The Fisherman’s Quilt
There he was, holding up the Fisherman’s Quilt that I’d made for him, grinning ear to ear. I thought how happy he looked and what a great husband he’s been. I wondered if he had any idea how much I’d thought of him… I thought of him when I imagined a special quilt for our 30th Anniversary. I thought of him as I selected really special fabrics that would evoke strong feelings for him of being outdoors and fishing, two of his favorite things. I thought of him when I cut those squares and when I laid it out and with each stitch. I thought of him as I chose the thread and all the times he’d been the one who had held our family together. I thought of him as I carefully took it off the Gammill after it had been quilted and folded it up to give to him later. That’s what quilting does. It makes us think of the person we’re creating the quilt for while we’re creating it. And all those thoughts make us feel closer to them.
Last year for our 30th Anniversary, we went for an Alaskan cruise – which was a life-long dream of my husband Herb. While we were there, I had to track down the quilt stores, of course. I’d always heard that Alaska has great quilt stores, so I made it my mission to find them. Herb didn’t mind, because he was fishing. He did a shore fishing excursion in Juno and I walked around the downtown. The fabrics were authentic to the region with the animal prints and Eskimo symbols for animals.
While I’d been at a quilt retreat with some friends in Kansas last year, I found a pattern called Flower Stalls by Beyond the Reef. I imagined it as a special quilt with fabrics I found in Alaska.
Let me just say that I’m able to do what I love because Herb is so solid and steady (and covers our insurance!). In fact, if you’ve got a couple minutes, I’d like to tell you more about us.
Herb and I met at our church the summer after I graduated from High School in 1986. We were both going to be missionaries to children that summer through Child Evangelism Fellowship. When I first met him, we were sitting around a table and he was painfully shy and only spoke when he was asked to share his name. I, on the other hand, had just been to a concert and couldn’t stop talking about it.
We went to a ten day training around Morrison/Red Rocks where we learned how to teach children. He’d already been doing this for 3 or 4 years and was one of the teachers. We were going to be assigned to different quadrants in Denver after we were trained. A mutual friend introduced us and helped us get to know each other. In the evenings we would have worship time. I was asked to sing a solo. When Herb heard me sing to “Angels Watching Over Me” by Amy Grant, he said that was what did it! (Really, who could blame him?!)
On a dare from my friend Joliene, I wrote Herb a letter and invited him to go with me to see a Christian comedian. Of course, I had to dare her to do the same with her love interest. Unfortunately, the guy she wrote the letter to declined her offer, so it was the THREE of us on our first date. Ha! AWKWARD.
I was leaving to go to college in Oklahoma in September. Coming from a divorced family, I paid a lot of attention to the couples that I knew that seemed healthy, so I’d been looking for a Christian man who went to church and who valued their relationship with God. I did end up going, but right before I left, Herb took me to Black Eyed Pea and we had their Chicken Fried Steak and their giant tea. With sweaty palms and a quavering voice, he asked me if I’d go steady with him. He knew I might date other guys while I was at college, but he wanted to stake his claim!
I did date two other guys at college. Both of them were jerks. I couldn’t wait to see Herb again. We talked on the phone, we wrote letters… I still have all of them! I came home for Christmas and he was a bit aloof. I didn’t want to be the pursuer. I backed off. I saw him in the back row of church with his friend and I was frustrated that he wasn’t with me since I was only home for a few weeks. I was working at Cloth World to help out during the holidays. I was determined to be nonchalant with him until he decided to pursue me. Over pie at Red Lobster (I know what you’re thinking – who goes to Red Lobster for pie?! Just stay with me here…) he opened up to me and shared the intimate details of his childhood, family and struggles. After that night, I knew I would marry that man!
We married at First Baptist of Lakewood in 1988. We had a reception with cake and mints and punch. We started our family right away. Our son Andrew was born a month before our first anniversary. Our son Johnny was born 2-1/2 years later, in 1991. I stayed home and did daycare for years so I could be with my boys. During that time, I also started nursing school with Emily Griffith and got my Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) degree from there. I got my RN from Front Range Community College after Johnny started 1st grade. In 1993, I took a position as a CNA at North Suburban and then finished nursing school. I continued to work there as a nurse for almost 25 years! I quit 1-½ years ago to quilt full time.
