Off to College!

EDIT: The initial college patchwork kits and the next round of kits have now sold out. We will offer the pattern sheets as a PDF within the week.

I can't really focus on this newest transition in our lives for very long without getting completely overwhelmed with a million different emotions and things to say so I am just going to focus on the quilt itself instead!

Usually I have a lot to say about everything but this one is getting me…


My oldest son is off to college this weekend and at the very last minute he asked me for a simple masculine feeling "college guy" throw for his bed. He is not much of a design guy and didn't want anything with an actual pattern in it so I decided on a super simple patchwork style quilt.



My friends Laurie and Polly of MINICK & SIMPSON have just come out with an amazing, classic collection called Grand Traverse Bay that would be perfect for this kind of a quilt. So I quickly gathered up a bunch of prints from that collection and added in a few of my neutral favorites including a few math & architectural flavored fabrics. Couldn't resist putting those in there for a little thematic learning thing going on… still a mom after all! 


The result is a simple college feeling quilt for Ben and since we have all of this lovely fabric, some bundles for you.


We created bundles exactly like his quilt along with the chambray binding and a pattern for the patchwork too.

For more info on the bundle/kit click HERE. 

For more on our college adventures I think you might have to wait a bit more until I can actually talk about it without falling apart :-). Because pretty much as far as my brain is concerned… he is still this little :-((!!!


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  1. Jeanie | 18th Aug 16

    Yep, that’s the Ben I remember! Hugs to you as you navigate through this transition ????

  2. Sherri | 18th Aug 16

    Congrats…I wish I could tell you it’s going to get easier…but it’s just so hard when they leave…

    thinking about you!

  3. Patty D | 18th Aug 16

    My girl heads off tomorrow. I know exactly how you feel.

  4. Jeanne | 18th Aug 16

    My oldest started college last year. I cried all the way home after we dropped her off. Kids just work their way into our hearts! Good luck Mom!! >

  5. lori | 18th Aug 16

    Totally know that feeling. Not only did I fight through both girls going back to college each year, now I struggle with the fact that both daughters and son in laws live out of state.

  6. | 18th Aug 16

    Whaaaaah! ????.
    Can’t even imagine! Big hug!!

  7. Rochelle | 19th Aug 16

    Love those fabrics – the quilt looks great.

  8. Lace Faerie | 19th Aug 16

    Such a handsome son! I’m sure he will always be a source of pride and joy! Our oldest is our daughter. I cried the whole month leading up to graduation! And again as I left her in her new apartment 1.5 hours away as she began college.

    You’ll survive this, little by little you’ll be able to think of him without tearing up. For me, it got easier with each chick as they flew the nest!

    Beautiful quilt, perfect choice of fabrics!

  9. Hildy | 19th Aug 16

    Your son become a really handsome young man and this quilt is perfect for him.

  10. Annabelle Hammer | 19th Aug 16

    My kids, 22 and 24, ended up in Utah and Colorado. My husband and I still live in the Washington DC area. We miss the kids so much that after we both retire, we will move out west to be closer to them. We’re not sure which state we will end up in (New Mexico is also a possibility), but it will be nice to be closer to them, at least a few hundred miles away instead of 2,000 miles.
    In the meantime, it has been nice having an empty nest in that I have had a lot more time to quilt!!

  11. Sue | 19th Aug 16

    Worst day ever – the one when you have to say good-bye at the dorm! I cried for 4 solid hours driving home – so bad by husband had to pull off the road. The reality is is that they will never be your baby again, but what you will get to see over time is your “little boy” becoming more and more of a self-sufficient adult. It is quite a wonderful transformation to watch.

  12. Celena | 19th Aug 16

    My heart is with you, letting go is not easy, but…and yes there is a but! It is the most wonderful feeling to see your child become the adult you raised them to be. When the the children are all out of the house and the empty nest starts to sit in…there is a wonderful life ahead! You been there, done that, loved more and got the tee shirt! Life comes back to square one the two of you, you, your husband and a load of memories and the adventure of a lifetime is ahead of you. Fasten your seatbelt and hold on!

  13. Michele | 19th Aug 16

    I went through this with my oldest as well. It is so hard letting them move to the next stage of life! I cried all the way home and sat on the couch all weekend staring at the tv. I was a mess! Good luck!

