It's been a very long time since I have completed a quilt, I almost forgot how to do the binding! While I had aspirations to learn free motion quilting last year so that I could finish Miss M's big bed quilt, it was a tough year, and finding the time to practice was next to impossible.
It was Miss M's start to kindy year, then she jumped ahead to school by term 3. Master A was in a 12m Autism Intervention Program, half an hour south of us, while I work 45mins north of us, and to add to the logistical nightmare of a two hour trip between work, childcare or her new school, his school and home, Miss M gets car sick when she has to deal with a drive longer than 20mins, and his school was a rather hilly drive, meaning the poor girl was car sick at least twice a week. (So glad they are both together at the local school this year, even though Master A is transitioning back with half days).
With all that travelling, plus regular physio for her and OT for him, joey scouts for him, calisthenics for her (including her very first solo demonstrations!) and very early starts at work just so I could get home at a reasonable hour to get the kids fed, bathed and to bed on time, you can understand why all I could think of doing when the kids went to bed, was crashing on the pillow myself. (And just quietly, there were a few occasions when I fell asleep on Master A's bed while laying with him to teach him deep breathing and relaxation for sleep).
When Andrew finally finished building Miss M's bed, I gave in and bought her a wool filled doona, realising that I hasn't going to get that quilt finished anytime soon. I took her bedding shopping, dressed the bed, and snapped a couple of photos to post on Facebook to show off my clever husband's skills, this being his second ever bed designing/building project. You can imagine how elated I was when the very talented Emma replied with a generous offer to quilt this one for me!
Her ability, passion and fearlessness with quilting, as well as her being the perfect mum to two gorgeous kids that are growing up into such wonderful little people, means I hold her on a high pedestal. To have her quilt Miss M's quilt was such an honour. When she asked me how I'd like it done, I didn't want to sound too demanding so asked for a simple meander or stipple. She told me that could get boring, so I gave her free reign, trusting her judgement completely. I asked if perhaps she could quilt a butterfly into it somewhere as Miss M loves them (did you spot the glow butterflies on her wall). The quilt top has some butterflies in some of the fabrics, and the backing is flowers and butterflies in white on cream, so it fits the quilt well too.
I was awestruck when Emma returned the quilt just before Christmas. She had exceeded all my expectations with a beautiful all-over feather design and not one, but a whole border of butterflies! (See how she did it here.) I am yet to come up with a name for this quilt, so am looking for some good ideas so that it can label it, giving full credit to Emma for her amazing work. Of course, it's not waiting any longer to get some appreciation on a bed. I switched the bedding in the middle of the night on Saturday after stitching down the last of the binding, so that Miss M could wake with a big surprise!
Unfortunately my sleep debt from the past week caught up with me and I slept in yesterday, missing her reaction. But when I asked her about it, she grinned and told me it was "cool". She then proceeded to play in her bedroom all day, finding toys she could play with on her bed with her beautiful new quilt. I think she likes it! Its a relief to have it done, as she often gets promised things but has to wait, because Master A needs so much of my time. She hardly complains (other than pushing his buttons occasionally when she gets frustrated or bored) and is always trying to help out and reminds him of things when he forgets or simply didn't take in an instruction. She deserves a special quilt on her bed, and Emma's quilting has made it extra special for her.
For me, the pleasure of finally finishing something gave me the quilting bug, and I found myself rummaging through my scrap bin starting a new one yesterday! I had forgotten how calming and relaxing I find piecing a quilt (sadly I can't say that about the actual quilting yet - that part winds me up into a bundle of nerves!). I am thoroughly enjoying this new one, that involves improv piecing with no stress, no points to match up, and lots of fun prints to sneak in along the way. Quilting (well at least piecing) is fabulous therapy!