The Granny Cabin Quilt Pattern is a fun modern spin on the classic Granny Square and Log Cabin blocks. It is available in my shop today!
I designed and did all the basic math for this pattern a year and a half ago. WHAT! I had the idea, I had a different color palette picked out, most all of my info written down so I could make my test quilt and then... nothing. I just couldn't find the motivation to do it. I kept coming back to this idea every few months but still, nothing made me go YES! It is time to make this pattern! That is, until I saw the new Add It Up colors by Alexia Abegg for Ruby Star Society. The second I saw these, I made swatches, put them into Illustrator and just KNEW it was time.
I was lucky enough to get the fabric sent to me because it is not available yet. It should be shipping in August.
How gorgeous are these colors? I LOVE the copper +++ on the black and natural background. The feel of these fabrics is so beautiful, less heavy and thick as the older C+S fabric.
I whipped up this top so quickly because I was just so excited to finally feel motivated to make it.
My main motivation when designing this pattern was to sort of reinvent and merge a couple classic blocks - the granny square and log cabin. I am a constantly self proclaimed impatient person and those two traditional blocks would drive me nuts. I do not enjoy small piecing, tons of tiny patchwork but I really appreciate the look of it. I happened upon the idea of making the granny square center + with strip piecing and then completing the block with the first round of a log cabin block. The majority of the quilt is made using strip piecing and every single seam nests.
The final look varies depending on where you place your colors - dark in center and moving to lighter on the outer pieces, the other way around or completely scrappy - but all of them create such dynamic quilts.
I sent this quilt off to Kaitlyn of Knot and Thread Designs and we did a honeycomb panto on it. I love the chicken wire feel, makes it feel more picnic-y.
Ever since I got into quilting about 4 years ago, I have always been inspired by picnic style quilts. I wasn't sure how I could make a new pattern seem modern or innovative enough to hold up to the idea of a picnic quilt but I think I did it! And what better way to show people how to use a picnic quilt than to have a real picnic with it?!
But first, let me share all the feelings... it's what I do.
I have spoken openly before about how I struggled with postpartum depression and not finding joy in my new motherhood journey. Quilting absolutely is what brought me out of the darkness and gave me purpose outside of all my roles. But, I think a big reason postpartum depression hit me so hard is because I already had such a low self esteem.
The two years before I got pregnant were incredibly hard for me. I had my first "real" job working in a very conservative finance office. Most of my jobs before had been in more relaxed settings. I was constantly in trouble at my first real job. Not because I couldn't perform my tasks correctly, I have always been a quick study. I could handle most anything someone sent me way, even if it were completely new to me. I was in trouble for being "unprofessional" in my communications. Don't get me wrong, this is embarrassing to an extent for me to share but I think it's important.
I just didn't know the normal demeanor of what was expected of me. I didn't know the lingo of how to communicate about others in the office (good or bad). I was put into a large cubicle with 3 other women who were best friends at work and outside of work. So to me, working in an office meant sharing everything, joking and laughing. I just didn't understand that the idea of being a good coworker first, was most important. Eventually, my bosses moved me to a separate cubicle because they believed it would make it easier for me to focus and find independent responsibilities. At the time I felt I was being punished but in the end, the "friends" distraction was gone and I was able to find satisfaction in doing work well. In turn, I was getting better reviews and people were speaking highly of my work. I felt like I was on track.
Then, my husband and I got an exciting work opportunity in a different state. We would both work for the same company and we were promised all these ideas of growth and stakes in the company. We decided to take a risk and move.
I told my manager that I was leaving and she said that if I ever wanted my job back to let her know. I had improved so much and my next review would have been my best. I had a couple people give me letters of recommendation if I ever needed them. I felt I was going out on a high.
To make the longest story shorter, we ended up moving states, working for a small family business and I absolutely hated my life. It was awful. My best friends and my family could see how unhappy I was, how terrible this situation was for my mental state. We lasted nine months before we quit our jobs, moved back in with my parents and started over. And let me tell you, how humbling and gut wrenching it is to have to admit you can't hack something. I am beyond thankful, blessed and lucky that we had my parents as a landing pad. Not everyone has that. And my parents knew how badly I needed out of that toxic situation.
