Monday, June 10, 2019

Lars's Graduation and Quillow (Quilt) Sunday 2019: It's A Wrap!

You guys -- my firstborn baby just graduated from high school!!!  Lars's commencement ceremony was Saturday afternoon and then on Sunday morning we had the Quillow Service at Christ Lutheran Church for all of our high school graduates.  Our church has been doing this every year for the past 20 years, and if you're a quilter living in the Charlotte, North Carolina area, you ought to come check it out next year.  If you're interested in seeing what the Quillow Service is all about, the video is available online here and the Quillow Blessing begins about 45 minutes into the service.

From Left to Right: My Younger Son Anders, My Husband Bernie, My Graduate Lars, Me, and My Mother

First off, what's a quillow?  A quillow is a quilt with a pocket sewn on the back so it can be folded up into a pillow.  My quilt for Lars doesn't have one of these pockets because it would have limited and complicated my quilting options and Lars was never going to fold his up into a pillow anyway -- this quilt is going on the bed in his college dorm room in the Fall.  Most of the other kids have the kind of quilt that folds up into a pillow, those are the directions that were given out by the church, and that's why it's a Quillow Service and not a Quilt Service.  It wasn't a mandatory feature or anything, and I opted to disregard the instructions.

All of the high school seniors process into the sanctuary wearing their caps and gowns during our contemporary worship service.  They are all different colors because the kids from our church come from so many different high schools.  My kiddo and his classmates from Ardrey Kell High School are wearing purple.

Group Photo of the 2019 Graduates

Graduates Stretched Out Across the Sanctuary With Their Families and Their Quilts

At some point during all of this, there's a slideshow on the big screens with each child's baby picture and high school graduation picture, as well as their plans for the Fall.

Then the parents, grandparents and siblings come up and we wrap a QUILT around our graduate, lay our hands on him or her, and give them this blessing:

I come this day before God to bless you and thank Him for your life.  You have given my life a deeper meaning and calling.  Through you, I have experienced God's love, joy and forgiveness.  Wherever you go, whatever you do, my love goes with you, and you will always be a part of my heart.  May this quilt remind you of the warmth of my love, the care of this faith community, and the comfort of the Holy Spirit.  And on those nights when I cannot wrap you in my arms, wrap yourself in this quilt and know that in God's family you are never alone.

Lars, Me, My Husband Bernie Behind Me, My Mother Beside Me

Then we exchange places and our kids give their parents this blessing:

You have given of your heart and of your home.  You have loved and cared for me, even when it was difficult.  Today I honor and thank you for your courage, patience, wisdom and love.  Wherever I go and whatever I do, I will always be your child, blessed by your love.  I thank God for blessing my life with you.

By now most of the women in the sanctuary are bawling and the men are pretending they have something stuck in their eye.

Then the quilts are folded up and the graduates and their parents go back to their seats for the remainder of the service.  Lars and his best friend, Ashton, also sang a duet during the worship service, which was really nice.  (The photo below was taken during rehearsal PRIOR to worship, when they were hamming it up -- they were much more serious during the worship service.  :-). Can you tell these boys are glad to be done with high school?!)

Lars and His Best Friend Singing a Duet, and Me Cracking Up In the Choir

Out in the Narthex or the Upper Commons or whatever they're calling it these days, tables were set up with a spot for displaying a trifold display board full of photos and memorabilia for each graduate along with their quilt and their Bibles, which were turned in to the church office two weeks ago so that each of our pastors could sign them.  I love this picture of my husband and my son together:

Bernie and Lars

And here's one of Dad, Lars, and "Mother," as Lars likes to call me:

Bernie, Lars and Me

And downstairs in the Lower Commons area they had a reception set up with refreshments.  I missed out on most of that and didn't even get to see anyone else's quilt up close because I was singing at both services and warming up with the choir between services while the reception was going on.  I'm glad that other people were taking so many great photos and sharing them with me!  Have I ever told you guys how much I love our church family at Christ Lutheran?!

My Graduation Quilt for Lars, 68 x 90 "Mission Impossible"

Finished With Only Five Days to Spare!
So now you all finally understand why I had a hard deadline for finishing this graduation quilt!! I would have wanted to send Lars off to college with a Mom-made quilt anyway, but I probably would have put it off, thinking I had PLENTY of time before he reports to campus in August...  Honestly, it's great to have this finished now and not have it hanging over me all summer, or worse -- have it be the high school graduation quilt that didn't get finished until he was through with college!!

