Monday, October 10, 2016

I Heart You

It was about this time in my last pregnancy that I took it into my head to make baby-to-be a heart quilt. I remember smiling over the post title, “I Heart You” which was doubly true – hearts for her and for you, dear reader, as we neared Valentine's Day, 2015. So much has happened since then, so much changed, but this is still true: I love.

I Heart You NICU quilt series

I love, I love, I love, I love... Twenty-five applique hearts recycled, love notes for babies like Eleni, who lack the storybook beginning that we all wish birth-day would be.

I Heart You NICU quilt series

Over the past week, I basted, quilted and bound seven little quilt tops. My great big bolt of Warm & Natural batting was put to efficient use. Batting by the bolt surely reduces waste, whether quilts are large or small! Luckily I could baste these cuties on my table top rather than crawling around on hands and knees. It's the little things.

I did run out of basting spray (I buy batches of 4, which last me about 2 years) mid-way through basting the series. While waiting on my new shipment, I opted to pin baste one quilt in a 6” grid. Apparently that was not at all enough! Minimal straight line quilting ended up pulling the patchwork design out of whack. So frustrating! I can't say enough about basting spray. So much easier. So much faster. So very, very worth the extra cost, in my opinion.

I Heart You NICU quilt series

Quilting seven quilts could have been a chore, but I played with the quilting on some and focused on pushing through on others, accepting my mood either way. I like the U-shaped rows I quilted on this log cabin design. It was interesting to vary the size of the U's based on the width of the fabric strips.

I Heart You NICU quilt series

I'm also pleased with this loopy heart quilting, an all-over design I quilted on three of the quilts in this series. At first I thought I'd quilt all my loops as hearts, but soon realized that mixing in the occasional loop-de-heart was more to my taste. Sometimes a sprinkle is sweeter.

I Heart You NICU quilt series

Bound, folded and stacked, it seems I managed to use a good amount of pink after all.  Well, look at that!  Now my pink fabric stack has been tamed to reasonable dimensions. Mmmm... there's nothing like a stack of quilts. It's like the lure of a fabric cabinet with all the colors, patterns and mix-n-match combinations.... only better, because it's fabric well used.
Yesterday we had some friends over to play in the beautiful autumn weather.  I roped the kids into helping me photograph my NICU series before the quilts are donated.

I Heart You NICU quilt series

I Heart You NICU quilt series

I Heart You NICU quilt series

And so our hearts are full, healthy and healing.... one stitch, one day at at time.

58 comments:

  1. I love the way you positively remember Eleni. She is such a lucky baby to have known your love!

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  2. I love these quilts! Especially the super bright log cabin style ones. I also appreciate how you did some close-up shots of the quilting. That's one of my biggest challenges, how to quilt this quilt? I love the U shaped quilting as well as the sprinkling of hearts. It's nice to have inspiration, so often I just straigt-line quilt, which I love, but which gets a little stale. -Ruth

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  3. The quilts are absolutely beautiful and so filled with love.
    I have a serious concern...is it safe for pregnant moms to use basting spray? I don't have a can to read.

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    1. It's always wise to have good ventilation when using basting spray. I open windows and doors to create a cross-breeze in my house. I've used a few different brands. Some are very smelly, which sets off alarms for me. The brand I use is scentless, which generally indicates lower toxicity. Those are my thoughts =)

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  4. Beautiful quilts coming from a beautiful person. I confess I don't trust basting spray but I don't have an open area to use it. I use Elmer's School Glue instead and it works really well.

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  5. I really love the photos of the children holding up all the quilts! You must have magical powers as there's no way I would have been able to coordinate so many little quilt holders at once! The term "its like herding cats" comes to mind :)

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    1. My approach is to take the picture as soon as they get in position. The best pictures are often in the first 30 seconds before they get distracted by each other! haha =)

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  6. Those quilts are magical. May they keep the babies from dragons and fill them with dreams.

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  7. That picture of the children holding the quilts would be a lovely picture for your sewing room, it's so sweet!

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  8. This is absolutely wonderful...a tribute....a blessing....a gift....so well done !!! ๐Ÿ˜Š

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  9. This is absolutely wonderful...a tribute....a blessing....a gift....so well done !!! ๐Ÿ˜Š

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  10. They are lovely, Rachel, and a perfect tribute in memory of Eleni! You will touch so many lives with your beautiful hearts....

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  11. I love all of the quilts. this is wonderful that you had all of your eager assistants to hold the beautiful creations you made. I adore all of them, they each have a special look and a shared link to Eleni.
    I think you should get started on the baby clothes now!!!

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    1. Thanks, Rosemary! Those kids were terrific sports to help me with the shoot. I started snapping photos just as soon as they got out there, so it all happened pretty fast =) I don't plan to make baby clothes this time, but I have finally gone through my saved clothes and organized the smallest ones into a dresser drawer. We're getting closer!

