I think someone puts a reverse magnet in my sewing room every December. Since I started this hobby o’ mine almost three years ago, I do not know that I have ever sat down at my machine this time of year. I am ok with that because I generally do not give handmade gifts for Christmas, so there is no pressure to finish projects.
My idle machine does not mean that my mind has been idle. I am back to dreaming of quilts to make and projects to work on.
There is one long term project that I am itching to start… biography quilts for my girls.
These quilts will tell the story of each of my girls, in a subtle way. To someone not in the know, the quilt will look like any other sampler quilt. But, there will be meaning behind every design and pattern in it.
I made up the name term Biography Quilt. There may already be a name for this type of quilt. I am sure someone has done something like this before.
Each girl will receive her quilt after graduating from high school. I envision each taking their quilt with them to college and then napping under it and cuddling with it.
Each year of their lives will be documented with a quilt block. I say “each year,” but really it is each stage of their lives. Because of the timing of my girls’ birthdays, there is not a clean way to jump from toddlerhood to preschool, so the toddlerhood block spans about 1½ years for my girls (12 months until ~2½). Once my girls reach school age, I am documenting their lives by grade instead of by year. There will be 18 blocks spanning birth unitl 12th grade.
Since 18 blocks do not make an even quilt layout, I am adding two additional blocks. One will represent their past (family history?) and the other will represent their future (college, plans, aspirations). I am still deciding how to handle these two extra blocks. I may change how I do them later if I think of a better solution. The blocks are 12″ finished. After adding in the sashing and border, the quilts should finish around 62″ x 76″.
Even though these quilts will not be finished for another 13 – 17 years, I am already planning the binding and backing (it is not unusual for me to plan my backing and binding at the beginning). For the backing I need four yards and for the binding need about a half yard. I am eyeing some of the Flea Market Fancy re-prints for all three quilts’ backing and binding. The prints and colors of FMF are timeless so for me they are a great way to go.
At this point, I have not made a single block. I am ready to start making blocks for these quilts; to get current with where each of my girls are in their lives. The blocks and most fabrics are planned out, I just need to get to sewing!
If you want to see what I have planned so far, you can check out the one working link below.
- Mallory’s Biography Quilt plan
- Chelsea’s Biography Quilt plan (need to create the page/graphics)
- Tessa’s Biography Quilt plan (need to create the page/graphics)
P.S. I will be documenting the quilts and the blocks details for the girls so that they understand what everything means.
This is my plan… things may change once I try to execute.
[BACKGROUND: I am in the process of making "Biography Books" (i.e. scrapbooks) for the girls. The books are divided into the same structure as the quilt blocks (0-1, toddler, preschool 2, preschool 3, etc.).]
Once I complete a quilt block, I will take picture of it and then handwrite a description of the quilt block. I will explain the block name and why all of the elements in the block relate to my daughter from that particular year.
(For example, for the preschool 3 quilt block to the right, the Spider Web block was chosen because at that point my oldest’s favorite show was Spider-man (not sure how that got started). For her 4th birthday party, we did an art party with a rainbow theme. And then the fabrics in each of the colors has meaning behind it, like, the purple fabric has crowns on it and she was a purple princess for Halloween that year.)
The picture of the block will be printed as a 5″x5″ photo and the description will be written on a piece of 5″x 5½” piece of card stock. Those two elements will be attached to a 6″ x 12″ piece of kraft paper cardstock which will be inserted into a 6″ x 12″ page protector and added to the appropriate year in the Biography Book.
As I make blocks and write the descriptions, I will update this page to show how it looks in real life since my mock-up may not be very clear.