Thursday, November 10, 2016

Majestic Mountains Mini Quilt

I grew up here in Utah surrounded by beautiful mountains. I went to Olympus High, named not after the Greek Olympus, but after Mount Olympus on the Wasatch Front (okay, okay, so our mountain was named after the Greek one...). We had a great view of it from our front yard, and it's a central feature of the landscape of my childhood. No doubt this was due to my dad's love of the mountains. He loved the mountains. For him, it wasn't only that he appreciated the beauty of the mountains, but also that he felt God in the quiet of the mountains and appreciated the beauty of God's creations most while he was there.
This summer, my dad died. He had suffered for 9 long years from a neurological degenerative disorder and he finally died two weeks after having a mild stroke. It was heartbreaking, of course, and made even more difficult by the fact that I was pregnant with twins. I was a hormonal, emotional wreck. I was around 25 weeks when everything happened, and by that time, I was already struggling to get around. I yearned to mourn by retreating to the mountains, to honor his memory by hiking in his beloved mountains where I knew I would feel close to God and to him. But, my body wasn't in any shape to allow that. I was able to drive up the mountains a few times for picnics, but it was painful physically and just wasn't exactly what I had hoped for.


Around that time, Amy Ellis posted about her Majestic Mountains mini quilt and was in the process of developing the pattern. I had, for years, been searching and planning various ways to make a quilt to honor my dad and everything he gave me, and had never settled on what I wanted. I had wanted to make it before his death, but couldn't settle on a design. When I saw Amy's design, I knew it was what I wanted. It was modern enough to hang in my living space. It looked enough like mountains without being too pictorial. It was perfect. I ordered the pattern as soon as the sale went live and turned to my Kona color card to pick colors, hoping that sewing something in his memory would provide a way for me to properly grieve.
It was so much harder than I expected to pick colors from the color card, and I determined to cut up my card before I picked colors, which helped a lot. Maybe someday I'll get around to posting about that. I got my yardage ordered and set about sewing it. The pattern is paper pieced, and my only gripe with it is that she didn't specify any cutting instructions. I found this difficult to work with and ended up just cutting tremendously oversized pieces because of the sharp angles. I used my scraps to piece an improve backing. The top went together pretty quickly because there aren't very many pieces, and I loved it. But I couldn't figure out how to quilt it, and by that time, about 30 weeks, I wasn't even able to get to the store to pick thread. I was really in bad shape, and basically on bed rest (self-imposed). But, the whole process had really been therapeutic. I set it aside while I considered quilting, not really in a rush to decide because I didn't have any thread nor way to get any.

I delivered my babies the day before my birthday (yep, I got to spend my birthday in a hospital bed, hobbling around from my recent surgery), and my husband surprised me with an Aurifil color card! I'd never even sewn with Aurifil before, but I was pretty happy. It was a pretty thoughtful gift; he knew the only thing holding me up from quilting this mini was my inability to go buy thread.


A few weeks later, I had selected thread colors and finally settled on a quilting idea, and once it came, I got to quilting. It's funny that the actual sewing of this project was really so fast, but I spent months on the project due to my inability to make decisions. I decided to quilt the sky with horizontal wavy lines with swirls and loops to represent wind, I quilted pebbles on the rocky mountain side, and I quilted vertical lines (really long vertical zig zags) for the grass.



I bound it up and hope to get it hanging on my wall soon. I like to think that my dad would like it; in any case, I think he would appreciate the tribute. He was always a creative person and I think he'd appreciate that I used my creativity to create a mountain design in his honor. Truth is, I miss him terribly, even though he hadn't been himself for quite some time. He was a great man. And his death brought back all the grief we had experienced over the course of his illness.

Until we meet again, Dad. All my love.

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