Tom and I love to head down to Holmes and Wayne counties in Ohio whenever we have the chance. For those who don’t know anything about this area, it is the home of the largest settlement of Amish in the world. There is just something about this area that brings a peaceful feeling to the mind and soul. For many years, I was a nurse in a pediatric hospital where Amish families often brought their children for treatment. Their faith is amazing and their devotion to family is unparalleled in my experience. I had many conversations with the Amish moms about cooking, baking, quilting and raising children. I learned so much from them about life and God’s peace.
Naturally, this area of Ohio is filled with quilt and craft shops that are some of the best I have ever seen. Usually I just meander through them and drool over the beautiful quilts and projects. True, I have purchased many items for “future projects” and have a stash that rivals that of any quilter/crafter, but while I was working full time large projects were just not in the cards. It wasn’t until I became semi-retired in December of 2015 that larger needlework projects were once again feasible.
Last spring we were on one of our trips to Holmes County and stopped into the Country Craft Cupboard, one of my favorite shops for needle craft supplies and ideas. One of the projects on the wall caught my eye and captured my heart (and Tom’s too). Entitled My Country Home, this rag style quilt had all the color and flavor of our home décor. I stood marveling at the wool applique squares and the blending of colors wondering how it the world I could ever learn to make something like that. It was then that I saw these magic words “Pattern free with the kit available at the front of the store”. I had to check it out.
The kit contained all the homespun cotton fabric for the quilt blocks and the wool for the applique. All I needed to add was batting, thread, and some iron on adhesive to secure the applique in place until I could stitch it down. The sales woman gave me a quick crash course on the simplicity of creating a rag quilt so I took the plunge and made the purchase.
I started actually working on the project this past January. The applique was the hardest part but when I was stuck or confused, I just called the staff at the Country Craft Cupboard and they gave me all the help I needed right over the phone. It was great fun watching the quilt come to life piece by piece.
My friend Shirley, who is an avid quilter, assured me that it would only take about a month to complete my quilt, as rag quilts are a very simple technique. When I told her about the applique, she amended that time frame to two months…. and she was just about right. It took me a couple extra weeks to complete everything because, while I do my piecing by machine, I quilt everything by hand, thus the echo quilting around the applique took a bit longer than the simple crosses on the plain squares.
This past Thursday I finished piecing my block together, clipped the seam allowances and held my breath as I threw it in the washer where the magical fraying of the seams takes place. True to form, it made a mess of my washer with all the stray threads that unraveled from the clipped seams. The dryer finished the job and the quilt was done!
Now to make the matching pillows with the leftover cloth……..