My Mother's Christmas Wreath

/ Monday 22 November 2010 /
I am off to Texas tonight, to spend American Thanksgiving with my Aunt June, and my cousin Kenny and his family.  And I am taking this with me.
Christmas Wreath
Although I do not celebrate Christmas, everyone on my mother's side does.  If you have been reading my blog, you may know that my mother was a quilter, and she left a number of projects incomplete when she passed suddenly in 2008.  Her husband, David, has sent me boxes and boxes of her crafting and sewing supplies.  It makes me feel close to her to use her rulers and cutters, and especially to finish her projects.  I have finished a few of them for her.  This time last year, I finished off this Christmas quilt and sent it to David, so he could wrap up in another quilt she had made.  This year, I finished this little wall quilt/table topper to give to my aunt, my mother's elder sister.
RAiny wreath
This wreath comes from a mystery project in the fall issues of Quiltmaker in 2000.  In one of the boxes that David sent, I found the three issues of the magazine with the clues and a whole whack of Christmas fabric. My mother had pieced the spiky border and the quarter-square triangles that make up the body of the wreath.  All I had to do was make the blocks with the bow and assemble it all together.  Thanks to all the heavy lifting my mother did, I was able do everything in one day.  The bow has a kind of 3-D vibe going on - it had some fancy assembly that makes it kind of poof out (in a good way).
3-D bow has a bit of poof
There were a couple of snags along the way.  First, I think my mother and I differ on what constitutes 1/4" - our blocks didn't line up perfectly all the time.  And I couldn't find, in any of the boxes that David sent, any more of the red-and-green-sprigged-on-white background that Mom used for the spiky border.  There was some other red-sprigged white, although it wasn't the same stark white.  So I used that, and I'm hoping that it doesn't look too odd. You can see the different fabrics in the photo below:
Different background lights
 I quilted the heck out of it to try to draw the eye away from the different fabrics.  I am having second thoughts about the decision to use this red, green and white variegated thread, but it's too late now.
 Second thoughts about the variegated thread, but too late now
I sewed a sleeve on the back so it can be hung, and I made this label using a technique that I have seen on someone's blog.  I can't recall whose, and I apologize if it is yours - let me know if it is and I'll link to you.  But basically, all you do is type it out in Word using a font you like, and print it out on regular paper. Then iron a piece of fabric cut to size to freezer paper to stabilize the fabric during the tracing process, and, using a light box (or window in the sunshine), trace using a Pigma pen.  Since I expect this will be hung and not washed, I just pinked the edges and sewed it to the backing using embroidery cotton and a running stitch.
Label: printed in Word and traced on a light box
I think my aunt will appreciate this little quilt in memory of her sister.  It makes me so happy to turn one of her WIPs into a finished product, and to sew a label on it that commemorates our collaborative work together.
P.S.  We will be in the Dallas area - if you have a line on any good LQS north of the city, please let me know!


{ Dresden Quilter } on: 22 November 2010 at 14:20 said...

It is beautiful. Your aunt will really love it. I like the variegated thread and how you made the label.

{ felicity } on: 22 November 2010 at 14:42 said...

Great story! You did a terrific job finishing this quilt; I'm sure your aunt will love it. I think the quilting looks great, too.

{ Schnookie } on: 22 November 2010 at 15:35 said...

This is so sweet -- the story of just finishing your mother's WIPs brings a tear to my eye, and this particular project turned out so lovely! I third the notion that the variegated quilting looks good, too.

As for quilt shops north of Dallas, if you're near McKinney you should check out Quilt Asylum and Happiness is Quilting. I was recently visiting a friend in Dallas and talked her into taking me there "just to take a quick peek". Man, she ended up earning her friend stripes BIG STYLE that day -- I could have spent hours and hours at those stores!

{ The Calico Cat } on: 22 November 2010 at 15:41 said...

I am pretty sure that way back when I started to blog that the owner (Susan Allen) had a personal blog... (That I no longer follow for one reason or another... I think she stopped writing.)

Anyway I have ordered from them over the internet...

{ Sarah Craig } on: 22 November 2010 at 16:24 said...

Your wreath is beautiful, the different fabrics are not really obvious, and I love the variegated thread!

On another note, I use fabric sheets I can run through my ink-jet printer to make labels - it comes in a variety of fabrics, from cotton to silk (I use the cotton poplin) and works like a charm! I usually print up a whole sheet of labels, because we use the same label all the time for our ministry quilts. One advantage is that you can print in color if you want too (with a color printer) and I have had good luck with colorfastness.

{ Diana } on: 22 November 2010 at 17:59 said...

I remember that mystery quilt project but had never seen how it turned out! It's a wonderful finish. I'm sure your aunt will appreciate it.

{ Jessica } on: 22 November 2010 at 19:52 said...

is this the post about the lightbox label you read? this is where I read it and how I have tried to do it before.

the wreath looks fantastic, I hope your aunt loves it.

Happy Thanksgiving and safe travels~

{ Rene' } on: 22 November 2010 at 21:30 said...

This wreath is beautiful! Your aunt will treasure it! Your story is very touching, and I love the label wording. I would not have noticed the different whites if you hadn't pointed it out in the closeup ;-) I like the festive variegated thread and the 3D bow. Enjoy your American Thanksgiving! Safe travels.

{ Suzanna } on: 22 November 2010 at 22:30 said...

What a touching way to connect your family to one another; both in terms of the individuals and through time.

{ My Life In Stitch } on: 23 November 2010 at 05:34 said...

The quilt is lovely - you have done your Mum proud.

{ Karen } on: 24 November 2010 at 08:05 said...

I LOVE the wreath quilt you completed from your Mom's things. I have searched high and low for this pattern on the web, but can't locate it. Can you tell me what issues this is from so that I can search for used back copies of the magazine. I would think copyright laws prevent you from emailing them to me or anyone else interested, but if you wanted to sell me your used copies, I'd be interested. Thanks!

{ Stray Stitches (Linda G) } on: 24 November 2010 at 08:36 said...

I think your Aunt will be so happy to recieve the little quilt made by you and her sister! What a wonderful story.

{ fabriquefantastique } on: 26 November 2010 at 14:23 said...

I know just what you mean by being close to your mother by using her stuff. I finished a baby sweater the other day and found a small piece of ric rac (about 15') that I remember my mother using, and finished the garment with it. My mum lived in England and must have been visiting, she has been gone over 25 years and I had a little weep.

{ ktquilts } on: 30 November 2010 at 09:33 said...

I have a sewing machine from one grandma, crochet hooks from another grandma, and knitting needles from both!! Love that you finished it. It is a wonderful gift!!!


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