  14. Chris Shealer | 19th Aug 16

    Ohhhh, I remember those feelings so well!! I’ve done this four times!! The first time I actually had to pull off the road and I sat and bawled on the side of the freeway!! With each of my four, it was the same—missing them like crazy, wishing for days gone by, and then, all of a sudden it wasn’t so bad…but then a day later, those feelings were back!! It comes in waves, but it does get easier. bit by bit. The very best part of this age though is when you suddenly realize they’re doing exactly what you raised them to do!!! Praying for you as you go through this time of life 🙂

  15. Julia Scriven | 19th Aug 16

    Oh Joanna, My oldest child left for college in 1990 and I can still cry thinking about the emotions. We drove her to San Diego and I will NEVER forget how I was feeling after we left her there and drove home to Stockton. Barbara Streisand was on the radio and when I hear her sing, all the emotion comes back to me and I’m crying. HOWEVER, this is what our children are supposed to do, leave the nest, and go out on their own. I don’t like it, I want to stay young with them forever but it just doesn’t work that way. Ben is a handsome young man from a loving and caring family and he will make you proud! Congratulations!

  16. Lynne | 19th Aug 16

    Would love to purchase the bundle/kit but when I click on the link it does not come up. Is it available?

  17. Joyce and Sarah Ely | 19th Aug 16

    Awesome quilt! It is so hard when they go off yet somehow we adjust. Just think of it as the next incredible chapter to the amazing adult he will one day be. And then just dive back into your beautiful fabric. That always helps.

  18. Kristine | 19th Aug 16

    Hmm…link isn’t working.

  19. JOAN DESANTIS | 19th Aug 16

    First off, quilt is beautiful!

    I sent my oldest daughter off to Ohio (we live in NY) and naturally she wanted a quilt. I was so happy to make it for her. We used OSU colors and a log cabin pattern and we both were happy with the final result. I knew I was going to have a hard time saying good-bye, so we talked about it before hand and decided it would be short and sweet. I’d act like I was goign to the grocery store and just say good-bye, no tears! It went off as planned, a simple good-bye, until I got back to my car and fell apart. So emotional!! Fortunately, she never saw me break down!

    The following year daughter #2 went off to college, and she got her own special quilt. Its such a good tradition. I feel like part of me is with them!

    My youngest will be a senior this year. I’m already wondering what kind of quilt to make that is “manly”. I love your fabric selections and pattern, and will run it by him to get a read. Thanks for the inspiration!!

  20. Bambi | 19th Aug 16

    I love the colors and the pattern — can you buy the pattern separately?

  21. Candie | 19th Aug 16

    My first thought was”Who is that man with Joanna’s son’s college quilt wrapped around his shoulders?”. Yes, our children grow into the adults they are meant to be. When we would meet our son at the airport for each home visit from college, it would really hit me. I remember seeing broad shoulders and a man standing there in the distance. I would take a second to gather myself as I realized this man was my baby growing up. I would blink away the tears and he never knew. Oh those tears just found their way back!

  22. MaryJean Chatron | 19th Aug 16

    Yes, I am interested in the chambray back to school quilt kit.
    I hope that you can get more. It is perfect.

  23. Marybeth | 19th Aug 16

    A “happy/sad” time. Sure, you want him to grow up and be successful, but!!!! We took three sons off to college. Oddly enough they all went to the same school…Syracuse University, which I guess made it a little easier.
    (Don’t be surprised when he comes home for semester break that you look forward to him leaving again!)

    Quilt is very nice…manly!

  24. Joanna | 19th Aug 16

    They just sold out. so sorry.

  25. Isabel | 19th Aug 16

    OK, just tell him to NEVER drink a drink that he himself has not opened in front of his on eyes..AND try to always go out at night with others in a group or at least 2 ..Remind him his parents opinions are better than his teachers and he should be fine!

