If you know me,
you know that I can get quite competitive when it comes to quilting
…and art in general.
I am fully aware of this attribute
and I am really trying harder to not be that way.
(Of course competition has it’s place
and I am actually working on a couple competition quilts,
but it shouldn’t be the main event in my career.)
Every so often I am blessed with opportunities
that remind me why I fell in love with quilting
and what really makes it truly important
not only in my own life
but in the lives of MOST quilter’s across the planet.
As artists, we are constantly attempting
to express ourselves through visual languages.
And this happens in soooo many different ways.
I love that.
For me as an artist,
my most fulfilling and beautiful pieces of art
are ones that have deep conceptual meanings within them.
While I like to create art that is aesthetically beautiful,
I LOVE to create art that is conceptually beautiful and meaningful.
I have a dear childhood friend named Kaelyn.
We go way back.
WE EVEN HAVE THE SAME MIDDLE NAME!!! <3
Look how little we look!
This was taken in high school but we actually
became friends around the age of 12.
We both grew up,
didn’t get to see each other as often
but knew we would always be friends.
After High School,
She and her boyfriend both served Missions
for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Then they came home and got married!
Unfortunately, less than a year after their wedding,
Nainoa was diagnosed with cancer.
Things got tough, very quickly
but they never lost their love and devotion for each other.
When I heard the sad news,
I wrote Kaelyn a note
(even though there is really nothing you can say)
But I just let her know that I was thinking about her
and that we were there for them if there was anything we could do for them.
After many months of treatment,
Nainoa was put on hospice.
Kaelyn called me and asked me a favor.
“Will you make a quilt for me and Nai?”
And I said,
“YES! ABSOLUTELY YES! That is one of the few things
that I can actually do for you!”
She mentioned that she had some T-shirts and clothes of Nainoa’s
that we could make into a quilt.
But if anyone has ever made a T-Shirt quilt,
you will know that it is much more intense than a simple weekend project.
We came up with the idea to do something
a little more modern, but also a lot more meaningful.
I said to her,
“Email a list of everything you can think of that the two of you love.
Meaningful words and phrases…
and I will design a quilt based on those things.”
This was on a Friday.
By Saturday morning I had gotten the email from her.
By Sunday evening the design was finished.
The fabric was ordered from a wonderful,
local fabric printing company here in Utah
called Modern Yardage.
The fabric was on my doorstep by Tuesday Afternoon.
The fabric was quilted and bound by the following Friday!
I know I have said this before,
but I love sooooo much how technology
has allowed me to express myself in the best ways I know how!
Here is a little more detail on the process…
Here is the actual design that we had printed onto the fabric
(I also added a nice white border to give the words some breathing room):
This design was created completely digitally
using an app on my iPad Pro
called Procreate, and I of course couldn’t have done
lettering this good without my trusty Apple Pencil.
One thing I LOVE about this app is that it records what you do
and then you can export a time-lapse video to show the process.
Here is the process video for the design:
Once the fabric was printed,
I loaded it onto my longarm quilting frame
and went to town with the quilting.
The biggest goal was to make sure that the lettering was the main focus of the quilt.
So, I simply used monofilament thread that would just add texture
and not detract from the lettering itself.
If I had used white thread,
I think it might have washed out the black lettering.
But if I used black thread,
it would clutter up the nice white background.
So using monofilament was the perfect choice.
Kaelyn asked for the quilt to be light,
because Nai would get too hot when he slept.
So we just used one layer of Warm & Natural Batting
and then some nice, black satin for the backing.
Super soft, but not too warm.
I did opt to use white thread in the bobbin for a couple reasons:
A) I didn’t want to risk even the smallest tension snafoo
and have any black dots of thread show up on the front of the quilt
(which is definitely a risk when working with a thinner quilt)
B) I still wanted them to be able to see the quilting designs.
Finally, I bound it with solid black to keep things classy.
Andrew and I were able to have a fun little double date with them
and give them this quilt.
They loved it!
We watched a movie together while they snuggled in their newly made quilt.
I had all kinds of warm fuzzies going on inside a me!
It was such a tender mercy and an honor to be the one
to make something that would be so meaningful to these lovers.
a few months later Nainao returned home to his Heavenly Father.
Kaelyn decided that she wanted to display the quilt at his viewing, next to his casket.
THIS IS WHY WE MAKE QUILTS!
We make quilts to warm the hearts of others
(and sometimes their toes while we’re at it.)
This craft is our love language.
Quilting can best be described as a “labor of love”.
We do it to remind our people that they are loved,
even if we are not physically close.
We do it because God has blessed us with this amazing talent
of turning fibers into tangible actions of love and adoration.
I am honored to be a quilter.
If you want to see more custom printed quilt tops
check out this page.
Be great to each other.