And now, a Question...

I shared this quilt on Facebook and Instagram after finishing it, and a number of people have been requesting that I write up a pattern for Mission Impossible.  I've never done that before -- what do you guys think?  Is this just a nice thing people say when they find out you designed a quilt pattern yourself, or do you think anyone would actually want to buy the pattern if I put in the time to write up all of the instructions and put them, along with traditional templates and foundation paper piecing patterns, into a downloadable PDF format?  I will say that this is not a beginner friendly pattern because there are too many different techniques involved (foundation paper piecing, traditional cutting with templates, traditional curved piecing, and invisible machine applique piecing).  I'd probably consider this quilt appropriate for an Intermediate quilter.  I would include a pressing plan for the seam allowances and tips and tricks for getting those bulky seam intersections nice and flat where the four geese arcs converge.  I'd also include a color key for the Kona Solids that I used to get the 3-D effect (I did not use any gradient fabrics, just solids) and I suppose I'd have to include a few other size options and an alternate colorway. So, lots of work involved to do it right, but it WOULD be cool to see other quilters' interpretations of my design.  What do you think?  If any of you have any experience writing, publishing, or selling patterns, please share your feedback in the comments or email me directly.  

I'm linking up with:
·      Oh Scrap! at Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework
What I Made Monday at Pretty Piney Quilts
·      Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts 
·      Main Crush Monday at Cooking Up Quilts
·      Monday Making at Love Laugh Quilt
·      Moving it Forward at Em’s Scrap Bag:
·      BOMs Away at Katie Mae Quilts: 
·      Colour and Inspiration Tuesday at
·       To-Do Tuesday at Stitch ALL the Things:


Gretchen Weaver said...

BEAUTIFUL! I love the quilt! It's basically up to you if you want to write up the pattern. I actually have a pattern similar to yours but different. My daughter has already put claim to that quilt even though I haven't even pulled fabrics for it!

Writing a pattern is a lot of work. If you're willing to put the work into it, write it up. You're a detailed person so I'm sure it would be user friendly.

Ramona said...

What a beautiful tradition your church has for the graduates and their families. That's quite a group of seniors! I know nothing about writing and publishing quilt patterns, but I sure would buy one from you! Enjoy your week, Rebecca Grace.

Frédérique - Quilting Patchwork Appliqué said...

Congratulations! To all of you ;)) Your quilt is stunning, and it would be great to have a pattern ;)

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

congratulations on getting your son through the first 18 years of his life and out of high school - I can see this ceremony meant a lot to you and your family and it looks like a very significant event in your life. your family looks wonderful.
As far as the pattern goes if you spent much time in development I sure as heck would charge for it. That would be a lot of time devoted to creating the pattern for others to use.

Lakegaldonna said...

Ok. I got my eyes filled up with happy tears just reading your post. Congrats on your son graduating! Also your quilt is more than wonderful, it's amazing.
I also think you are capable of pattern writing if you choose to take that bull by the horns. I have no experience with that so I can't advise.

Home Sewn By Us said...

Good morning Rebecca! The Quillow ceremony just brought a tear to my eyes. What a lovely blessing to wrap a new graduate in. Your quilt turned out lovely, but that pray is just the best. {{Hugs}} Congrats to the graduate - I wish him all the best. ~smile~ Roseanne

Chris said...

What an amazing church service!

Robby said...

What a terrific tradition in your church, and so good to see so many different schools represented there. Two thoughts on the quilt pattern idea. I never state I'd like a pattern unless I truly would, for the exact reason you're asking this question. And while this is a stunning quilt, I don't know that I would expect to make one myself. My other consideration would be if you want this to be a one-of-a-kind quilt for your child. That's a very personal thing that varies from person to person. Just my $0.02

Tracie @ Riceford Streams said...

I cried while reading the blessings. What a beautiful service.

Jenny K. Lyon said...

Write the pattern! It is unique and lovely. You have solved all the issues, making it doable for someone with just a little experience and that is valuable. What a wonderful and touching ceremony. Those grads are lucky to get such love. What a vibrant church to have that many church-attending high schoolers. You are sending His Love with them to college!

The Joyful Quilter said...

