Wednesday, March 30, 2016

(Someone Else's) New Quilt Project: K's Quillow for Bobby

Bobby's Quillow Design
Our church, Christ Lutheran, has an annual Quillow Ceremony for graduating high school seniors.  According to our church web site, "A Quillow is a quilt that folds up into a pillow. (Quilt + Pillow = Quillow). These are made by the student’s parents or a caring adult and given at Quillow Sunday to remind the students that as they leave home and go out into the world, they do not go alone. They are wrapped in the love of God, their family, and of all of us here at Christ Lutheran Church."  One Sunday in June, the seniors parade across the front of the Sanctuary in their caps and gowns and we have a ceremony in which the quilts are wrapped around the students by their parents as the children are given a blessing.  This is one of those services to which you want to bring a lot of Kleenex...

2015 Quillow Service at Christ Lutheran Church, Charlotte, NC
My oldest son won't be a graduating senior for another three years (if we all survive that long!), but a friend of mine asked for my help with a quillow for her son Bobby.  She has some sewing experience but is not a quilter, and she has limited time to work on the project because she is a single mom who works full time and also volunteers her musical talents at church several days a week, playing piano for The Bridge service on Sunday mornings as well as accompanying LOL, the middle school contemporary choral group in which both of my sons have been involved.  My friend K wanted to do something special for Bobby, and she asked for my help. 

My biggest challenge when I'm designing anything with a deadline is always my tendency to create something too complex, underestimating the time it will take to get it completed.  I went to Pinterest for inspiration and found this beautiful quilt designed by Amy Friend, who blogs at During Quiet Time:

54" x 54" Ombre Vibes Quilt, Designed and Made by Amy Friend
Isn't that beautiful?  Although this quilt wasn't marketed as a "Christian quilt," when I saw it I immediately saw a cross with light shining from the center, banishing the darkness. K's son always wears a Christian shield medallion on a necklace and K had the idea of putting Bobby's medallion right in the center of his quilt.  I think that idea would look fantastic in the center block of Amy's cross quilt, especially if we do the same quilting lines radiating out from the center block like Amy did.

Bobby's Shield Medallion

There is a verse of scripture engraved on the back of Bobby's medallion that K also wants to include somewhere on his quilt:

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."  Joshua 1:9 (NIV) 

Amy's quilt was designed to be made using the 6 1/2" square and HST (Half Square Triangle) dies for the Sizzix cutting system booth at Quilt Market in 2014.  The pattern for this quilt is available for free on the Sizzix web site here.  I had to adjust the pattern for our purposes because the original quilt measures approximately 54" x 54" but we need ours to be more like 72" x 96" to fit the XL twin beds that are common in college dormitories. I increased the size of the blocks to 7 1/2" finished, the largest size that I can cut out HSTs with my Nifty Notions Cut for the Cure specialty rulers.  Even so, we'll need to add 2" borders to the sides of the quilt and 14" borders at the top and bottom in order to fit the dorm bed. 

Dark to Light, Red-Orange-Yellow

Light to Dark, Shades of Black-Gray-White
K wanted to use red and gray for Bobby's quilt, Ohio State colors, and orange is great because he's also a Clemson fan.  In order to get the effect of light radiating from the center of the cross, value is even more important than hue.  I finally selected on the above assortments of batiks, solids, and tone-on-tone prints.  I especially loved finding this one, in just the right shade of gray:

Christian Fish Symbol #6594 fabric from Quilting Treasures, Our Father Collection
So now the design is nailed down and the fabrics have been selected, and I'm putting a kit together for Karen.  I cut out all of the squares and triangles and pieced the HSTs for her so she'll just have to sew the blocks into rows according to the diagram.  The long bias edges of the oversize HSTs tend to want to stretch and distort during piecing and pressing, so I measured them carefully after pressing them open to ensure they came out 8" with square corners, and then I heavily starched them to make them easier to handle. 

All I have left to do is to cut the border strips to width and write out the instructions, and then I will hand it all over to K.  While she's assembling the quilt top, I'll be thinking about the best way to handle the shield and cross applique for the center block and digitizing the Bible verse that she wants to embroider on her quilt.  I can't wait to see her finished quilt at the Quillow Service on June 5th!


Jenny K. Lyon said...

What a wonderful tradition! And the Beautiful quilt. Very much enjoyed this post.

Joanie's Trendy Quilts said...

Love your church's tradition making quillows for graduating students!

Amy Friend said...

What a great adaptation! I like the idea of that ceremony too--very symbolic and lovely!