Tuesday, September 11, 2018

A Quilt for a Little Boy

This was a DrEAMi! project. For those of you who are not familiar with that term, it stands for those projects where you just have to Drop Everything And Make it! They are also known as squirrels. All squirrels are urgent; some are fun; others are desperately needed. This quilt falls into the latter category; it had to get made because of a tragic event...
Back in the first of my final 15 years of my teaching career, at a Junior High in Sherwood Park, I taught a beautiful girl named Shannon. I soon learned that her dad also taught at the school, but little did I know he and I would become very good friends. This quilt is for his grandson, Shannon's son, who is just 6 years old.
The wind and the rain hung around all weekend; the quilt is not that friendly... 😄



Exactly two weeks ago Shannon's house burned down, of course, at night time. She has three little boys, all under the age of 6, and she was alone, as her husband was working out of town. Miraculously, she got them all out, but they lost everything in the fire.

I don't have a lot of kid-themed fabrics, but I knew I had a bunch of scraps from Brady's I Spy quilt, and from various items like pillowcases, and pjs that I've made him.  8 X 5.5" rectangles seemed to be the common size I could get from the scraps so I cut 27, enough for three columns. You may notice I have a thinner rectangle at the top and bottom of the middle row so the patches are offset. I added width with the grey fabric and used almost all of the Paintbrush Studio China blue scraps I had left from In the Shadow of the Plus for the borders. I wanted a good-sized cuddle blankie. The side borders are 4" finished and the top 2.5".

I stitched in the ditch (firm believer in that) minimally though, just stabilizing the quilt centre and borders seams. The centre got a jigsaw-type meander, something I really love doing, so relaxing, so quick. I knew the quilt had to have Minky or its equivalent on the back. I was pretty sure I had some fleece that I'd bought several years ago to make myself a jacket. It is excellent quality, almost velour-like in its plushness. Perfect. Said jacket still hadn't happened, so may as well use it!

This sweet little 6-year-old has autism. What trauma they all went through, and still are coping with, I cannot imagine, but what he suffered and is unable to express, hurts my heart. Moreover he, along with Shannon, suffered smoke inhalation as well. I felt so strongly that this little guy really needed his very own blankie; to make matters even more daunting, within a week of the fire he was having his big first day at school. So much to deal with, much too young, and with a disability.
Fun and quick border quilting, based on a Christina Cameli motif

I sewed the narrow strips left from cutting rectangles end to end for a scrappy binding.
This is after laundering; the backing really is that rich navy. The bears are a scrap from Dayna's first quilt. There's almost nothing left of that sweet fabric.
I machine-stitched it to the back and then top-stitched it by machine to the front. I quilted his name in the top and bottom borders of the quilt, and in the bottom I quilted in a few heart motifs, which you can see, albeit upside down, in the above photo.

Hopefully the youngest two won't have memories of the fire, or very vague ones if they do. Hopefully this little guy will get some much-needed comfort from the quilt which has no batting, something that's new to me. The other quilts I've made with Minky backing I've always put in a batting. I found it felt a bit less stable as I quilted, but I let go of the desire for perfection, knowing this quilt needed to be done asap. It washed up beautifully.
Lots for him to look at, even the wavy line of meandering I hope will capture his attention.

I even remembered to sew in my satin label before applying the binding!
I wrote a couple things on the reverse side, but the quilt does not have a name other than L--'s Quilt. I'm okay with that. The above photo gives you an idea of how plush the fleece is.

Quilt Stats:
Pattern: original design
Size: 39.5 X 50"
Fabric: scraps from stash and scraps of Paintbrush Studio solid China blue
Batting: none
Backing: fleece from stash
Quilted: on my Avanté, Avril; 35 245 stitches
Threads:  pieced on Billie, my 1947 Featherweight with Mettler cotton; quilted with Isacord polyester grey and blue, The Bottom Line in the bobbin

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24 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness, Sandra, I am so glad Shannon was able to get the boys out of the house. I am absolutely positive this quilt is going to be so well loved and appreciated!!

