I think I started reading Laura’s blog when my now-almost-kindergartners were still babies and her just-about-to-turn-six-year-olds were toddlers. I loved the way she wrote about life with twins, I loved that I could store away her advice and words of caution for my own selfish use, a year or so later. We struck up that sort of internet blog-friendship, as you do in this day and age.
I first met her on a whim in Washington DC, when we were both in town for the Obama inauguration. (Her experience of the event was much smoother than my own, alas…) Last summer, she came to Boston with some other friends for a girls’ weekend, and was nice enough to take our family photos. And then, back in February, I got to spend a spectacular weekend at her house with six other amazing women. It was the most fun I’ve ever had doing almost nothing.
Anyways, after spending a few days at her (gorgeous) house, I knew I simply had to make her a quilt as a way to say thank you for being such a great host and friend. The colors were inspired by the gorgeous shades of blue she has in her house, with plenty of neutrals. It makes for a really calm, beautiful color palate. The blocks are simple enough, of course – a 4″ square with a 2″ border, making each block 8″. But hey, it doesn’t have to be a fancy, complicated quilt block to turn into a great quilt, right? The quilt ended up measuring around 64 x 80″ – a nice, big lap quilt that might even work for her super-tall husband.
I’m so happy with the back. I had three neutral solids I wanted to use: Kona Stone, Medium Gray, and either Bone or Snow for the white (dang if I can remember). As always, I wanted to include some of the leftover prints from the front, and the rest just kind of came together as I expanded it to be big enough. I love the way it turned out, especially the big pieces of that sandy-colored Stone, and the strip of Amy Butler between the white and the gray.
It took me three tries to decide how to quilt it. My first attempt at free-motion just jammed up my machine (time for service, I suspect), so those stitches were ripped out. Following a suggestion for a big zig-zag seemed cool, but rapidly became clear that it would be way too much stopping and starting and cramming the quilt through my machine, so those were ripped out, too. Finally, I just started going diagonal through the blocks. And then, instead of going back for the other diagonal, I did vertical lines on either side of the seam between each block. The end result is pretty minimal quilting, and a subtle diamond-shaped effect on the back. Kinda cool, I thought.
I bound it in, what else, Full Moon dots from Amy Butler’s Lotus collection. Yes. I know. I have a problem. I LOVE these dots for bindings. I may have used them once or twice before. (Like here, and here, and here, and OH YEAH, here too.) But hey, this used up the last big piece in my stash! At least, in the slate/blue colorway… it’s possible there’s still a lot of pink and green in there. Whatever. Don’t hate.
Anyways. I named it Ocean View because I know Laura’s happy place is the beach, and these colors felt so calm and beach-y to me. I’m so excited that it has arrived and I don’t have to keep it a secret anymore, and that it has even been put to use on the first day at its new home.
P.S. Big thanks to our friend Maria for being my co-conspirator, so willing to text ideas back and forth as this surprise quilt came together.