Fortunately, my husband still had awesome contacts here in Portland, OR. Within a week of moving back to the state, he had jobs lined up in his industry. I reached out to the company I had left about getting my job back. It hadn't been that long, I was sure I could still be useful and needed. Welp, guess not. I was told that after thinking it over and talking with some of my managers that I wasn't wanted. They didn't believe I was a good fit in the first place and it's not worth trying it again.
I was already so vulnerable, so down on myself, so broken and this pretty much completely shattered me. Am I not good at anything? What value do I even have? I must be a poor worker with no work ethic. I am not made for anything but entry level jobs with low pay. I didn't even want to attempt to apply to a job that had any responsibility because I obviously would fail. I could not get out of this hole of self hate but I knew I had to find a job. I had to work and make some money.
At this point, I decided to go back to what I went to school for - merchandising. I at least had interest in merchandising and since I wanted a "low-responsibility" job I applied for an entry level stock room job at Crate & Barrel. It was back to an environment I was comfortable in, I could wear jeans, sneakers and a shirt. I wasn't customer facing. I had a task given to me, I could complete it. It was IDEAL. And right away, I could tell I wanted to do more there. I was able to work my way into doing set display changes and using my creativity there. I slowly felt myself come back to life. People were encouraging and excited about my passion for merchandising and I was able to kind of stabilize myself. Then, 1 month after I started, I got pregnant. (insert crying and laughing emoji)
I worked all the way until about 37 weeks when I was useless at work. haha I couldn't lift anything, couldn't get on a ladder, would bump into stuff. It hurt to be on my feet for any amount of time. I cried a lot in the stockroom those last few weeks because I didn't want to be pregnant anymore. Being pregnant hindered me from enjoying and doing the only thing I felt I was good at, at that time.
I, then, of course had Everett. The absolute best thing that has ever happened to me. I was in a hormonal, sleepy daze those first couple of months but I felt pretty normal. It wasn't until around 3-4 months that I still wasn't sleeping well and felt like a slave to this little needy baby that I really got into my depression. And I have pretty much shared the rest before.
Even though quilting became my saving grace, it has probably taken me until this year to really let go of the fog and disbelief in my self that started 7 years ago. I remember the summer after I had Everett, I worked at a farmers market for a BBQ stand. It was SO fun. It was cash money every weekend, something to get me out of the house and I got to eat the best BBQ ever. One Saturday, I saw my old boss from the finance company walking around the market, the one who said she didn't want me back. You know what I did? I FREAKING HID UNDER A TABLE. I was so scared and ashamed to have her see me working at a farmers market. I felt I would just be proving her point that I couldn't work in an office and have any worth in a corporate setting. I felt like I was watching myself from above cowering under a table and feeling so small. I felt humiliated for myself.
I know this is the longest blogpost not about an actual quilt but I promise all of this background has a point to it.
Over the past 2+ years since I have been writing quilt patterns, I have found myself. I have slowly seen my spirit, my confidence, and my self worth grow and bloom and stay rooted. My purpose has been made clear. And this quilt pattern release - the design, the inspiration, the work, the photoshoot - everything about it, is the arrival of what I am meant to do and give in this life. It is the epitome of my journey.
I have created a pattern that anyone can make. The first time quilter, who like me, just needs something to do outside of their everyday tasks. To the one who needs an easy structure, to have things written out for them so they don't have to think and feel but can just do. For the one who wants something fun and easy because everything else in their life is not. For the one who just wants to make a picnic quilt to use and not worry about it getting stained. For the one who needs to create to breathe. For the one who wants to create to make a celebration out of life. This pattern, this work, this inspiration is what I am called for.
If I can lend a hand to someone, who, like me, just needed a tangible project to find purpose in their day to day then I have done what I have been called to do.
And now, here are 1 billion images (exaggeration) of my whole journey and inspiration summed up in a photoshoot.
As I was writing this blogpost, I received an email from someone asking if I would speak to a university class about how I created and grew my business in a creative field. If that is not the universe telling me that I am on the right path, I don't know what is. And, yes, I did cry reading the email.
Don't forget to grab Granny Cabin in my shop! I will be back with more blogposts featuring the three other versions I have made and all my testers quilts!