(Warning! This is a REALLY long post! There are tons of pictures - and TWO quilts!)
A couple months ago, I received a very large box of Blake's military uniforms. He had served in the Army for eight years and his uniforms had four different types of camouflage.
I cut the uniforms into squares and rectangles in multiples of 4: 4", 8", 12", or 16" sides. Then I used the computer to digitally arrange what I had cut out and see what additional pieces I needed to cut to fill in any spaces.
The first cut into the uniforms turned out to be mentally harder than I expected. I could just feel the stories behind every cut. The people, the deployments, the sacrifice.
I began sewing the pieces together on a Sunday.
I broke the diagram down into large "quadrants" that could be sewn together without partial seams. However, once the eight or so larger pieces were together, partial seams became the only way to sew the top together.
I finished the top on Tuesday. Two days after I started sewing.
After sewing the main part of the top together, I had to travel out of state for a funeral. The boys and I stayed at my parents' house. The rest of the quilt was finished on my mom's sewing machine.
I chose to free motion a geometric design of squares/rectangles. This design allowed for me to quilt around the pockets, patches, and buttons.
I finished the quilt Saturday morning with a personalized label. Just 13 days after I started sewing the top.
The quilt is slightly heavier than a quilt made with regular fabric. Finished, it weighed 7.2 pounds.
But wait, there's more! After starting the quilt, I had the idea to make Blake a Quilt of Valor. The mission of the Quilts of Valor Foundation is to cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor. The quilts are registered with the QOV Foundation and awarded to U.S. veterans to honor their service. Blake is a perfect candidate, and I love a good surprise!
I actually purchased the fabric before having a design in mind! While riding in the car, I found the tiniest picture in a magazine ad for a red, white, and blue quilt that I loved! (The pattern appeared in the 2015 "Quilts for Every Occasion" special issue by All People Quilt and Better Homes & Gardens.) There are specific requirements that the quilts must meet in order to qualify as a Quilt of Valor. Using the picture as a reference, the QOV guidelines, and some online block patterns, I did some quilty math and came up with a game plan.
I began cutting the fabric on a Sunday (one week after starting the uniform quilt!). Now I was sewing two quilts simultaneously!
Even though my mom and I have sewing machines that are only one model apart, I found it quite challenging to use an unfamiliar machine.
Three days later - the quilt top was done!
This is the only picture I have of the quilt back. It had to be taken quick - toddlers love to crawl on anything laying on the floor!
I chose a pantograph from Urban Elementz called "From the Heart." (Available here.) It is the words honor, courage, bravery, and valor combined with stars.
I finished quilting it on Friday (just five days after cutting the first pieces!) and bound it the same day.
I buried the loose threads and attached a personalized label Saturday morning - the same day as delivery! From start to finish, the quilt took six days.
Making a Quilt of Valor was actually on my quilty bucket list! This was my first one, but I see more in my future.
The quilt measured 70" x 88". It just covers the top of a queen mattress, but is better suited as a large throw quilt.
I submitted the information to the Quilt of Valor Foundation so it is registered to Blake for his service.
I love this quilt. I don't usually make the same quilt twice, but I plan to make this one again! The colors, the pattern, the quilting - it all came together beautifully.
Two large quilts from start to finish in two weeks! I hope they bring much joy and get years of use by Blake's family!
Blake, thank you for service!
Blake, thank you for service!