Friday, July 24, 2020

Still Waters

This quilt is one of those that just kind of jelled within a day or so. At the beginning of July, my daughter Brianne had a request, "Would I make a quilt, (that's not quilty - it's Brianne remember) for a very special teacher/counsellor, Mme Gifford, of Brady's?" He has finished grade 6, knew her from kindergarten all the way through grade 6. He graduated from elementary school in June, and is heading to junior high in September. (How is this possible? He should be like 5!) I asked Brianne to find out Mme Karen Gifford's favourite colour, which Brady did: turquoise. Just, and I mean just before the request, I saw a quilt on Instagram that Jasmine of Quilt Kisses had made for her neighbour who was undergoing cancer treatments. I loved it, and said I just wanted to have a DrEAMi, lol, Drop Everything And Make it, though I certainly could not afford to. Well, when I heard that Karen's favourite colour was turquoise, and I loved Jasmine's greens and blues quilt, I sent Brianne a photo of it and said what about this? Yes, came the immediate reply.

So I started going through my stash, which is one of my most favourite parts of the quilting process. Rummage, pet, unfold, pet, refold, restack, ahhh. There is a good pic of that joyful jumble on Instagram.

After responding to the first comments on the post, it struck me that I need to say a little more about this wonderful teacher and person. Three years ago the unthinkable happened: in mid-June, Brady's dad, who actually had a temporary teaching contract at Brady's school (and boy, how Brady's chest puffed out with pride that entire year) was tragically killed in a boxing match. The entire school rallied around Brianne and Brady. They literally took them into their arms and hearts and Karen, especially, over the summer and on into the following school year, looked after them both. Yes, both. She took care of getting Brady involved in some activities over the summer like a sports camp. Little packages would appear on Brianne's doorstep the following year from time to time: a laser Christmas light to shine on and light up their house, gift certificates, other little care packages. We know she orchestrated and/or took care of those extras herself.

With all the furor of late over teachers NEEDING to be back in school so kids can go back, and most schoolboards not seeing one cent more in funding for extra cleaning, extra cleaning personnel, PPE, nor having a realistic plan for going back (tell me how you keep both little and big students 2 metres apart at all times, keep sticky, messy, coughed in, nose-wiped on, fingers at all ages (and I taught secondary for 30 years, so it's at those levels too) OFF desks and other surfaces and keep hands off their faces, do not jostle each other or touch each other (tell that to hormone-flying junior high age kids who often show affection by bumping or shoving each other). Kids do miss their friends. Brady plays with his, though mainly outside. We ask so much of teachers without thinking about it: counsel, instruct, discipline, love, care for, our kids. And they do. Many, if not most, go above and beyond, as Karen did and continues to do. I myself have students, now dear friends, I still see to this day (though two metres apart) who I taught when they were 15, and I was 25, back in 1985, and many others with whom I am still in contact via email or texting. Now we are asking that they literally put their lives on the line, without supporting them, financially and logistically. It is wrong, wrong, wrong. Think of teachers like this wonderful Karen, ending up with Covid, ending up in intensive care, ending up dead. It has happened already with some in AZ.

Like so much of the ugliness in our societies that the Corona virus has exposed, we do not really and truly care about teachers. We do not really and truly care about nurses and doctors and other healthcare workers. We do not care about the migrant workers who help to put food on our table. We do not care about grocery store workers: their $3/hour raise in some of the chains here ended over a month ago. Is the virus gone? Is the risk gone?). As in this article, nurses say, and I venture to say that all of the above say, "Do not call me a hero; I am being martyred against my will." I truly hope that we will listen to teachers, to medical experts and do the right thing here, but I worry we won't.

 With just one seam per block the top came together in a flash. I sent a photo of it to Brianne:

Are you high? was her response. She couldn't believe I'd got it made that quickly. 

I suggested we put Minky on the back, and Brianne said okay... So off I went to my now-open LQS, A Stitch in Time in Leamington, where they have the best selection, an entire little ROOM, of Minky. I sent Brianne a photo of two different turquoises and she chose the dimples one.

Onto Avril it went, a simple flowing meander across the top and it was done.

Of course I quilted the recipient's name into her quilt!

And squeezed in my initials, as per usual. I used Exquisite 100%polyester thread. It has such a lovely sheen.

So the label has a bit of a story. Why is it that nearly every quilt, I forget my satin label? Not this one though! However, I completely forgot my cloth label that I never forget! So after quilting, I wrote the necessary information on the label, and hand-stitched it carefully down, but not before I'd removed some of the meandering quilting lines.

I then took it to my Bernina and carefully blended in the quilting. In a couple of spots I had to go over a previous line, but after washing, the thread sinks in, the texture poofs up a bit, and no one's the wiser...well you, dear readers, are!
I bound it with a 2.5" cut binding, using one of the prints in the front. Minky has that extra bit of thickness so the extra 1/4" is helpful. 

Here is a straight-on shot, a bit windy, a bit wavy, but this was pre-washing and flattening/straightening.

Post-washing, lovely texture, looks good on the green grass!