  26. Sherry | 19th Aug 16

    The biggest cry I have had in the last twenty years is when we dropped our son off at college out of state. I held it together until I left the grounds and then sobbed hysterically for hours after!! I knew it was the real first step out of the nest. My husband couldn’t quite understand. I walked on the beach, drank cold water, took a shower, etc… but still couldn’t stop crying. It will get better and then you won’t cry so much at the wedding!! LOL

  27. Helen LeBrett | 19th Aug 16

    Nooooo!!! How did he get that big? I don’t envy you sending him off: they seem so young to go at that age! What college is he off to? I hope he’s somewhat close! And you sure have raised a handsome young man, who, I’m sure, is a wonderful young man too!!! Best wishes to him as well as to you, Mom!! Hugs, H in Healdsburg

  28. Dondi Murdock | 19th Aug 16

    We are never ready for our children to grow up! I think I understand but I don’t want to be too assertive by claiming I know your feelings. I do know the grief I felt when each of my four children left our sweet nest. It was a tragedy for me, yet I was so happy they were confident enough to stretch out to go. My feelings were very mixed up. The best part was when they married and gave me glorious grandchildren! Now I have 13 grandchildren, one who has just gone off to college this week. Life cycles on, too quickly for my taste. I always told my children to stop growing and I told each grandchild to stop growing. Did any one of them listen to my wise advice? Alas, no, so I just sew and quilt on.

    Keep your heart strong and cry whenever those tears come. I am so grateful I wasn’t born long ago when children moved across the ocean, never to be seen again. I think that would have killed me.

  29. Chris | 19th Aug 16

    My son just turned 40. He’s successful and happily married to a wonderful gal. But he’s still my boy. I cried half the day of his birthday because I couldn’t be with him. My Husband thought I was losing my mind. It doesn’t get easier to be apart.

  30. Sinta | 19th Aug 16

    You both look so young and sweet!

  31. Monique | 19th Aug 16

    Dear Joanna, we just left our oldest boy at college so I know exactly how you feel! He has a quilt on the end of his college bed too. Very emotional time????
    Big hugs from one mom to another

  32. Susan Y. | 19th Aug 16

    Your fabrics are beautiful, Joanna, and you certainly struck a chord with all Moms–our children are always our babies in our hearts. Our daughter is getting married (1st wedding for us) and I think Luther Vandross’ “Dance With My Father” would be a lovely song for their dance together except that I cry like a baby NOW when I listen to it and the wedding is 2 months away. Big order of sunglasses for me, please…

  33. Melonie | 19th Aug 16

    It’s going to be OK momma. I’m right there with you. Seems we go through ALL the stages together don’t we ☺️

  34. Nan, Odessa, DE | 20th Aug 16

    Can we buy the pattern for the block quilt you made for your son to take to college?
    Do you have yardage on pattern for different sizes?
    Any chambray available for sale?
    Please say YES to all these questions!

  35. Debbie Rhodes | 20th Aug 16

    I had the cleanest house ever the week after my oldest left. Now she has just experienced the same thing with her oldest leaving. Now she knows how I felt. She said mom how did you survive. You just do I said.

  36. Greg Jones | 22nd Aug 16

    Joanna, I remember when I first left home. My father pulled me aside and said that my mother would miss me and I should always check in on her. It’s a message that he repeated many times over the years, and even when he was about to pass away last year, he still reminded me that I should check in with my mother. It was good advice, and it’s stuck with me. So.. tell Eric to remind your son to not forget about you! (btw, mom and I text all the time!)

  37. Joanna | 22nd Aug 16


    That is awesome advice. I will absolutely do that!!! Joanna

  38. Joanna | 23rd Aug 16

    No pattern available at this time, just the pattern sheets that were made to go with kit and no Chambray available. So sorry!


  39. Joanna | 23rd Aug 16

    Yes! I am doing a lot of organizing right now!!!

  40. Joanna | 23rd Aug 16

    Thank you Celena… that is my plan!!!

  41. Joanna | 23rd Aug 16

    No pattern at this time.

  42. Joanna | 23rd Aug 16

    I hear you!!

  43. Joanna | 23rd Aug 16

    Good luck this weekend!!!!

  44. Joanna | 24th Aug 16

    Thanks for sharing your story. Yes, the emotions are definitely one big giant jumble!!

  45. Carrie | 24th Aug 16

    I love that last picture – it’s a keeper. You look so happy – and so young. (LOL)

    Here’s hoping Ben has a great time at college and learns a lot. Mostly that he’s a lucky kid to have a great Mom who makes him quilts.

  46. Kay Aycock | 24th Aug 16

    Wait until you have one leave for the Military! Talk about choked up… Love the quilt!! Kay

  47. Joanna | 25th Aug 16

    All the info is in the post 🙂

  48. Janan | 28th Aug 16

    Such a sweet post, and yes, our little boys will always be our “little boys” in our hearts!

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