Senior Quilts, circa 2021

Every year since 2008 I have worked on quilts for the high school graduates of my church. Some years we have had half a dozen or more. Our biggest year had about 13 or 14 quilts. Last year we had just one graduate and this year there are only 2 graduates. When there are so few, it is easy to have a little more fun and make the quilts very unique.

Working with fabric donated for the purpose, my partners in quilting came up with an idea for this quilt together. The grandma of the graduate is a quilter and provided the fabric and some of the sweat equity in the construction of the quilt. We got together and cut out the fabric and then one member of the group stitched all the half square triangles. We got back together and cut the units apart, pressed and squared them up, and laid out the design. With three sewing machines going, we got the rows together quickly. I brought it home and joined up three sections and added the borders and photo’s and verses. Then we got together again and tied the quilt with white crochet thread. I decided it needed some quilting in the borders to finish it off. I added a verse for the back and a special label. Ordinary times the members of the church would leave messages of love and faith and sign the quilt. Since that isn’t possible this year we put more verses than usual on, along with the special label.

Christopher's senior quilt
Verses for Christopher
Serenity prayer on the back of the quilt
Label for Christopher
Quilt label on the back of the quilt
Isaiah 40 31
Isaiah 40:31
Proverbs 19 20
Proverbs 19:20
Jeremiah 29 11
Jeremiah 29:11
church photo
A photo of the church goes in one corner

All the bible verses were digitized by Designs by JuJu along with the Serenity prayer. The quilt label comes from Kreative Kiwi. The photo is printed on fabric. The binding is ready to be put on. I prepped the binding using the two border fabrics, using the method I like best – Susie’s Magic Binding.

binding for Christopher's quilt

One of our group will be doing that in April . The red border fabric and the backing fabric came from Marshall Dry Goods. They have lovely quality fabric and a reasonable price for wide backing.

Our second quilt is a bit more complex. When the mother told me the student liked all shades of blue, I decided to get a little “scrappy”. We had a church member donate a lot of fabric a few years back, and I have had my eyes on this lovely butterfly fabric for a long time. I found a stack of 5″ squares in the stash she donated that were all shades of blue and they were perfect.

Blocks in Emily's quilt
On the design wall.

I thought an alternate block using the Square in a Square would bring out the blues of the butterflies. I used the Jodi Barrows Square in a Square ruler, and “option 2″ for the alternate blocks. I was able to dig out plenty of interesting blue fabrics from the donated stash, so there are lots of shades of blue in the blocks. I worked on these blocks at home during February and finally got it put together in March. These are 8.5” blocks.

Emily's quilt partially assembled
Webbing together the quilt top

Once I had the blocks together I decided it needed a border, and looked to the scraps that were trimmed away when squaring the blocks up. Using my favorite Bonnie Hunter method, I made a pieced border using phone book pages cut to width. I made a narrow inner border out of yellow and the wider blue scrappy pieced border. I decided to measure my border lengths, and stitch the yellow and blue border together before attaching to the side of the quilt. That made it so easy, and I only had to struggle with getting the large quilt through the machine for “one” border. I made certain to stay stitch along the edge of the border before attaching it to the quilt as well.

Senior Quilt 2021 for Emily
outside on the lawn

The lighting wasn’t great when I took this photo outside, and the yellows do fade away. The color is more true on the design wall photo. This quilt has the church photo in one corner and just one verse in the upper right. I’m still working on the embroidery for the back of the quilt, the label and an additional 2 verses.

The backing fabric is on the way from Marshall Dry goods, a lovely royal blue in 108″ width. I made an error when I selected the color for the backing and the original order was too turquoise. There is a bit of turquoise in the quilt, but i wasn’t happy with it for this project, so I reordered. I will put the turquoise to work on the back of something else in the future. After the Easter break my quilting group will get together again and we will tie this quilt as well. I will probably do a little stitch in the ditch around the narrow yellow border just to secure things. As with the other quilt, there is a church member who has offered to do the binding on this quilt.

This year was a challenge to get together for a group sewing project because of COVID-19, and the work responsibilities and health issues of some of our regular quilters at church. I was so thankful to the two ladies who worked together on the red & white quilt, and the willingness of two others offering their help binding the quilts. It is nice to have willing workers and it takes the stress off when I have to keep things organized. So far we are “on time’ for these quilts and I imagine they will be presented in May to the graduates during a service.

That’s it for me for March! What’s going on in your sewing room?

15 thoughts on “Senior Quilts, circa 2021

  1. Both of these quilts are beautiful and hold such meaning. If the graduate doesn’t fully appreciate it now, they certainly will as they mature. Applause to you dedicated ladies serving your church and your community. I’m working on a landscape wall hanging right now. Jack the Ripper and I spent some quality time yesterday so I’m hoping I can move along today. šŸ™‚

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    • Thanks Judy. I have had students come talk to me several years after graduation and tell me how important the quilt was to them. The service when it is presented is special too. Good luck with the wall hanging. Sometimes the ripping happens! Look forward to seeing your creation.

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  2. You were absolutely right on about adding the square in a square to make the butterflies pop! I love both of these quilts! How neat to have a group of church members to quilt. No one in our church even has an interest. I did try to teach the younger ones sewing in general, but they are just too busy with working and raising families.

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    • Hi Brenda – the ladies at my church are my “first sewing friends” and it was the Pastor who put us together. I always invite the parents of the grads to participate and most often they don’t even try. Lives are so busy anymore raising children, no time for fun. I don’t know how I would have survived without sewing this past year. At one point we had people who wanted to help but didn’t know anything about quilting, so we held workshops and taught them to chain piece blocks we already cut, simple things. Our numbers have dwindled in the last few years. Thanks for the lovely comments on the butterfly quilt.

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    • Thanks Daphne. When we started these early in the year we had to mask up and stay on opposite ends of a banquet table for sewing etc. We did share lots of planning ideas over email ahead of time, so we didn’t need to huddle together to figure out patterns etc. We are now allowed in Delaware to gather in small groups if fully vaccinated with no masks. With just 3 of us working, our church fellowship hall gave us lots of space to spread out!

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    • Looking forward to seeing you again on a cruise ship and at the “knitters & knatters” gatherings. We met on the Island Princess/Panama canal trip in 2017! I don’t know about you but I am cruise deprived and my sister and I are thinking about 5 in 2022!

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  3. Pingback: Butterflies dancing across the quilt | Stitching Grandma

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