A Very Wrenly Quilt for Sweden

The other day I told you about a young family that had lost their house to fire, and how I’d started making quilts for the children. I showed you Beckham’s quilt. Today I finished his big sister Sweden’s quilt!

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I am calling it Wrenly for Sweden because I had been playing around with a jellyroll of a designer fabric called Wrenly (by Valorie Wells.)

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This quilt is in a similar vein to the Stacked Coins quilt that I made for my sister (here). Sort of.

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I think all the swirls and glimpses of birds are perfect for a 5-year-old girl.  It’s girly, but in a rough & tumble sort of way. Kinda like Sweden, herself 🙂

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But what I’m really happy with is the back!

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I’ve been drawn to some of the modern quilt movement’s elements, including use of grey and lots of negative space.

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Of course, quilt backs are usually all about negative space, but I wanted to play around with it, making a two-sided quilt. No front, no back, really, except for the label. Sweden can flip it around as she pleases.

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I added some big-stitch hand quilting in perle cotton, just because…

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…and I practiced my machine quilting skills (which are sorely lacking, thus practice is a good thing) using my walking foot and wiggling the top from side to side to create the wavy lines.

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I hope Sweden will spend many happy hours snuggled up in her quilt, reading her favourite books and dreaming her favourite dreams.

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Ring Toss: a quilt for Beckham

Last month a young family that I know lost their home to fire.

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Beckham and his big sister lost everything they own.

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So I got busy making quilts.

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This one is for Beckham, who is an energetic toddler. I used Thomas the Tank Engine fabric because what two-year-old boy doesn’t love Thomas? And woah! Thomas the Tank Engine backing, too! What’s not to love?

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The pattern is called Ring Toss, from the book Quilt it with Love: the Project Linus Story. I hand quilted it using the Big Stitch method with yellow-gold Perle cotton. The center of each ring is hand-tied with embroidery floss.

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I’m making a quilt for Beckham’s big sister, too. I’ll post it as soon as it’s finished, so stay tuned!

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Vintage Adjust-O-Matic Dress Form and a Healthy Body Image

Have you ever seen one of these?

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Made in the mid-1960s and costing only $6.95: “with your Adjust-o-Matic dress form you see in advance just how attractive and becoming your dress, skirt, coat or blouse will look!

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Inside the box was a bewildering assortment of pieces. I have to admit, as a person who kind of sucks at puzzles, this put a bit of fear into my heart.

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Thank goodness there was also an instruction booklet! And let me say right now, that all instruction writers in the world should read this instruction booklet and take notes.  Seriously! This was so easy to put together! I was amazed!

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I spread the pieces out on the kitchen floor and proceeded to fit tab A into slot A and on and on until I was finished about an hour later.

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The Incredible Adjust-o-Matic is a miracle of modern engineering. Honestly.

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The form was built in three sections: first the hips, then the torso, then attach the neck piece and close the shoulders. When I built the hips section, I held it in my two hands and thought that surely there must be some mistake. These hips are too small. My hips are much larger than this. So I double checked the measurements. And yes…these are my hips.

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I suddenly felt a little teary-eyed! So here’s something about me that you may or may not know. Several years ago I lost a great deal of weight. Yes. Yes, I did. You can read all about it here. At some point after that I suffered an illness. My brain chemicals and hormones went out of balance, brought on by a combination of stressful life events and menopause, and I was diagnosed with acute depression.  It took me a couple of years, but thanks to a lot of very hard work and the love and support of my husband and a couple of close friends, I recovered. Unfortunately, however, I am left with a 20 pound weight gain. I can’t begin to tell you how I have beat myself up over re-gaining those pounds! The vicious, terrible things I say to myself! Horrible, just horrible.

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So holding those hips in my hands made me cry. Because I saw that they aren’t gigantic ugly hips at all! Yes, they are 3 inches wider than they were 3 years ago. That is a fact.My body-image is so out of whack, it’s scarey!

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I will get back to a healthier weight again. It’s just taking longer this time. My body is different than it was when I lost the weight before. I’m post-menopausal now.  I’m not teaching 5 dance classes every week. But I go for long walks every day with Samson, and I’m making an effort to get back into my yoga practice. I still go through phases of being very mindful of what I eat and then binging on ice cream (hard not to do on these hot summer days!). Over all I feel like I live a very balanced life. So the weight will probably be much slower in coming off this time around.  And you know what? That’s okay. Besides, the incredible Adjust-o-Matic will reduce right along with me as I re-loose those inches. She’ll help keep things real.

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She doesn’t actually belong to me. She is on loan from a friend. It belongs to my friend Jean’s mother.

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Jean’s mother is in a nursing home now, and the dress form was taken apart and packed away into Jean’s basement some time ago.

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I still think she looks smaller than me. But every time I check the measurements again, hers and mine remain the same.

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She sits in my sewing room and I look at her every day. She reminds me to be kind to myself.

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