Sunday, November 25, 2012

Greatest Hits...Ron Swanson Mini

Have you ever tried to make a quilt for a man?  It’s HARD!  I was pretty settled on the fact that even though hubby is über supportive of my never-ending sewing and fabric shopping, he’d probably never truly appreciate the gift of a quilt.  Fine by me if he’d rather have CDs or a new phone – whatever floats your boat!  That is until I saw this by Monica of Happy Zombie fame.
 (Perhaps I should preface this by saying that both hubby and I are major Parks & Recreation fans and “Treat Yo Self!” became our adopted catch phrase for longer than was probably healthy or funny for people other than us.) 

I guess my love of quirky quilts and pop-culturey projects is no secret, so making a mini quilt of this for our 13th anniversary seemed like it would be a good fit and probably a fairly easy finish.  About 2 weeks before our anniversary, I went onto Happy Zombie to find a few more detailed photos and how she constructed her letters…and found a tiny reference at the bottom of her Treat. Yo. that said that Ron Swanson would be appearing on her blog.  Hmm.  Intriguing.  So I clicked…and laughed, and laughed, and laughed. 

(Perhaps I should also add here that in addition to loving Parks & Recreation, my hubby wants to BE Ron Swanson and would probably wear his hair high and tight and rock a ‘stache if he could pull it off.
I knew instantly that a) this would be perfect, b) extremely appreciated, and c) WAY harder to finish in two weeks than I was counting on.  Undaunted, I joined the Ron Swanson Along and picked out my fabrics.  Happy Zombie’s version is pretty much one color scheme, but I liked the idea of having a separate color for the background.  I also really wanted the hair and moustache to stand out a bit, so I added a range of browns to the black and greys and chose aqua for the background.  Manly colors, all the way!

 I also wanted to scale down the size a bit from her tutorial so that hubby could bring Ron into his office to keep him company during the work week.  I scaled down the squares to 1.5”.  Now just so you know, each block was 10 squares by 10 squares.  And there were 12 blocks.  Ugh.  The cutting, my god the cutting!  I think I practically got a blister on my finger from all the rotary cutting, but I just knew that it would be SO worth it.

I worked and worked on the Swanson mini at every free second for those two weeks.  After a couple of days of sneaking around behind his back, I figured out a key point that I will probably use to my advantage again:  if I don’t physically bring him over to the sewing machine or ironing board or prompt him to come and look at a project, he will NEVER ask what I am working on. So I was able to work away right under his nose and still keep the gift a surprise.  Yay!  I finished sewing on the binding by noon on the Saturday of our anniversary dinner and wrapped it all up with a card that alluded to me never becoming one of his “Tammy’s.” 

The look of confusion melting into utter delight and amazement when he opened up the quilt was just perfection.  I don’t think I’ve ever been so satisfied with a gift I’ve given him.  It got even better when I asked him to turn it over and he saw the extra little something that I created for the back.

Scrappy eggs and bacon - because any Ron Swanson fan needs to have ALL the eggs and ALL the bacon.
I loved this from start to finish – even when all those hundreds of squares felt a bit too much, I’d get a glimpse of moustache or furrowed brow and it just all felt worth it.  Plus I felt like I was giggling and running Parks & Rec lines through my head the entire time that I was sewing.  It was pure bliss!

The cherry on top was that when I posted up pictures in the Ron Swanson Along Flickr page, I got comments and praise from Monica herself!  And then she pinned it as well!  I felt a little star struck.

And just in case you were wondering, Nick Offerman HAS seen Monica’s quilt and even SIGNED IT for her!!  Gasp!  Now THAT is better than a meat tornado. 


  1. You literally made my week, Stephanie. (Bam, Chris Traeger-ism!)

    1. Monica, you beautiful tropical fish...thank you!! :)

  2. LOVE IT!!! This is just so fabulous:-)

  3. What fun! I love it when an awesome idea strikes for a man-quilt, and it's even better when the idea turns out amazing. Impressive!

  4. Priceless. I love ALL the eggs and ALL the meat on the back. lol

  5. How cool! What a great gift. Love the eggs and bacon. Such tiny pieces too. I love a quilt with a great story. Thanks for sharing this link with me.