For 15 years, Herb worked at Collins Dynamics for a small assembly company. After 9/11, the economy changed and he lost his job, along with all the other employees there when they moved the company. Now he delivers mail with the USPS.
We’ve lived in Denver, Aurora, Lakewood, and Thornton. My going to nursing school put a strain on our marriage and our family. Herb knew that there were sacrifices. He helped with everything while I was in school. He grew and bonded with our boys while caring for them while I was gone. I never could have done it without him!
The thing I love most about Herb is that he’s ALWAYS on my side. He’s steady and certain. I’ve never doubted his commitment to me and our family.
He has always supported my ideas and respected my determination to fulfill my goals. He has a strong, quiet confidence that I’ve come to rely on and trust. My husband is FOR me. The trust and respect runs deep between us. He’s supported my quilting business 100% since the beginning, and I am grateful. We love to go on trips together. In 2018 we bought a camper shell for Herb’s truck (named the truck Juan) and now we have our own Juanabego and we can’t wait to put it to good use this year! We have three grandkids and look forward to spending time with them and Herb is looking forward to more great fishing! And if you ask me, I’d say he’s my best catch!
This is Cyndy. She is a very special friend from Utah. She loves to have her quilts custom quilted and this one was extra dear to her as flying geese is a favorite pattern. The quilt pattern is called Geese Crossing. Here is what she said about her quilt and the quilting:
"I love the geese and their dedication to each other. These birds mate for life. When they fly in the V formation it is to protect each other. When the leader of the V gets tired or hurt, he pulls back and another takes his place. If one goose drops out caused by injury, another will stay with it until it catches up and takes it's place back in the V.
I love the fact that they help each other out. My quilter, Dawna, put the V to echo the flying geese and their formation and closeness to one another. This quilt is my favorite so far and means the most to me."
This is a picture of my beautiful Grandma, Farrell Francis Wich, who was born in 1912 and lived through the Great Depression.
During this time of year, we often think of our family members who have passed - even more often than we usually do. Do you mind if I share with you a little bit about her?
When I was five, my parents split and we went to live with Grandma. We lived in duplexes side by side for many years. We watched TV together and had orange juice and she'd airpop popcorn for us while we watched the Wonderful World of Disney, National Geographic, the Dukes of Hazard, or Quincy Adams, M.D. But Grandma's favorite show was The Price is Right.
Once when I was sick, I got to stay home - but we didn't stay home. Grandma was not going to miss bowling league - she was probably their top bowler!
Whenever Grandma traveled, she'd bring us gifts when she came home. We couldn't wait to see what she'd bring us! When she went to Alaska I got a little Eskimo doll. She made us Easter dresses every year - in complementary colors, of course!
Grandma only made one quilt that I can remember. She couldn't wait to get it done. But she was the type of person to finish a project once she'd started it.
She was always available and was always approachable and easy to talk to. When her friends came over for tea, they'd be upstairs in the fancy part of her house and they would all be laughing. She made an incredible Pecan Pie and how I loved her baked beans! Meatloaf or Corned Beef Casserole (with a can of Cheeze Whiz, of course!) were standards for our weekly family dinners.
Grandma worked at General Motors as a secretary in the Parts Department. For Christmas she would give us stock - teaching us the value of investing. She'd also put up her aluminum tree with a color wheel, which was so much fun to watch change colors.
Once I really wanted to wear shorts to school. Grandma didn't approve. I was in 2nd grade. I put them in my bag and got caught and was in trouble. She always sat in a big easy chair in front of the TV and I'd sit in front of her chair and she'd play with my hair if I asked. She didn't show her emotions a lot, but she'd tell me "Good job" sometimes. She was such a steady presence in my life and I miss her terribly.
In 1995 when she turned 95, we had a big party for her at Bethel Baptist Church in south Denver, where she'd been a Deaconness for a time. There was a great turnout!
