Arden's Quilt

comments: 140

On a Friday afternoon in mid-summer, we got a late start on our shopping because the dog had gotten stung in the nose by a bee, and we didn't want to leave her alone with her big, sad nose. We made pizza dough together and set it aside to rise in time for dinner at five. We looked at the quilts I had made that were here and there around the house and we talked about quilts, and what they are, and how they get made (stuff gets cut up, messed around with, and put back together). Andy arrived home around three to hang out with the dog, so we headed out to the fabric store to get the material. Arden and I had to be home by the time the dough had risen!

I had done some math beforehand so I knew exactly what we would need. We grabbed a cart and headed toward the quilting cottons. I told her to pick out a solid color (hot pink) and then we would pick out six prints (I'd written the pattern for ten, but I knew that settling on six would be plenty). We looked at the pinks and talked about how pinks were different — some were more yellow, some were more blue. She tried to decide between two of them and put her eye right up close to the fabric, about an inch away: a secret "Pick Me" message encoded in the weave? I tried not to bust out giggling [or sobbing — so, so sweet] and told her to stand about eight feet away while I held big swaths of the fabrics up next to each other, and then it was obvious: That one. (Turns out, you have to actually stand back to see the secret message.) We thunked the bolt into the cart and zoomed off toward the prints. We were guided by the preferences she'd mailed me a few weeks before: hot pink, lime green, sky blue, and purple, in stripes, big flowers, and no tiny calicos. Check. Down the aisles of bolts we raced.

     "How about this one?"
     "I love that one! [Thunk.] How about this one?"
     "I love that one!" [Thunk.]
     "How about this one?"
     "Yes!" [Thunk.]
     "These are so cute!"
     "I know, these are adorable!"

Thunk, thunk, thunk thunk. The cart filled up. Thunk. Thunk. Back and forth we went, congratulating each other on our choices.

     "I love the little sqares you picked out!"
     "I know! I love the stripes, too!"
     "This is gonna be so cute!"
     "I know! This is going to be adorable!"
     "Totally! And are you not just totally psyched to have such an awesomely cool aunt to make you your very own quilt?!" 

We picked out the backing (white with bright yellow polka dots). It was already 4:15 and we would need a half-hour to get everything cut and make it home. As fast as we were going, however, it wasn't fast enough. We were picking out the binding when suddenly someone was ready to be done.

     "Aunt Alicia, I'm starving! I am so hungry! I'm so hungry I can't even shop anymore!"
     "Oh my goodness! Well, then you'd better start running back toward that corner so we can get the batting!"
     "Back where it says 'BATTING'?"
     "That's the one!"

I sped along behind her, cart rattling in alarm. We got everything we needed and had it cut, then zoomed back home to check on our dough and start on our pizza before someone keeled over from sheer hunger. Once the 'za was in the oven, we went out back and took a picture of our goods:


I started sewing the next day. The quilt was small — a throw quilt, perfect for sitting under while reading Warriors, or snuggling up with to watch Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium. I'd finished it by Sunday, tossed it in the wash, and then folded it neatly. It waited on the sideboard until last week, when I gave it to her at the park.


We named it the Raspberry Lemonade Quilt, because it reminded us of raspberries, and lemonade, and other summertime treats we love.


Like summer afternoons together, in general.


And really just all things dreamy and, oh, just all things so very, very precious and sweet. So very sweet. xoxo


Since I'm the Mommy of two little boys I am very thankful that I have nieces! This is precious!

That's awesome. :) Such a great story for you and her, and I'm certain she will never forget that afternoon together.

I know we're probably about the same age, but will you be my Aunt Alicia too?

That is, if Arden is willing to share. :)

You words here are beautiful...made me a little choked up! The quilt is beautiful, too.

This is beautiful! It looks like you two have a wonderful time together.

Arden has great taste!!! Love that quilt with all the vibrant colors and patterns, turned out lovely.....

Your niece sure has your eye for picking colors and combinations. That quilt is almost as adorable as the girl lying on it.

Mary Ann/Ca says: August 31, 2009 at 10:31 AM

Oh how Arden has grown since her cover shot but still that sweet, sweet face. My dgd is still a bit young but I have the lovely dancer on my list of future gifts. Of course she has several quilts already!

Sharon Stanley says: August 31, 2009 at 10:31 AM

girls are the best!! Boys are good too (I have them) but no pinks and purples here. The quilt is lovely as was the gesture to make it...

Oh, it turned out great! Not the usual Posie colors, but it seems like it's equal parts you and Arden, a reflection of your collaboration. She must be thrilled with it.

Can I be a niece, too?

What a gorgeous quilt and niece! She's an absolute doll, that last picture is the cutest!

Sharon M. says: August 31, 2009 at 10:46 AM

Lovely quilt, lovely girl, lovely you. Thanks, Alicia, for sharing...

Oh my gosh, she is getting so big. And oh so pretty! The quilt too. :)

What a lucky girl, to have a crafty aunt, who is also very generous with her time and talent! You've made a memory to last her lifetime and that's a gift more precious than anything store bought. (Love the clover bloom!!)

What a great story, and priceless quilty from her aunty! She looks just like you (esp in the hat photo) wonderful to be able to share each other's company! Jamie V in MT

I wish I was your niece ;) She is a lucky girl!

What a wonderful post. Lucky you and lucky her to have your relationship. The quilt is beautiful too! Made my day. =-).

Oh my goodness - you are an aunt WAY beyond the usual standards of auntdom! Such a lovely memory making process shopping together too. Love it! xxx

OMG! You are an awesome Auntie and the quilt matches the girl perfectly, it seems.

Elizabeth says: August 31, 2009 at 11:09 AM

Adorable quilt - ADORABLE niece! And what a nice aunty...

Oh, she's really growing up (and into such a lovely young lady)! She's lucky to have such a wonderful, magical aunty to make her a summer memory that'll keep her warm for years.

Oh, what a lovely auntie you are! Truly!

That quilt is gorgeous!

oh, an inspiring post here, because i never made a quilt for my second-born and I keep promising him one and reading this, and the comments (oh, boys don't like pink, or flowers...) and I was thinking the whole time with raspberry lemonade in my head and what memories does he have ("memories"? Someone ought to do a craft book like that -- heh heh) and, all of a sudden I seem to have solved my previous stumbling blocks and by jove, I think I've got it. I will start working on it this week! as ever, thanks for the inspiration!

Love it! It makes me want to make special quilts for my two boys. Except, I already have. And just how excited can you really expect a boy to get about a *second* special quilt? I think I need a niece. LOL!

BTW, I posted the interview this morning:
Thanks for taking part!

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at