I think people would eat this pattern up with a spoon!! That being said, creating a pattern is a BIG job. You may or may not want to do it. If you choose to, I think it could be a lucrative venture. Don't do it just because people asked!! Only take on the table if your would like the challenge of writing up the pattern.

chrisknits said...

They are not just being nice, they would love to buy this pattern!!! Great job on everything and congrats to Lars.

momto1 said...

Congratulations on all points. You really created wonderful memories. I wish more groups shared the quillow tradition.

Dione Gardner-Stephen said...

Congratulations on a wonderful quilt, meeting your deadline and having a summer without it hanging over your head. What a lovely service, I hope you will all treasure those wonderful memories for many years, especially every time you see the quilt.

Beth @ Cooking Up Quilts said...

I love that your church does this, and that there were so many graduates participating. It looks like everyone had a wonderful time. The blessings are beautiful, and it's so cool that the graduate blesses his/her family in return.

Pattern writing - yes, it's a lot of work and as you say, there's a lot going on in this quilt so a lot of work for you. I think it would be a seller. But you never know - I've got a couple patterns that received good feedback but hasn't sold very well at all. If you have relationships with your local quilt shops that's a great place to sell multiple copies. My LQS is my biggest customer. Of course, they're buying at a wholesale cost so I'm not making as much profit as I would selling at a retail price. But they purchase so many copies - I would need a LOT of full price customers in order to make as much $$ as I make from the shop, even buying at wholesale. That being said, it is SO humbling when someone spends their hard earned money on something I've written and then seeing their version. If you want to write the pattern, I say go for it! :)

Kathleen said...

Came here from the Clever Chameleon - I love this quilt and the ceremony at the church - how special. Congratulations to you and your son and all those blessed by this ministry.

Christine Slaughter said...

The quilt is absolutely amazing! The Quillow service is so beautiful; thank you so much for sharing that with us!

I think when quilters say they would like the pattern, they mean it! At least for me, if I loved how a quilt looked I would express that, but not ask for a pattern. If I loved the quilt AND wanted to make one too, I would definitely ask if a pattern would be forthcoming. I would take people at their word in this case! I don't think there would be any need to add extra "fluff" to a compliment by asking for a pattern if it weren't true. I wish I had advice to offer with the pattern writing part, but I have zero experience there. I'm so sorry!

I know Susan of Quiltfabrication will link up with the To-Do Tuesday blog occasionally and she writes patterns. I'm not sure if she may be a resource to help with advice for pattern writing?

loraine everard said...

Rebecca, that quilt is a work of art! What a wonderful, proud day that must have been for you! With your attention to detail, skill and determination, I am sure you could write the pattern! I have never written a pattern, but several times, have written instruction for blocks for friends, and that took ages! But what a thrill it would be to see your work in print! Thank you for sharing your lovely family with us, I so enjoy your posts!xx

Becca // Pretty Piney Quilts said...

What a beautiful tradition! I loved reading your account.

As far as writing patterns goes, Cheryl of Meadow Mist Designs ran a fantastic series several years ago. Read it through; it's a great place to start.

Thanks for linking up to What I Made Monday!

Lisa in Port Hope said...

Such a beautiful tradition to have the graduates sent off by their church family. Congratulations and best wishes to Lars for a great first year.

Susie H said...

What a beautiful idea that your church has come up with. I wasn't even there and I had tears! Lars will enjoy that quilt over the next four years and beyond! Appalachian State is such a gorgeous campus.

Chris said...

Just want to add my congratulations to all the rest. Your quilt is amazing and such a special, special gift for Lars. Quillows are fun, but this is truly a work of art and love. And congratulations to Lars! Such an exciting time of life for him. Thanks for sharing all the wonderful pictures with us.

Kate said...

What a great celebration of that major milestone. Congrads to the new graduate and to you, cause you had a big hand there too. Lar's quilt is spectacular! He'll be happy to have a piece of home when he's off at college. My college girl says that her graduation quilt is like hugs from home when things get rough.

Jocelyn is Canadian Needle Nana said...

Well, I'm late reading this...but so happy I did. What a great post detailing a wonderful event. The quilt for Lars is beautiful, the ceremony sounds so beautiful and how lucky are those young people to know they are surrounded by so much love, especially as they step out of the family photos and into life. What a wonderful idea!