Saturday, April 28, 2012


My friend, Lucy, just had a birthday.   A couple of weeks ago I received an invitation in the mail to come to Lucy's SHHH Surprise Birthday Party.  It meant I had about 3 weeks to come up with a gift for her.

I haven't known Lucy a long time; however, when I met her it felt like we had been friends from way back.  She has the sweetest temperament and is quite an independent, charismatic lady.  My kind of friend!  She is very creative and talented.  She has always used needle and thread to make things.  She is an avid reader and we have shared many discussions about books we like.  I liked her immediately!

She invited me to her home to have cocoa and cookies at Christmastime.  I loved her little cottage.  It is warm and cozy and comfortable.  Sitting right in the middle of the front room is a gorgeous Baby Grand Piano.  Did I mention that Lucy is an accomplished musician?

After the invitation arrived I pondered over just the right gift. After all, this is a momentous birthday.  I thought of a book; I thought of gift cards for dining out; and then it hit me!  Lucy would enjoy one of my quilts.

I knew I wanted it to be subtle and classic in color and style.  So on Saturday morning I awoke at 5am.  About 5:30am I headed to the Studio and stayed there all day.  I took a couple of breaks, but I went right back to making Lucy's quilt.

These are the fabrics I pulled from my stash.  They are in the warm neutral palette with some patterns here and there.  It seemed to say "serenity" to me.

At the same time, there was movement and fluidity in the designs that created some energy.

I wanted a very simple pattern that would not have any spots in it that would get greater focus than the overall quilt.  So I cut some rectangles and started piecing.

Sometimes it is a challenge to keep the pattern simple and let the overall personality of the fabrics carry the show.

I started piecing the thin rectangles to the wide rectangles in a random manner.  I simply reached for a pair and sewed.  The only prerequisite was that no two pairs be identical.

I just kept sewing until eventually I had 132 blocks made.

It is now ready to go on the design wall and I can start to put it together in rows for assembly.

While it is on the design wall I am able to tweak the patterns that are forming.  If too many of the same thing are too close, now is the time to move them.
I juggled the blocks around for quite a while until I was satisfied with the placement.
Then I took it back to the machine and assembled it into a quilt top.

 There are so many seams in this pattern that I would have a difficult time knowing when to press left and when to press right in order to get the adjoining seams to "nest".  I chose to press all seams open.  It makes for easier assembly.

Next I loaded it onto my quilting machine.  I chose a meander stitch with a variegated thread.

The meander with the variegated thread was subtle enough to not overwhelm the simplistic beauty of the blocks in the quilt.

Of course, it must pass the test of the Resident Quilt Tester before it is declared complete.

The final touch to this quilt is the label.  I incorporated the label into the backing of the quilt and then quilted over it.

Detail of the label.
When Lucy arrived at the restaurant where we were all waiting to celebrate her birthday, she was indeed surprised.
There was a real flurry of activity as Lucy started opening her gifts.
She had a lot of help from her great-nieces who were taking turns opening the packages and opening the cards.
In the midst of all of that, my gift to Lucy was getting opened.  My pictures are blurry because no one was being still long enough for me to get a good shot.
That is Molly helping hold the quilt for Aunt Lucy and Lucy's son, Bill, in the background.  Bill was our host and he owns The Sweet Shoppe in Charleston, South Carolina.  Of course, he provided the birthday cakes:  Strawberry and Lemon Blueberry.  They were out of this world delicious.  I know I did not get the exact name of these two delicacies.  Sorry, Bill,  I forgot to ask you to give me their authentic bakery names.
Molly is reading my "birthday card", a.k.a.  the label that is on the back of the quilt.
Here is Lucy thanking me for making her a "napping" quilt.  I think she really liked it!
I was so happy to make it for her.  She is one very precious, sweet lady!
Happy, Happy Birthday, Lucy!
Wishing you many, many more!!!



  1. What a beautiful quilt for a lucky Lucy and such a joyous telling of her special day. Well done Sandi!

  2. The quilt you made for me is a treasure, Sandi. How beautifully designed it is and skillfully put together which is no surprise. I can attest to the fact that your napping quilt is aptly named!

    My family and friends are in awe of your work.


    1. I am so happy you like it, Lucy. John and I really enjoyed getting to know your family and celebrating your birthday. Bill is a jewel! Thanks again for counting me as your friend.