It will be headed out to Alberta shortly! I had fun with it and Fly High doing a few glamour shots at our neighbour Dave's place, which goes right down the cliff to the shore of Lake Erie.
How I love that weeping willow. Apparently his neighbour to the east wants it topped because it's spoiling his view. Like Dave said, "The tree's been there a lot longer than you have."

Dave's stairs are STEEP but solid. What a difference the height makes in the sound of the waves!
No filter, just Lake Erie blues and greens and turquoises, ahhh.
Quilt Stats:
Pattern: Based on one Jasmine did
Size: 44.75" x 53" (post-laundering)
Fabric: scraps and stash
Backing: Minky
Batting: cotton from stash (I don't remember now what brand I used but I think Hobbs!)
Quilted: on Avril: 25 987 stitches
Threads: pieced on Billie, my 1947 Featherweight; quilted with Exquisite 100% polyester, The Bottom Line in the bobbin


  1. That teacher's going to love the quilt. I can almost feel how cuddly it is from here. She will also know why Brady is such a good kid; he takes after his grandmother, of course. Sounds like you had a lot of fun making it, too. What's not to love about a quick finish? Great quilt, great gift.

  2. Congrats on a fast finish and a beautiful quilt. That's one lucky teacher.

  3. It is just lovely. I am sure Mme Gifford will love it. The glamour shot makes me want to visit Dave's place.

  4. I have no doubt this lovely quilt will be well received. Nice finish!

  5. I'm so glad to hear that your local quilt shop is able to be open again! The minky is going to make this quilt so extra soft and cuddly. I was wondering if you were going to use a slightly wider binding to help with the fullness, that makes a lot of sense. And well done blending the quilting in over the label.

  6. That's such a pretty quilt, Sandra, and a lovely gift for Brady's teacher! I love the colors you chose: both refreshing and calming. I'm appreciating my teacher friends right now, too - a lot is being asked of them. I'm so very thankful to be retired! (Plus, a question - what size are your rectangles?)

  7. Simple design, but dynamic result. Fast work, too.

  8. Absolutely beautiful quilt. The colors are so soothing and peaceful looking. As a former teacher I appreciate your comments on what our teachers are going through right now. You have hot the nail on the head. When will we finally realize that our children and young people are our most important investment?
    Do you design your cloth labels? If not, would you be willing to share where you purchase them?

  9. Beautiful finish. No doubt it will be loved and cherished.

  10. It's lovely, Sandra. I'm always in awe of how quickly you put something together ... and how beautifully.

  11. What a beautiful and sad story and such a great gift for a very deserving teacher. I love the colors and yes it looks like a quick quilt to make. I love the quilting and don't those labels (one or the other) also get you each time?

  12. Hi Sandra! Still waters run deep . . . just like your talent. This is just the perfect DrEAMi project and didn't it turn out just fabulous?! Like it was meant to be - you see the inspiration piece in turquoise and then need to make one in the same colorway. Lovely! I am 100% certain that Karen will love it and especially all the blessings and thoughtfulness sewn into it. ~smile~ Roseanne

  13. Lovely; a great idea for a quick present using such a beautiful variety of fabrics.

  14. Oh, those colors! Proof that the simplest patchwork can be gorgeous if you have a good stash to draw from. A lovely gift for a deserving teacher :)

  15. What lovely colors, and I love the color of that backing minky! Sounds like Karen is jewel and I'm sure she'll love her quilt. I've been ashamed of how society, including parents, have been treating teachers this summer.

  16. As the product of a teacher/nursing family, I love everything about your post. Thank you for saying what we need to hear. My niece is an Emergency Department nurse and while she is willing to put her life on the line every day, we should be willing to do our part, both as individuals by wearing our masks and staying home, and as voters by ponying up the money to pay for the protective equipment she needs to keep her safe while she tends to the most ill. And that is only one part of the equation. Teachers are another, as you have so eloquently stated. Thank you, again.

  17. What a wonderful "graduation gift" for MMe. Gifford from Brady and Brianne!! Very sweet of you to take on the task of making a quilt for her. Although, I'm sure you were SEW pleased to do it (since she took such good care of them!)

  18. What a wonderful teacher for both B and B! And I love that your daughter knows the value of a quilty gift even if she’s quilt-averse. :) Yea, you, for answering the call of the squirrel. I’m sure you were high, in only the way quilters will understand. The quilt is beautiful in all its simplicity and cuddliness. I’m sure it will take some of that Erie vibe all the way to Alberta.

  19. I loved Jasmine's version, too, and yours is just as lovely. Those colours are so beautiful. What a treasure Mme. Gifford seems to be :) The quilt is a perfect gift for her. And you are so right to ask how anyone could think it will be possible to distance kids in school. It just can't happen, no matter anyone's best intentions.

  20. A great quilt for what is truly a great teacher and person.

  21. I love how your turned out. And your photo shoot is just amazing. I must admit that those squares would intimidate me. A thoughtful gift for a special person.

  22. You say it so well Sandra. This has been a teacher in a million. I am glad Brady, and Brianne, had someone that was there for them. Teachers are so undervalued and so many of them go beyond what their job entails. I just love this quilt, and as for those photos, and that water ......


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