Back to projects – Senior Quilts 2019

Slowly I am building up speed….like an old locomotive building up steam and chugging up the hill.  The long finger on my right hand is still splinted. A visit to my surgeon is scheduled for the end of the week, and I know he will say “3 more weeks”.

I did some sewing in the last 2 weeks.  Senior Quilts is a project at my church where we make a quilt for each of our High School graduates. The idea is to wrap the graduate in love and send them ‘off to their future endeavors’ with a reminder that the church is a place they can call home, to return as often as they can, and that they are always wrapped in the love of the members and the love of Jesus, no matter where they go.

 At my February Queen Bees gathering I used the “design floor” and laid out blocks for a quilt.  With the help of my friends Judy and Suzanne, a pleasing arrangement of the blocks came about.

Layout for the "next" senior quilt

There is only one graduate at church this year. I coordinate the “Senior Quilts” project.   Judy is one of our member quilters, so I was happy to have her input. I figured I could assemble the top fairly quickly and used the “webbing method” to keep the blocks in order. (The are 8.5″ square).  I got it assembled over the course of the following week, everything except the final row and the top right block.  Those blocks get a photo and a bible verse.

This Friday my friend Nancy B. came over and she “hooped” the block for me to embroider.  I didn’t think I was up for hooping with my splinted finger.  All went well and I managed to stitch out the verse.

Verse on the quilt

The verse was chosen by the mother of the graduate. The source (besides the bible) of the digitizing is Designs By JuJu. If you are looking for scripture to stitch out she has many available for FREE on her page. I give the parents each year the link to her embroidery designs and ask them to choose. This was done on a 4×4 hoop.  It came out very clear for being so many lines in the small space.  I oversize the piece of fabric then cut it to 8.5″ square after the stitching is finished. I use no-show fusible mesh on the back and float a piece of cutaway under the hoop.

I also “print on fabric” a photo of the church.

Church photo on the corner

I use a product available at JoAnn’s —  Printed Treasures Ink Jet Fabric Sheets 8.5\u0022X11\u0022-100% Cotton Percale with great success.  I have the photo set up to print 2 per page, then I trim and stitch to a plain muslin block.  It helps to have a piece of stabilizer behind the block when stitching on the muslin this close. I used a blanket stitch and put a piece of cutaway behind it.  The cutaway is very soft and will remain in the quilt.  When printing on fabric I made certain that all the settings were at their highest quality. I also heat-set the photo with the iron from the top (with a pressing cloth) and from the backside.

The last blocks were added to the quilt and I gave it a good press and delivered yesterday to the church.  I realized that I hadn’t taken a photo of the finished top, so quickly used the “design floor” again and threw it down for a photo. It isn’t the best picture because I was in a hurry and didn’t smooth it out.

Senior quilt 2019

The color green was a suggestion by the grad’s mom and she mentioned he was an “EAGLES” fan.  Finding fabrics for young men can be a challenge. I have 3 containers of “church fabric” mostly donated by a church member. I was able to come up with some great prints that were “not florals”.  I got in my bin and dug out one fabric that I thought was appropriate too.  All in all it came together quickly.  The quilt will be out in the Narthex of the church (Reformation Lutheran Church Milford ) for several Sunday mornings.  Congregation members will have an opportunity to sign the quilt and offer messages of inspiration and hope for the future. Towards the end of April several of us will gather together and layer the quilt and tie it. Presentation is scheduled for Mother’s Day.

This is the 11th year I have been involved with Senior Quilts. I owe the origins of my quilting life to this project, and blame my husband for elbowing me in church telling me “You can do THAT, it’s just straight stitches”.  I also hold Pastor John, now retired, responsible for my quilting life!   I’ve been the coordinator of the project off & on for 10 years.  I took a 2 year break and let another quilter lead the charge when I was “stressed out” by too many years of too many grads.  Some years we have had as many as 15 graduates.  The last couple of years the numbers have dwindled. The future years there is an upswing in numbers of youth attending church and the project will take a lot more time. Thankfully for me this was an easy year.