Chile Trip and gifts of quilts

With sister Patty

I have been absent a lot from quilting, and one reason is that I spent a good chunk of time in South America, visiting my relatives.

Although almost everyone important to me is now in the U.S., I still have a dear half-sister, as well as her larger extended family, to go visit. They really love quilts, which is something that simply does not exist in Chile. In fact, my sister’s friend even once commissioned a quilt from me, which I wrote about here. So when I finally, thanks to a 50-year high school reunion, decided to go for a visit, I decided to give quilts to as many of my relatives as possible.

I rounded up a lot of quilts I had in different stages of completion and places. Luckily, I was able to put 13 quilted gifts together before I boarded the plane.

With the help of my sister Patty and niece Claudia we decided which quilt would best suit each recipient, since I wasn’t sure what would appeal to each one–I hadn’t seen them in a while!

The quilt gift exchange occurred right around the time of a Chilean Independence Day celebration (Dieciocho de Septiembre), and an earth-shattering earthquake that added a whole new dimension to my trip!  I guess it makes sense that I would be there at a time to experience the 2 things that most differentiate my country.

As well, I got to see my cohorts from the class of ’65 from St. John’s Villa Academy of Santiago, Chile! What a trip it was to see everyone, so many years later:

high school reunion!

In any event, I’m going to take the liberty of posting here the pictures of everyone from my family who received a quilt on that day:

My sister, Patricia
Nicolas (“Nico”), my grand-nephew
Santiago, another grand-nephew
Santiago (Chago), my brother-in-law
My grand-niece Maria Fernanda (“Feñi”)
My great-grand-nephew (heavens!), Benjamin (“Benja”)
Grand-niece Maria Ignacia (“Nachi”)
Niece Claudia
Grand-niece Maria de los Angeles (“Kanki”)
Niece Carmen Gloria
Niece Patricia (Pato)
Gaby, who only got a quilted pillow because she had received a quilt from me less than a year ago

This exchange shows me how precious an art form quilting is. Even though it takes about as much effort and expertise as other art forms, it is a very giving medium. For starters, most of what a quilter produces is to be used, touch, enjoyed – unlike traditional art forms that are meant just to be looked at. Quilts are some of the biggest art forms I know that allow an artisan to express style and convey an artistic expression, while at the same time having a giving component of sharing love and warmth.

The love aspect of it gives quilts their true meaning. They transcend looks and utility – true love and companionship can be shared and expressed via quilts. Quilts have a way of drawing families together, regardless of the time-space component that keeps it separated, in a true warm and loving way. It is the same as with charity quilt work, where we are giving of our effort, but much more than that, we are giving beauty and hope.

This is one of the reasons I have given myself so earnestly to the craft at this stage of my life.

Quick Fun News Items

Now and again, especially when I’m mid-project and have said all I wanted to say about what I’m working on, I like to look at the Google news tab and see what’s new in the world of quilting.

This fun one came through first place:

“93 Year Old Woman Embroiders Winning Quilt”, from WNEP in Pennsylvania.


Now, this is pretty impressive. Though 93 doesn’t seem as inconceivably distant an age to get to as it did once upon a time, it is still a feat of great willpower and quilting love to not only create a quilt at that age, but to win a blue ribbon for it! Clearly decades of knowledge and dedication helped her finish this feat. I guess I would like to win first prize for quilting when I am 93 years of age!

“Graduation T-shirt quilt top” from Chicago Now blog

Kathy Mathews, Chicago Now

Here’s a talented lady who discusses a quilting process I am very familiar with, having successfully completed this same project for some old favorite T-shirts that my husband had collected for years. In any event, a good post to read if you are interested in making your own T Shirt quilt one day: I know I am just giving the highlights here. I actually have a four post series on how to make a t-shirt quilt with really complete instructions. It is truly a step by step tutorial that you can access by clicking here, which will bring you to the fourth post.”

“Bicentennial barn quilt placed at City Hallfrom Greensburg Daily News

Pat Smith Daily News

it’s posts like this that remind me of the integral role of quilts in the life of a community: The Barn Quilt Trail was the first legacy project chosen for Decatur County. A brochure detailing in-county quilts on display will be available in the next week. To date, there have been 33 quilt blocks sold and others are currently being planned and made by the committee.”

“Search to find quilt accidentally sold at the Salvos store in Chelsea Heights” from the Leader in Melbourne

Here is a news item representing an ‘oops’ moment which, thankfully, had a happy ending, when the missing $700-quilt was found after the mistaken drop-off. I think the moral of this story is, if you organize a charity auction that is seeking to sell a pricey quilt, do not mistakenly donate that quilt to the Goodwill: ““I searched the house for hours looking for it and when I couldn’t find it, I remembered that four weeks ago I took a carload of my mother in law’s things to the Salvos in Chelsea Heights,” Ms Kenter said.
“Kind staff from the op shop had come out to help me unload the car that day.
“I immediately called them and asked if they remembered taking a quilt covered in hearts from the car and they said ‘yes but it has been sold’.”

All I can say is, ” yikes!”

Quilting Marathon

I have been super busy lately, not just with the insane children’s project or the not-yet-begun ties project, but with a personal project from which I will derive no further remuneration than an intense sense of personal satisfaction – which still has to count for something, I would imagine.

I proposed to make 10 quilts in two weeks!

I had many unfinished quilts, quilt blocks that I had received from random friends, and projects that had for some reason not come to fruition, and it became my imperative to finish them all now, because God knows it’s best to have finished quilts that can be used for gifts or to enter contests in a pinch.

So here they are!

 This one is a the result of a Mystery Quilt project where I made a mistake, because I used different sewing machines to make the different blocks. This made the quarter inch seam allowance slightly different throughout, which created a misalignment of seams and thus the loss of some of the points. But if nobody knows this, it’s OK!

I have already blogged about this one, made from a friend’s castoff machine embroidery squares.

This one is made out of these great cat squares I just had on hand – great for cat lovers!

This jazzy batik number was one I’d made for a fabric sales rep friend who needed a few sample quilt tops to take around on her sales calls. She was nice enough to return the top when she was finished with that line. I like how it turned out once I put extra borders and backing on it.

This is a cute, possibly child’s quilt showcasing woodland animals. I had bought the fabric remnant many moons ago because I thought they were sweet (I buy fabric because I like it, not necessarily because I need it for something specific) and they were great for making a small quick quilt.

I had a bunch of four-patch blocks that helped make this nice, mellow, vintage looking lap quilt.

This Christmas-themed quilt (the second one of the bunch) turned out larger than I thought. I had these giant red and green hexagon blocks stashed away, and since ’tis the Season upon us, I thought it would make a timely project.

This was a fun one! All these are blocks that were left over from different projects. I thought that the pale pink border tied them all together quite nicely.

I had begun this lovely hexie one ages ago – it was mostly finished save for a few last touches. 100% handstitching makes this quilt an extra special one, not to mention the cheerful springtime theme it conveys.

This fun number consists of four giant “found” squares. Each by themselves might have made an interesting central element to any quilt, but together they are a dynamic punch of fun.

This sweet little blue and white one would be more apt as a wall hanging or table top. These are also leftover blocks that go remarkably well together thanks to the similar hues and patterns. If it had turned out larger, it would have made a great “man” quilt.

And last but not least, we come to this great pillow, made out of one odd block.

All in all, it was a fun little side project, and it was very helpful in taking my mind off the grueling task of finishing the children’s clothes quilt.