December Thoughts and Quilt of Valor

December is a bittersweet month for me.  Amid all the excitement and good will of the Christmas season, I also have the memories of my mother passing away 5 years ago on December 23rd. 

Last week,  I visited my aunt in her nursing home as she was being signed into hospice.  She is 91 years old and approaching the end of her life on earth.  Much as I want to cure her, there is nothing I can do to change the ravages of time.  Her spirit is strong, but the vessel weakens. 

My mother was strong till the end.  She didn’t cry, and she didn’t want us to cry.  She was still offering comfort and love to her family till the end. 

I pray for the strength to accept the things I cannot change…

To comfort myself, I’ve been working on a Quilt of Valor.  I love my new sewing machine, and wanted the first project made using it, to give someone else joy too.  There was a great patriotic wall hanging in the July/August 2003 issue of Fons & Porter’s Love of Quilting magazine called Heart of America.  The Quilts of Valor have to be larger, so I’m tweaking the pattern a bit to fit the criteria.

The center flag portion is completed and I’ve been making the 4 heart blocks for the corners this week.  This is how the heart block started out:


I wanted more red in the blue stripes, and selected a built in pattern from my Pfaff Creative Sensation and carefully sewed down the center line of the striped fabric.  I love how it turned out.  If you can’t find a striped fabric you like, you can always create one of your own. 

Then I fused the left blue flag field piece in place. 

Then I satin stitched around all the fabric.

Then I cut out stars and fused them in place, and satin stitched all around them. 

And here is how the finished heart block turned out:

There is a big difference between the two blocks, isn’t there? 

I didn’t follow the pattern exactly, but pretty closely.  I moved the white star to the blue background instead of having a white star float over the red stripes.  It shows up more.

I also changed the star sizes.  The one on the right was supposed to be a really small star, but the photo of the quilt showed it to be the same size as the other small star on the block, so after fusing and cutting out 4 of the really small stars, and realizing the proportion was off, I put them aside, fused more fabric, cut out more stars and like how it came out.



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