Pay It Forward Challenge

Alternative title:

It’s much more blessed to give than to receive.

Little did I know when I signed up for this challenge what it would ultimately mean to me.  To be honest, I signed up because I wanted something.  And cool–it would come from a quilter in Australia.  I didn’t know that my life would be enriched by the online friendship I would develop with this Australian quilter.  Kris is not blogging as much right now, but it is fun knowing I have a ‘comrade’ on the opposite side of the world!  And Kris sent me a beautiful quilted purse, and some notecards with her own beautiful photography on them (photos later.)  Thank you so much Kris!

This challenge started last year at Christmas, and fortunately, it gave you a WHOLE YEAR to ‘pay it forward.’  The perfect challenge for us procrastinators.  I did think about what I was going to do quite a bit, but like the ‘think method’ in  The Music Man, just thinking about it does not really make it happen.  (ooh, is there a good weight loss analogy in there somewhere?)

And as you regular readers know, what with my ‘Noah activities’ earlier this year, it didn’t seem I was ever going to have time to be ‘creative.’   So when I posted this picture (scroll to bottom of blog) and all three pay it forward recipients commented positively on it, a little idea started to grow in my brain.  I could split the quilt top into three pieces and make them  into my pay it forward challenge gifts!  (Did you guys realize it was from that quilt top?)   The more I thought about it, the better I liked it.  I don’t really like making a lot of big quilts, and this one had gotten pretty big.  So I looked at it seriously to see how I could split it, and it ended up I could split it evenly into four pieces (one for me too!)  The more I thought about it, the better I liked it.  This way we would all have something that was related to one another.  At the same time I had become entranced by Marianne Burr’s work, and thought I could use these quilts to practice my skills with the thicker pearl cotton thread.  I could be creative without having to come up with an entire concept.  So that’s what I did.

I split the quilt into four even pieces, and added a ‘border’ around each to frame it and enlarge it a bit.  I thought about each girl as I worked on their quilt, trying to personalize it with what I knew about their life.

Pubsgal’s was first, because I knew I was going to meet her in September.  I thought about her little kids, and added flowers and scrolls and butterflies in the quilting.  I did mostly machine quilting but added accents of handquilting and french knots and of course, the buttons that I had originally envisioned for the quilt.

Next up was Juice’s quilt.  Juice is a city girl.  Pretty modern.  Which I am not.  But I thought an ‘off-kilter’ grid might give it a more sleek modern appearance.  Then I couldn’t help myself.  I added a ton of buttons in a random fashion, kind of like those little daisies that crop up in your lawn sometimes.  Flowers and leaves in the quilting around the border.

Last  up was my good blogging buddy Jill.  The one who enticed me into starting my own blog! Jill was in my spiritual formation blog last fall.  I got the idea to write the ‘fruits of the spirit’ (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control) in the blank places on her quilt.  I filled each square with either hand-quilting or fancy machine stitches–that was fun!  Jill’s probably has the most hand quilting and the least buttons.

So there you have it.  More than you ever wanted to know about my pay it forward challenge.  What I am trying to say is that making these quilts for other people gave more to me than it will to the recipients.  It gave me something simple to just play with, no pressure, during a time when I might have become increasingly frustrated about my lack of time to be creative.  It expanded my creative skills, and was relaxing, because I knew what I was going to do.  IT WAS FUN!

11 thoughts on “Pay It Forward Challenge

  1. I love my quilt so much!! And I got really excited when I noticed the Fruits of the Spirit on there, too. I was going to hang it in my bedroom, but now I think I might want to hang it on my kitchen wall where more people will see it. It’s so beautiful and I feel so blessed that it came from you!

    I’m going to try and finish up my PIF gifts this weekend. I hope. 🙂

  2. loved these and mostly loved that you reused something you already had going (rather than taxing yourself to make four new things). very clever to add the pieced border to extend the size.

    wondered if it was the quilting thread I sent you – I think I sent you a lot – or am I remembering wrong – ?

    • I used a LOT of different threads in these quilts. I do believe that I used a little of your thread in Juice’s quilt! Thank you Vickie!

  3. I loved my quilt when I received it, but knowing the back story makes me appreciate it even more! And I love how we all have pieces that relate but are personalized for us. I have your quilt displayed in my living room. Each time I look at it I find a new detail. Thanks again for such a wonderful gift!

  4. Oh WHEW!!! I thought I was going to burst, not being able to write about my quilt! (Debby swore me to secrecy until Juice and Jill received their quilts.)

    I was amazed and delighted and so honored to receive my quilt! If you think the pictures of Debby’s quiltwork are great, you should see one in person. Simply exquisite. And I, too, loved the combination of connection and personalization embodied in our quilts. Like Juice and Jill, I find myself looking at it over and over again, seeing new details. I loved reading the back story behind all of our quilts’ designs.


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