Today is Free Motion Quilting Friday over at Leah Day's Free Motion Quilting Project.
Warning: This is a long, rambly post. If you just want to see my FMQ for the week, scroll to the bottom!
Tomorrow my only niece turns ten. Even though my own kids are well past this milestone, it marks a special day in my life.
You see, when I was about seven or eight years old, a girl down the street with much older siblings became an aunt. She was only six! I was beside myself with jealousy. I don't know what special privileges or honors I thought were bestowed on someone when she achieved this status, but I was sure that I was missing out.
I was taught a little lesson about jealousy. My only sibling is my brother, who is five and a half years my junior. (He showed up on Christmas Eve. I have recently forgiven him for ruining Christmas.) As fate would have it, The Pit Boss is an only child.
Yes, you can do the math and figure out that I was in my thirties before achieving aunthood. Well played, karma.
It was 2003 and we had just gone to war. My sister-in-law was way past due, and emotions were running very high. I remember reading an article about Iraqi women giving birth under the most horrific conditions, and weeping over the idea that my niece was going to be born in a nice clean, well lit birthing suite with every possible medical necessity at hand. It was all just dumb luck and geography.
|Yes, something bled on this quilt. After experimenting, I believe it was the variegated thread.|
While my sister-in-law labored, I was taking a quilt class with the guild. It was a scrappy LeMoyne star quilt that was all raw edge applique with a double needle. I chose patriotic fabrics, thinking it would make a great blanket for watching fireworks. I cried more tears making that quilt, worrying and giving thanks that this sweet girl was going to have every possible thing going for her, and that she wasn't being born in some bombed out disaster area. I cried for the babies and mothers who didn't have the same good fortune.
Later, when the quilt was finished, I printed the news article onto fabric and used it as a second label. I named the quilt American by the Grace of God. (That was also a little inside joke, since my sister-in-law is British.)
Ten years later it is amazing to see this beautiful creature as she becomes herself. She is smart and funny. She is never still; she is constantly twirling and dancing and hopping like a little blonde pixie. She and Grace have a special bond as the only girl cousins. I like to tell her that we're the only ones in the whole family who understand what it's like to be the older sister.
I wanted to do something fun for her birthday. She's getting an iPod Touch (shhh! Don't tell!) and my brother suggested a gift card. Useful, yes, but so boring! Grace and I decided to make her a little pouch to carry her iPod and keep up with her stuff. I used this very helpful tutorial from The Crafty Gemini.
I free motion quilted it in an all over loopy meander.
We had so much fun filling the pouch with "ten" things.
Inside the larger pouch we put:
- the iPod case with a $15 iTunes gift card (I couldn't find a $10 one anywhere!)
- 10 jawbreakers
- 10 creaseless hairbands (haven't you heard? They're all the rage.)
- 10 Tootsie Pops
- 10 dog stickers
- 10 packs of Smarties
- 10 balloons
- 10 gumballs
- 10 messages from our family wishing her a happy birthday
- a $10 bill!