A group of us made this quilt for our dear friend, Linda. She has had a rough year, and we wanted her to know that we love her and are always thinking about her. Now she can wrap up in her quilt whenever she needs a hug from a friend.
We wanted to do something that we would be able to finish in a single day of dedicated group sewing. We decided on a disappearing nine patch in Linda's favorite colors. I love disappearing nine patch quilts. They come together quickly, and they always look so interesting.
In order to have the quilt contain a little something from each of us, everything came from our stashes. Some of us cut five inch squares from yardage, and others brought charm packs to dig through. We tossed everything out on a table to choose the fabrics that worked best together. Next, all of the squares went in a bag, and we each dug out our share to make the initial nine patches.
We quickly learned just how varied the sizes of charm squares can be! Even though they all claimed to be five inches, they were anywhere from 4.5 to 5.5 inches. Fortunately, the disappearing nine patch is a forgiving pattern. We did our best to fudge it when making the blocks, then squared them all before assembling the top.
It was so much fun to spend the day sewing together. After we each made some nine patches, we realized it would be faster to divide and conquer. Emily and I matched pieces to be sewed, Julie and Jennae sewed them together, Denise pressed, and Emily and I squared up the blocks. It was assembly line sewing at its best!
Once the blocks were finished, we took advantage of one of the design walls to lay out the top. That part of the process always goes so much better with friends. A few of us stood back for perspective, while a couple people stayed at the wall to move things around. We periodically traded places until we were all satisfied that the quilt was balanced.
We decided to use a few of the extra charm squares to add a little bit of character to the back of the quilt. The stripe breaks up the backing fabric and makes it just a little bit more fun.
I had the privilege to quilt this beauty. I freehand quilted it with swirl hooks. In the past, I have only used this design in borders. It was a lot of fun to do it randomly across the whole quilt. Now it's one of my favorite all over designs.
The hardest part was finding the perfect binding fabric. Well, that and keeping it all a secret from Linda! Once we had the fabric, I made the binding and label, and Emily stitched them down. The label reads, "Made with love for Linda Beck. This quilt is our hug for you when we can't be there ourselves. Bobbi Bridgeman, Julie Eik, Emily Stark, Denise Stenzel, Jennae Liberty. Bozeman, Montana 2016"
Even though it was only a few months, the wait to give her the quilt felt like forever. Linda was finally able to come to Bozeman for the Bonnie Hunter classes last week. We all went out to dinner to present her with the quilt. The moment was perfect, and she was completely surprised.
We capped off Linda's week in town with another group sew day at the local studio, A Stitch off Seventh. This time, we each worked on our own projects at a much more leisurely pace. Kari was kind enough to take a picture of all six of us with Linda's Fiery Hug.
I am so glad we were able to pull off the surprise. I'm even happier that Linda is completely in love with her quilt. I hope that it continues to bring a smile to her face every time she sees it.