Grandma would say, "Even if you only live in a 10 x 10 room, if you have your children, you can make things work. No matter how bad things get, you never give up on each other."
Here's to all the lovely ladies who have gone on before us, teaching us, supporting us and guiding us to become the women we are today. May we always cherish their memory and their legacy of love.
Dawna thought with the introduction of my quilt pattern, “Friendship Mountains”, I should write a little bit about my creative process for this pattern. So my process started with an idea: I wanted to make a mountain scene with all Friendship Stars for the blocks.
Once I had this idea in my head I started sketching. I made a grid of Friendship Stars but was stuck on how to make the peaks. I had to let this idea stew in my mind which truthfully, I was stumped for some time, then I finally got another idea. I pulled out my colored pencils and started coloring and defining my mountain edges. Thankfully my colored pencils were erasable colored pencils as there was lots of trial and error while I felt my way along.
Next I took my graphs and entered the info into Electric Quilt 8 software. Here I used various colors and fabric swatches before settling on a design. I made rules for myself regarding the Friendship Stars. First I wanted to keep the light and dark fabric colors consistent to keep the integrity of the stars, even when there were more than 2 colors within a star block. Another rule was that the star points all needed to be going in the same direction.
After showing my design to Dawna, it was time to choose my fabrics. We discussed choices and settled on “Grunge” fabric as it would define some extra texture and subtle color changes. Dawna said she wished we could find a wildflower fabric. After one search on Google for “wildflower fabric”, I’d found an image of Sentimental Studios Wildflowers Basics – Summer by Moda. I loved the brightness of the colors and the flowers included, especially the columbine, absolutely perfect in my mind.
Next the task of writing the pattern. This took some time, not only in finding the right words, proof reading and ensuring the accuracy of the numbers and dimensions needed, as well as the readability of the pattern.
This was my creative process for this pattern. I am probably slower than most, but this process for me took about a year from idea to publication. Next time you are looking at a quilt pattern, please keep in mind all a designer has gone through to write that pattern and give the designer his or her due.
Remember to be #ContinuouslyCreative and thanks for reading! Cindy Healey
Last fall a friend of mine requested that I design an all over texture design to quilt some fabric for her daughter. She is a big producer of cosplay and used it to make a costume for Arya from Game of Thrones. You can see her blog about it here http://www.ginnydi.com/blog-2/2017/11/25/quilting-for-your-s7-arya-stark-cosplay
I named it Tumble. You can find it here: https://www.dawnasdesignthreads.com/store/p354/Tumble_Digital.html
Anyway, it's a really fun texture and we did it on this cute construction trucks quilt as a sample for The Quilt Store. https://thequiltstore.net/
Recently I had the pleasure of quilting this amazing collage quilt called "Pinkerton". It was made by my customer Marcia Wilcox. What an amazing quilt. She fussy cut a bazillion flowers to make this labor of love for her daughter-in-law. The pattern was written by Laura Hiene. She took the nclass at The Quilt Store. http://thequiltstore.mersatech.com/?task=get&url=http%3A%2F%2Fthequiltstore.net%2F
I custom quilted this at Marcia's request with a 3/4" grid. This helped to secure all the pieces that she fused on. The inner border is quilted with free motion bubbles and some beautiful free motion feathers in the outer border.
This beautiful modern quilt was pieced by Kathy. We quilted it with a very traditional quilt pattern, "Baptist Fan". Many antique quilts were quilted with this pattern. I love the way it looks on this very modern quilt. It gave great texture and movement to the very straight linear piecing.
This Beautiful quilt was paper pieced by Karen Morgen. She did a fantastic job paper piecing this Judy Neimeyer pattern and I custom quilted it. Many, many hours by both of us!!! www.quiltworx.com/patterns/glacier-star/
Hi, I'm Dawna. Welcome to my Blog. I love to share my quilting passion as well as my desire to be Continuously Creative! Through this blog I will share what I'm working on or any new products I find so that you too may be #ContinuouslyCreative!