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  2. What a wonderful thing to do! The quilt is perfect and will be loved, for sure. I have a niece who is autistic, and even small changes in her routine are difficult. This quilt will help provide some consistency in this little boys life as I'm sure it will be chaos for a while in the aftermath. But such good news that the family are all safe. Everything else is just things in the end, right?

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  3. Sandra, I’m so glad you were able to make such a thoughtful gift that will lend much needed comfort. I’m sure your thoughtful rant so much to their family.

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  4. One little boy, memories from years before, and now we can share in the story and wonder how they will pull themselves together and start again. This is a beautiful quilt, made with love, and bright and cuddly. perfect for a wee boy with autism, he can wrap himself in the warmth and hide from anything else that is scary.

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  5. A a quilt where a dreami moment became reality. I always feel it was meant to be when we have just what we need to make something and give comfort. I have an autistic nephew and know how much a fuzzy quilt hug will bring Shannon’s boy some comfort. You are an angel, my friend.

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  6. You are a dear friend to them. So glad they were able to escape, and truly, L will enjoy and cherish his soft, squishy comfort quilt - which has so much love and positive energy. L...ovely.

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  7. I'm glad you dropped everything to make this one.

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  8. Such a terrible thing to happen to the young family, and im sure the little boy loves his new quilt to cuddle under.

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  9. What an awful thing to happen and what a "lucky" escape , I hesitate to say that , for the family . I'm sure this quilt will bring much comfort and love

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  10. What a sweet quilt! It will probably be much more important than many of your beautifully planned, carefully executed, intricately designed works of art (aka quilts). You've definitely returned to the heart of quilting, and made something that will show love and bring comfort. Good on ya.

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  11. A very special quilt for a special recipient. Lovely work.

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  12. How terrible for the family, I'm glad got out safely. I'm sure this quilt will bring the comfort and love you stitched into it.

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  13. I can't imagine loosing everything you ever owned, but I am sure happy that they were all able to get out to safety-that is the most important. How sweet of you to make him a quilt so he could be wrapped in a quilty hug.

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  14. What a frightening experience that must have been for all of them; so glad they were all able to get out of the house. You have such a big heart, Sandra, and making this quilt for that little guy is so wonderful. I'm sure it will bring comfort to him during all of the transitions he is going through.

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  15. Hi Sandra! Oh my, what an ordeal that family has to go through. I know that little guy will find a lot of comfort in your quilt. With his name on it, and all those interesting fabrics to look at plus the stitching lines. Not to mention all the love you stitched into it! Oh, I hope his first few days of school go well for him. I know the schools have support staff to assist with just this thing, and hopefully the community can help this family get back on their feet sooner than later. The best news is that no one was hurt - stuff is just stuff and can be replaced. You are so nice to do this for a special young man. ~smile~ Roseanne

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  16. What a perfectly wonderful squirrel project. Thank you for blessing that little boy.

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  17. So good that she got everyone out safely. I hope the school shows a lot of love and compassion for the little guy. Your quilt will surely make life a little less scary for him. How wonderful of you.

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  18. This is a wonderful squirrel, Sandra! I'm sure this will be a comfort to them and so glad everyone got out safely.

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  19. Gosh! I'm glad they were able to get out in time and no one is physically hurt. I'm sure your quilt will help this little boy deal with all the chaos and the transition.

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  20. Oh, Sandra, I have such incredible goosebumps after reading this post. A former educator of children on the spectrum, I can attest to the fact that this quilt will go a long way to making this little man feel 'safe'! Thank you for being you!

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  21. Poor Shannon and her little ones! A home fire is such a terrible, terrible thing. L's quilt will help him work through that, giving him comfort, warmth and distractions. You did a wonderful job making a very boy-friendly blankie, full of love!

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  22. What a loving and generous gift for a special boy. Shannon is a heroine to have been able to get the three children out. It must have been so frightening for them all, especially for Shannon who knew the real terror of losing one. And for L whose mind works in ways we can only imagine. Bless you. Bless them.

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  23. So glad they all got out safely, what a nightmare. It's a bright, fun and cuddleable quilt. Hope the family gets back on their feet quickly.

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  24. God bless you for this Dreami project. I hope Shannon and her entire family are doing well after such a disastrous experience. And thanks for the tip on no-reply blogger - I have made changes and I hope it works!

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