Thursday, September 3, 2009

Tic Tac Toe

When my first Danish nephew - my sister's son, Jens - was born, quite naturally, I made him a baby quilt. He then became the one according to whom the tradition of quilt giving by me to my nieces and nephews was made. And, because he from a very early age, indicated a strong and irresistible desire for more quilts, I have had to come up with several occasions for giving quilts to my nieces and nephews.

My American nephews and nieces were all born before I started quilting - and all but one before I even entered the family! - so they didn't get in on the quilt circuit!

But back to the Danish bunch: First the baby quilts, of course. But before he was very old, Jens would, when he saw me sewing ask "is that for me, Auntie?" or "when do I get another quilt?" etc. And who can ignore such adorable talk? Certainly not a real auntie! So, when he was around 3 or 4, I made him an alphabet quilt. As Danish children do not even begin to learn their letters until they start school, and since this quilt really was for hanging on the wall, I am afraid it was a disappointment. Nevertheless, I had to make one for his sister, Anna, as well. However, I did not make alphabet quilts for their cousins, Emil and Emma! But because the alphabet quilts were not a huge hit, I had to hurry up and think of a new occasion.

Here enter the "Big Boy/Girl Quilts" made for everyone - Jens first, of course - on his or her 5th birthday. Because Jens and Anna were first, they got the least exciting ones, by the time I got to Emil and Emma my skills and creativity had developed and theirs were not only larger but also a lot more fun! But, so it goes.

Around the age of 8 or 9, Jens again started wondering when it might be time for him to get another quilt. I think I had originally said that the next one would not come along until he graduated from High School, but it is hard to hold the line to an adorable child who clearly really loves and appreciates one's quilts! So when I was visiting, around Jens' 10th birthday, and he was just getting a new adult bed and other new furniture for his room, I said that I would make a quilt to fit the new decorations. We got on the web and looked at fabrics on eQuilter. He originally picked out $300 worth of fabrics he liked, but I winnowed it down to four fabrics. I told him that I would pick the pattern and that I would add as many fabrics as I needed to the ones he had picked. Originally, I think I may have given him the impression that it would be ready for his 11th birthday, but that didn't happen, and then we just didn't talk about it. So when I finally brought it to Denmark this summer and gave it to him for his 13th birthday, I do not think he was expecting it.

It was again, such a joy to give it to him. He clearly really liked it and was very thankful. When I think of how many people I give quilts to who seem quite underwhelmed by the gift, it is so much more satisfying and fun to give it to somebody - especially a much beloved nephew - who really appreciates and loves it. This, of course, is the reason it has been so easy for him to continue to talk me into making him quilts.
While it may not be visible in the picture, there are lots of fabrics with skulls in the quilt, those were chosen by Jens. I added some fabrics with skulls, but only because he had picked them in the first place. He chose the green, purple and pink colors and I just added additional fabrics in those colors as well as the whites and blacks.
When Jens was younger, he liked snow tigers a lot. The big piece of fabric on the back is a Henry Alexander print with lots of big cats, including snow tigers, peering out among fern or palm leaves. It is hard to see in the photo, but I think it is an amazing print. I bought it years ago with Jens in mind, and wanted to use it in this quilt, but found that I just couldn't cut it. I love it on the back of the quilt and am happy that I still had it.

The quilt which measures 68" x 84" is beautifully machine quilted by Regina Carter. It wouldn't be any kind of quilt without her (and I would be no kind of quilter.)
Here you can see for yourself that Jens actually really likes the quilt. He even agreed to have his photo made on the bed with the quilt, and at his age, he is not much into posing for the camera!

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