a reminder of the people who needed me to hold it together somehow.

On a walk to visit a neighbor, I noticed bleeding hearts in bloom.  I’ve always loved them, but this was different.  It felt like the only thing in the world that might understand me. This achingly beautiful, heart shaped flower with a teardrop falling from it.  It was everything I couldn’t say aloud.  So I drove to the local nursery, found one, bought it… and nurtured it carefully all summer in it’s pot.

At the end of the season, too overwhelmed to find a proper spot for it but too attached to get rid of it, I dug a hole in the first spot I thought of in my yard.  A spot where I’d tried  other perennials over the years.  A spot where NOTHING had ever grown back before.  That’s why it was bare.  Not a good spot of dirt, apparently.  But I planted it anyway because it was all I could manage that day and I couldn’t bear to throw it away.

Imagine my surprise the following spring when it came back.

And every year since.

It stops me in my tracks every time:  it’s so much more than bleeding hearts.  It’s my heartbreak, growing in the worst soil, and thriving.

Today, years later, I sit near them just to be there, to look and admire, and remember.  I remember those days, days made harder by knowing we were only at the beginning of a road I desperately wanted to avoid.  And it has been long and hard, sometimes excruciatingly so.  I don’t know where the road ends, or if it ever will during my life.  I know so much more, and so much less, than I did then.  What a journey!

Today, here is what I know:  God knows us and is aware of us.  He gives us bad soil sometimes, and it’s up to us to plant what we’ve got and press forward.  To show up and keep moving and do our best to love.  Even if we’re doing it with broken, bleeding hearts.  And somehow, He will find a way to let us know He’s still there.  Somehow the sharp pain settles to a dull ache, and the day eventually comes that we smile and laugh for real.

And the bleeding hearts come back again:  stronger, more beautiful.  A witness.

I’ll never take it for granted.  Truly, all things testify of Him.

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