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America, Freedom and a Quilt

I hope that you had a wonderful 4th of July! I spent most of the day on the 4th at home sewing with my two girls. After carrying it around with me for 6 months, losing blocks, cutting and re-sewing blocks only to find the lost blocks, I finally finished all of the blocks for the “Tiger Fish” quilt kit I’ve been so enjoying. It is made of wonderful batiks by McKenna Ryan and uses the Sidekick Ruler from Jay Bird Quilts, a tool I’d been wanting to play with for a while. More on that quilt later…

After sewing, crafting and pooling all day, my girls and I grabbed a blanket and headed outside to watch the fireworks. Unlike years passed, we weren’t going to a party or having one ourselves and shooting off fireworks. This year, it was all about sitting on a quilt I made with my hands beside many of my neighbors and enjoying the fireworks display that my community puts so much effort into! It was wonderful; a cooler summer evening, perfect for sweaters with flip flops, blankets and major snuggles.

As I sat on the ground, holding my babies, I was reminded of a thought I’ve experienced many times before: I make beautiful, creative, inspirational things for a living. Almost every day. Exploring new techniques, creative mediums, sewing machine features… I have the greatest tools at my finger tips! For all of the “making” I do, the two most beautiful things I’ve ever “made” were so miraculously and uniquely created inside my body with zero input from me with regard to design. It’s an incredible feeling, feeling those little lives growing for 9 months, wondering what they will look like and how they will think, act, etc. But knowing the whole time that, no matter what, I will cherish the surprise that is coming!

I love surprises and experiencing the beauty that others create with fresh, naive eyes. I feel that way about fireworks. We’ve all seen them a million times, but when you hear that “BOOM!” And they shoot up in the sky, you still have no idea what colors, styles and lights await you. The togetherness of sitting with so many people, all of us embracing our loved ones, enjoying our community and “Aaahhhhing” over the surprise has never been lost on me. We are so fortunate to live in a great nation of so many different types of communities who can all still unite for one day, side by side, and appreciate the beauty of exploding lights in the night sky.

There is a very special group of men and women who have fought to build and preserve all of the freedoms we enjoy here, veterans. The week before the 4th; my shop, Decorative Stitch, launched our new Quilts of Valor Group “Decorative Stitch Patriot hearts”. 14 women joined me for a fun, patriotic sewing day and I was absolutely astounded by how much we accomplished! Sometimes, I just feel so proud of my shop and the community of ladies who frequent it, this was one of those days.

I came in early with an idea and a plan. I got out the AccuQuilt Go Big!, a large half square triangle die, one white fabric and a variety or red and blue batiks. Annette, one of the Decorative Stitch staff members, and I cut about a million triangles…maybe that’s a slight exaggeration…maybe not… but we cut them in no time with the Go Big! I love that thing!

When my ladies arrived to sew, we talked about the Quilts of Valor organization, the purpose, guidelines, goals, etc as well as what we would like to accomplish as a group. Then, I turned the ladies loose on the 1/2 square triangles. “Sew Red to White and Blue to White, no red to blue and please use a consistent 1/4” seam!” Those were my only instructions and the machines were purring! Some ladies came without machines and they were our sewing fairies pressing everyone’s blocks. Once I had a stack of pressed blocks, I started laying out quilts.

I love half square triangles, they are so basic but can turn into dozens of interesting designs. I always wanted to make a quilt of rings and this color scheme was perfect! I laid out 3 different quilts with the blocks our Quilts of Valor members created. We got two quilt tops almost completely sewn in our 4 hours of sewing. Can you believe it? I was so pleased that these 14 ladies came and donated their time, our shop donated the fabric and one of the members offered to long arm quilt the machines, too! I can’t wait to find out these beautiful quilts will provide warmth, support and love to. If you’ve never heard of the Quilts of Valor Foundation, visit www.qovf.org to learn more and find a sewing group near you. If there isn’t a local group, start one! You’ll be amazed and inspired by how much your sewing community can create with many hands in a short period of time.

 

 

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