Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The family who quilts together...

....is in the case of my family, being forced to do so by one wacko person, and that would be me. Thankfully they humor me.

So excited to participate in another of Amy's Blogger's Quilt Festivals at www.amyscreativeside.com. I was all set to show you all three of the quilts my extended family helped create for each of my three children, but then I actually read the rules and determined I was only allowed to show one quilt. So because everyone worries so much about my daughter Greta being in therapy someday due to her not having her name in my company like the other two, I chose her quilt. Plus it just really shows some clever creativity on the parts of my non-quilting family members (ie everyone but me).

Greta's Love Bugs

I got the idea to have our families welcome each of our babies with a group quilt from my husband's cousin, who had had all of her family members decorate teddy bear quilt squares to suit their personalities. The result was adorable, so when my twin daughters were born in 2002 I had all of our family members decorate not one but two penguin quilt squares. I provided the square with the penguin all appliqued on it (you know, because I had nothing better to do while pregnant) and sent out care packages to all our family members with the squares, some random fabrics, some fabric paints, buttons, beads, jewels, etc and the explicit instructions that they had to deck their penguin out in some manner to reflect themselves and send it to me by 3 months before the babies were due so I could put them together OR ELSE. Only the pregnant can use OR ELSE as effectively as all that. I truly had no hope that my father in law or three brother in laws would do this at all, and had serious doubts that my mother in law and sisters in law would do it either, but I prayed they might take pity on me. My own family members got together at my parent's dining room table a month before my mom died of cancer to create their blocks all together. Really a great memory.

Suffice it to say the entire family, father in law included, shocked the heck out of me, and every square came back on time and completely adorable and creative. But you don't get to see those quilts unless I get a lot of begging in the comment section.

Three years later we were expecting a third baby, and I had no idea what theme to use for this one's family quilt. I feel certain many family members were hoping I would not come up with one, but eventually I determined that this time everyone would work even harder. (I do tend to use pregnancy to get my way, as all women should do.) This time, everyone got a square of green fabric and the instructions to "create a bug that reflects your personality, something you like to do, etc." I don't even want to know what was said behind my back. Again, fingers crossed, I went about my business and prayed for results.

OMG did I get them. "Greta's Love Bugs" came in by the truckload (since we had some more family members by then) and every one of them was knock down drag out creative. Here are some of my faves:

My dad, known to my children as Poppa, likes to (or more accurately, is often called upon to) fix things around the house and is quite handy. He came up with the idea of making a carpenter ant, and, as we can see, totally ran with it. The ant is some black fabric I provided, the overalls were part of some of his old jeans, and the tools were from a Christmas ornament he had had for years and sacrificed to the cause of his new grandbaby's ultimate happiness. The pencil was a little stick whittled on one end and painted to look like an eraser on the other. I just love my dad for being so awesome; I love picturing him at the table working on this and coming up with all these ideas and being proud of himself, and he should be.

Poppa's Carpenter Ant

Next we have my husband, exhibit B in the "But men who aren't quilters can't possibly be creative enough to do this, can they?" rebuttal. I apologize that the photo doesn't do the block justice, but he chose to make a Daddy Longlegs. How freaking cute is he? On the block he wrote "Daddy doesn't have long legs, but he longs to meet you." Yeah, he's pretty cute.

Daddy's Daddy Long Legs

Next up we have my daughter Paige's block for her baby sibling. Paige was three and a half at the time of the quilt block creation and even then was my most creative and crafty child. She wanted to make a bee, and did so with some fabric scraps, sponge paint stamps, and fabric paint. She even made some little button flowers. She's really quite fabulous. My favorite part of this block, though, is where I wrote the little message she wanted to tell the baby, and I do quote: "I hope you are a baby brother because we already have girls here." We did not know what kind of baby we were having, but Paige had always been steadfast in wanting a baby brother, and I felt it really did need to be documented on her square. (We were slightly concerned that she would be bitterly disappointed by a baby sister, but as it turned out, she was the one running around the house screaming "We have a baby sister!" when we called to let them know. So it's all good.

Paige's Bee

Last but not least I would like to highlight my sister's block, because again, the choice of bug is so creative. Alison is a book editor, working mostly on children's books, and chose to make a bookworm. She used some marketing materials from her work to make little books on the square and wrote "Aunt Alison will read to you." I'm not really sure of the significance of the pink bow, but overall it is just too darn cute. And again, just way more creative than I ever expected.

Aunt Alison's Bookworm

Thanks for checking out my post in the blog tour. I'd love to hear what you think, and would love to hear if you have ever made such a quilt in your family!


Carol said...

What a fun project for everyone to share in.

Deonn said...

Oh my, this is the cutest thing! What a fun family quilt, and a great way to document and share the arrival of a new baby. Love it!!

Julie Fukuda said...

sew cute and sew creative and I beg for a peek at the others too.

stitchinpenny said...

Cute quilt. Love the story.

Janet said...

What a fabulous idea and it is such a wonderful keepsake. Makes me want to cry it is so sweet. Of course you do have to show the penguin quilts now!

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