In 2013, I blogged about a quilt pattern designed by my all-time favourite designer, Mary Engelbreit. It was called “Playtime Pals”. I originally made a quilt from this pattern for my baby daughter, Shawna in 1982. It lay on her single bed once she graduated from her crib. She slept covered by it every single night. It was washed a million times, used to make forts in the living room and became an outdoor picnic blanket when the need arose. After ten years or so, after having been dragged everywhere, it was tattered and torn, reduced to a few pieces of muslin.
The pattern was an iron-on outline of cheery and sweet children clothed in vintage outfits. The quilt-maker did the iron-on’s, then filled in and completed the childish outlines using fabric paints… basically colouring for adults. I ironed all the pattern outlines onto bleached muslin fabric in different sizes, purchased an array of fabric paints and set to work, painting for days on end. (I had never used fabric paints in my life, so there was a bit of a learning curve and some less-than-perfect blocks!) But, I loved every single minute of working on that quilt. It was just so different from anything else I had tackled.
For some unknown reason, once I had completed Shawna’s quilt, I didn’t keep the pattern. (Duh!)
So, in 2009 when our daughter gave birth to our precious granddaughter, Harlow, I thought about Playtime Pals again. I wanted to remake that quilt; this time, though, I’d make a better, more durable version of it. I searched and searched for it on ebay, contacted Mary Engelbreit’s “people” and posted online that I was looking for the pattern. Believe it or not, one glorious day, I found it on ebay! I was pretty ecstatic and a little surprised. It cost next to nothing, was in brand new condition, so I had it mailed to me by the vendor. It was such a find.
Initially, I came across this little gem of a pattern in a 1982 issue of Better Homes & Gardens, Christmas Ideas magazine.
Flipping through the pages, Playtime Pals jumped right out of the magazine and hit me in the heart.
So, so beautiful. Charming and whimsical. I absolutely fell in love with this pattern.
It’s now 2019. I have yet to begin my new, remade version of Playtime Pals. It’s still on the back burner, but I will get to it one of these fine days.
Fellow quilter, Judy Borman, contacted me after reading my 2013 blog post. Like me, in 1982 she had been instantly drawn to this pattern. Judy especially loved the style of the artwork and the representation of simple childhood activities. She and her quilting friend, Ann, both decided they simply had to make this pattern together…one for each of their young daughters. Here is Judy’s rendition from 1983, made for daughter, Jenny. You’ll notice unlike mine, Judy’s quilt remains intact!
In 2018, Judy was delighted to discover the old BH&G magazine from 1982 at the bottom of a box she was unpacking for her new sewing room. The photos in the magazine brought back such wonderful memories of quilting and creating with her friend, Ann. In the intervening years, Judy had made a couple of applique quilts, leading her to believe she may be able to turn the graphed patterns provided by the magazine into applique patterns/placement sheets. If she was successful, she wouldn’t require the actual, printed pattern from 1982 that I had discovered on ebay.
Judy made it work! She devised a brilliant plan to work from the magazine itself. After a sample block or two turning out beautifully, she decided to take a crack at remaking Playtime Pals. This time, the quilt was for her colourful, exuberant four year-old granddaughter, Alice.
So, so sweet.
Judy Borman is an example of the type of delightful person one can come across online. Ever since she contacted me after my initial blog post, we have been communicating while she worked on Alice’s quilt. (In addition to being a busy, quilting grandmother, Judy administers an informative website – www.cookingforcents.weebly.com – that you may want to check out).
So, it is now up to me to find the time to remake Playtime Pals. I’m going to use white muslin this time instead of bleached muslin. I’m going to buy myself a brand new set of fabric paints. Sashing and borders will be chosen from my more-than-ample stash. I’m really excited to get started and hope to be able to show you the final result of my work soon.
Thanks so much to Judy Borman. She is my inspiration.