Indiana . . .
You're like a warm hug.
The Hoosier state. It's where I went to college and dedicated my twenties to making a home. Though I'm a Tennessean now (who grew up in Ohio), Indiana is the place I met some of my dearest friends. A place where questions were asked, and others got answered.
It's the place my husband and I met and got married. Where we bought our first house. On moving day two years ago, we said goodbye to that house, crying heavy tears for all the memories we left there.
And that is why making this quilt was good therapy for me.
Moving from Indiana to Nashville was a big deal. We really love it here, but we've never quite felt at home. Life is full of general goodness... good people, good music, and even more good places to eat.
And though it's unfair to compare, we still miss Indiana for all the sweet times there. We ate at the same chain restaurants all the time. There was nothing to do on the weekends. The weather was so bitter cold. But it's funny... I don't remember any of those things too much.
I mostly just remember laughing about all of those little things with friends. And the way we felt after arriving at our exit after a long road trip. "We're home!"
I'll make sure my son knows a little bit about Indiana life. The story of how his parents met, and the church there, and our community of friends. About the late nights at Deluxe Donuts, and that little 4-screen movie theater that let us in for free. How we'd always see a familiar face at Hacienda. That one, epic Black Friday Target shopping trip. Oh, and the Jo-Ann Fabrics that never had a line!
Because while my son is clearly from Tennessee, his roots are a bit deeper. He's got a few grandparents in the Midwest who love him deeply, and parents who spent over a decade digging the Indiana soil. (Figuratively, of course... I'm no gardener.)
In the spirit of being thankful and content for the current season of life, I'm looking forward to making a Tennessee version of this quilt. In it will be the scrappy bits of our new life in the south, and some shared stories around a different table. In the midst of appreciating our time in Indiana, I'm enjoying the process of making a home and some new memories here in Nashville.
Lots of memories with this guy, who turned 18 months old today!
Scrappy Bits AppliqueThis style of quilting was inspired by Shannon Brinkley's awesome book, Scrappy Bits Applique (Stash Books). She has an amazing "Around the World" map quilt that I'm dying to make, but I decided to start with just one state. Get her book for lots and lots of tips on achieving this style. It would have taken me months to figure this out on my own, but she makes it so easy. I started this quilt on Monday night and finished it Tuesday afternoon!
I found a printable state map, and enlarged it 380% to make my template. I used Pellon Lite EZ-Steam II for the fusible applique and placed the fabric scraps randomly within the state. I wanted them to look like counties, but didn't want it to be exact. Then, I quilted around each fabric square and added some free-motion rectangles in the background.
To form a border around the state, I cut bias tape 1/2" wide and pressed it in half to make it 1/4" wide. I stretched this around the curves of the state and stitched near the inside raw edge with a straight stitch. Then I covered my tracks and satin stitched over that to make a nice, smooth edge. This was a little more time consuming than just a satin stitch alone, but I knew that I wanted the border to stand out.
MQG Fabric ChallengeThis quilt is part of the Modern Quilt Guild's Riley Blake fabric challenge. We were provided a fat eighth bundle of six "The Cottage Garden" prints by Amanda Herring. The challenge was to try something new (did it!) and only use Riley Blake fabrics.
Not usually a rule breaker, I was interested in using what I had from my stash, so I swapped in some Robert Kaufman Essex linen for the background fabric. Since this was destined for the wall, I also used no batting, but used some Shannon Cuddle fabric for the back.
Now, hanging in our living room. Next up... Tennessee!