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Grandpa to Grandson: Linking Generations with a Very Special Quilt – Part 1 (Free Pattern)

Christy and I met in 1952, when our parents bought tiny post-war tract houses across the street from each other in a small New Jersey town. We were barely beyond the toddler stage, and the connection was instantaneous—and enduring. We grew up sharing childhoods, milestones, secrets.

That’s me on the left, Christy on the right. Our dads often took us on Saturday outings. Here we’re on our way to see the Mayflower II in New York City harbor.

I was maid of honor when Christy married Ray in 1969. She was 18, he was 20. People said it wouldn’t last. People were wrong.

In the spring of 2010, shortly after the couple celebrated their 42nd wedding anniversary, Ray was diagnosed with cancer. He passed away last August, just before his 63rd birthday. As so often happens, very soon after, their youngest son and his wife discovered that their first child was on the way–the first male grandbaby. Sadly, this new little one would never know his Grandpa Ray.

Whoa! Not so fast! Within a few months, a box arrived on my doorstep. It was filled with…

…shirts! Yes, Christy had packed up a collection of Ray’s cotton shirts and sent them in my direction. I cut off the collars and yokes, sleeves, and plackets…

…and separated the body of each shirt into three large pieces.

I cut the large pieces into 5″ squares, arranged them on my design wall, and added some “hugs and kisses” with raw edge applique.

I stitched the squares together (easy peasy!), added a border, and voila!

“Hugs and Kisses from Grandpa” (39″ x 48″), made by Darra Williamson

Just in time, too.

Finnegan (Finn) Raymond Mitchell, born earlier this month in Florida. Isn’t he beautiful? He’ll be wrapping himself in Grandpa’s love very soon.

“Hugs and Kisses” is off being quilted, and I’ll include a photo of the finished quilt, with details about its pieced-from-leftovers binding and special label, in one of my July posts. Meantime, if you’d like to make this quilt for a precious little someone, you’ll find the instructions (including patterns for the letter appliques) in our Pattern Library.

I’ll be finishing off the quilt with a binding pieced from shirt leftovers.

Oh, and Grandma?

She’s doing just fine!

That’s it for now. ‘Til next time, happy stitching!

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