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  12. I hope you are not offended by this question, but I just have to ask how you are able to home school, manage a household with two children while you're pregnant, write a blog regularly, and make seven quilts in a week. To me, this would be an interesting topic for you to address. I admire your ability to do it, but am curious how you manage your time and resources.

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    1. Well, I didn't make 7 quilts in a week =). In the last week I basted/quilted/bound them. I thought it might take longer than that, but they were each so small. I do put more hours into my sewing/blogging than many people do, just because it is my job. I spend the hours of a part time job doing these things because this is an income stream that we depend upon. As to the rest - my kids are very independent and we have a network of friends and family who help with carpooling, etc. Bottom line - I have help! Couldn't do it alone.

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  13. Your helpers are precious. I can only imagine what you were saying to coax them into holding the quilts up in unison. I'm going to remember that loop-de-heart pattern, how cute!

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  14. I love this post. I also love the photo shoot with all of your helpers. And I Heart You for your beauty and spirit and your can-do attitude throughout all you do!

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  15. Your post brought tears to my eyes. As always you are an inspiration.

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  16. I've loved following as you made this series of quilts, and absolutely love the pictures of them all in a field with the kids!

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  17. You touched my heart. Just wonderful!
    Eileen

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  18. So beautiful Rachel. I make quilts here in the UK on behalf of Project Linus and have recently taken some in to our local NICU. I'm by no means an experienced quilter but I find such satisfaction in making the quilts and am learning all the time. I love the hearts in your quilts and am thinking of ways I can do that in my next batch. Love to you and your family. You are an inspiration to me in more ways than one.

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  19. Beautiful... beautiful quilts and a beautiful idea

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  20. They all look great together! Super photo shoot!

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    1. Yes, thanks to some super friends of ours. Great kids!

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  21. Loved the photo shoot and all the special quilts. NICU has a special place in my heart! You made such beauties to gift!

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  22. As always Rachel, you are an inspiration to me through your art and your heart. Bless you.

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  23. I am smiling from the inside and outside at the very same time. What love!

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  24. The photos of kids and the quilts says it all; it makes my heart happy to see so much love. Bravo!

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    1. Oh, it does say it all, doesn't it? I love how happy they look. They are very sweet kids.

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  25. Think and wonder about you often, Rachel. Your post today was a lovely gift. Be well. xoxo

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  26. The photo shoot with the kids is adorable! So much love and energy in those shots. These quilted extensions of your love for Eleni are going to be wonderful for the babies who'll enjoy them : )

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  27. How wonderful Rachel!!! Those last pictures really rock!!

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  28. Love all your heart quilts! Well done:-)

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  29. What a lovely tribute. The hearts will spread lots of love. And it's so fun to see a big group of kids wrapped up in those beautiful quilts.

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  30. What an amazing way of sharing your love. They are all beautiful.

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  31. What an inspiring tribute. Thank you for sharing.

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  32. Rachel,
    Your Eleni, your story, is heartbreaking and beautiful. The best comfort that heals, from my experience with my own loss, comes from God. So I pray for that for you and your family. These quilts are a beautiful tribute to your sweet Eleni.

    On a lighter note...I've read about your love of basting spray but I've always wondered about overspray. Do find it messy? Does the spray get all over the floor? Or do you put something down first? Thank you!

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    1. Thanks, Alanna. With basting spray I do always get some overspray on the floor around the quilt (or on the table, as the case may be). The overspray cleans up easily with water. I don't actually bother cleaning it up when it's on the floor, as it will end up getting picked up by my feet/socks and disappearing that way. So, that's my lazy confession! I don't put anything down first because that would be another layer to secure to the floor. It's nice to tape the backing directly to my wood floors.

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  33. I've missed you! Unsubscribed in July because thought new home would be different internet provider. I'm ba-a-a-a-aaaack! You've touched SEW many people with Eleni's story--I shared some of your posts with my dtr-n-law who suffered a miscarriage. Congrats on the sweet one we'll meet soon! Thanks sew much for all you do!

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  34. You continue to amaze me. Love your hearts and your heart.

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  35. very beautiful!! loved that picture of kids holding those quilts!

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  36. Such a beautiful and meaningful way to use the love you sewed into Eleni's hearts. Rachel, you should frame one of the photos with all the children holding the quilts. It's a wonderful way to have shown them off!

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  37. This is really lovely. I especially love the patchwork squares on the right and the log cabin on the left. I would imagine this has been quite a healing process for you. Hugs to you mama. Such a brave and selfless thing to do.

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  38. This is such a lovely post, Rachel. Those quilts are all beautiful and so very, very special. What a beautiful gift to sweet little ones and a beautiful way to honour Eleni. The kids holding the quilts makes for an adorable picture, and I agree with the others who said it's worth framing!

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  39. They are beautiful Rachel, and such sweet photos of smiling kiddos and sunshine too!

    Not much longer :) how are you feeling?

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