Thursday, March 19, 2015

50 hearts for 50 years, a memorial quilt

I have been keeping my latest quilt project slightly secret.  My aunt and uncle celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in December and then, sadly, he passed away very soon after. 

I had his daughter, my cousin, help me (they live in Texas) by sending me one of his shirts.

I tossed around several ideas for a large heart quilt, but when I noticed Cluck Cluck Sew's hearts popping up ALL over instagram before Valentine's Day I decided that was the pattern.

As luck would have it, not long after I spotted Film in the Fridge's scattered hearts and decided I liked that arrangement even better.
With my kids being sick this took a LOT longer than I had planned.  The color choices are really unconventional for me, but I wanted to add brightness and fun.
I used three different sized hearts in the center.
And then just kept adding hearts, every which way, until there were 50 hearts on the quilt - one for each year of their marriage.
The final heart is an applique made from his shirt.
And I left the shirt pocket square intact so one could easily tell which hearts were the shirt fabric.

The final heart - the large outside one, was a last ditch effort to squeeze enough hearts in. I failed to plan for fifty hearts from the beginning! D'oh.

I wish I could've been there when she opened it. :-)
I think my plan for this year is to continue to make one quilt to keep and one to give away. This is my third give away this year, the next one is a keeper. 

I am looking for a recipient for the one after that though, in case you know any brilliant people in need of a quilt donation.

Lessons from 50 hearts:
I am totally over Kona Coal. In fact, I would never like to see it again.
My machine is a bit wonky with Kona for some reason.
Plan ahead a bit more, think it ALL THE WAY TO THE END Sarah!
Quilting is not about perfection, it's about the love and the intent.
Playing with scale is fun. The large outside heart totally made this quilt into something it wasn't before I added it.
2.5 inch bindings are WAY better than 2 inch bindings.
Guterman hand quilting thread is the only way to go hand sewing on the binding. Buy an extra spool since Joann cannot manage to keep stock of anything and you will surely have the binding half on and then run out.
Sheets make easy (and cheap) backing, but they are where the weight is coming from.
Large scale prints really are totally not for me.

It feels good, really good, to just make things and let them go out in the world. Someone mentioned on the baby quilts that she would've felt intimated quilting for the Amish, but you know what? That never even occurred to me! I have been listening to these two minute Pastor minute things my kid's preschool emails me and I have to say lately it's as if he talking directly to me about putting it out there, and sharing our gifts. I am not even close to a great quilter. I have no clue what the hell I am doing half the time, but I get there!


  1. The sweetest damn quilt ever, Sarah! I know from IG that you struggled with it but so worth it in the end, right?


  2. Wonderful quilt and I love that you are putting yourself out there! I finished a quilt last year for a granddaughter of one on my husbands aunts. She bought the fabric for a graduation present and then suddenly died from a heart attack. I felt very blessed to be able to make it for her. A friend of the family quilted it and the aunt's church group sewed the binding on so it was really a group effort! You are an inspiration, Sarah!

  3. I loved this quilt from the first picture you shared on IG. Now that you've shared the story behind it, I love it even more. I almost shed a tear over the pocket. I'm sure your Aunt loves it too.


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