Showcasing my favourite quilt hmmmm....
Welcome to my entry to the Blogger's Quilt Festival and thank you Amy (Park City Girl) for organising it!
Now it is not as if I have got so many to choose from.... lol ! As a beginning quilter (although, with growing stash and experience, I may now call myself .... what? intermediate? advancing?), I do have a limited amount of quilts completed and most of them have been been on this blog. Some of them once or twice, others, it seems, forever!
One of my favourites however is the one I made (in collaboration with Tia) for the Australian bushfire appeal. Totally inexperienced, I tried the wonky star and quickly got the hang of it. I made some more and it occurred to me I might manage a whole top. So I set to work.
In my small stash, I had a little pile of fabrics I had kept for a special occassion. I had found, in a vintage dress shop, an oldfashioned Laura Ashley dress. Not being into vintage dressing, I bought it and carefully unpicked the seams to save the fabric (sorry vintage dressers...). The fabric being the softest to the touch and the image a most beautiful delicate flower in a soft reddish/pink with soft green leaves. I found some quilting cotton in exactly the same colours and had kept it to make a quilt one day when I found the right pattern as I loved the colours together. That day had come! The pattern had found its way to me and the quilt had a purpose.
The quilts being made for the people who lost everything in the fires, I wanted to convey the love we all feel for those affected to let them know that they are not alone, that we are all thinking of them and sending positive thoughts across the universe and so included some hearts.
The hearts were a real labour of love.... Not having done applique before, not having the books or the classes I just drew a heart freehand and cut roughly out 1/4" from the line (as I was taught, on the wrong side of the fabric) and then tried to turn under as accurately as I could... gestimating whether I was on the line or not by frequently turning.... No knowledge of templates, old english paperpiecing or indeed freezer paper! (I discovered freezer paper this week!! Boy am I excited!! A whole new world has opened up.. you can be SO much more Accurate!! A-ma-zing stuff!!). The hearts were harder to do therefore than the stars...
The other hard thing was joining up the blocks and have a junction of four seams... Since then I have been extremely lucky to have taken part in the Old Red Barn Quilt along with Dana's excellent tutorial on this and I NOW know about the importance of good ironing and ironing one seam to one side and another to the other to get the top to lie flat... Then however, I did not know how to match up the seams and tried by matching them by eye, pinning the long seam at intervals (not at junctions as I was afraid to break the needle, illogical, I know!) and hoping they would not shift... How I managed I don't know (lots of unpicking) but I was determined to finish the top and send some love to Victoria from the UK.
I then started on the back and made a large wonky star in the centre and strips around it to reach the required size. To my dismay I did not have enough fabric to go around again and I had not reached the required size.... What to do.... That was the moment the whole house got ill as well and I panicked more and more about the quilt and the deadline... How was I going to get the backing finished and the quilting done? (also something I had never done before....).
The deadline for quilt sending approached and as it was a fair way from the UK to Australia (where Tia who organised it all was at the time). I knew I would not manage to learn how to quilt, get the quilting done and have it all sent to Australia in time... I did not even have the backing finished. So I decided to cry a big "HELP" to Tia the Magician and sent the whole lot to Australia... the top, the backing (which was too small so branded a '2nd top'), the allready cut up and joined binding and all the leftover fabric... I was at the end of my abilities and time... and a bit sad I had not managed to do what I set out to do. Mainly, I think, because it all took me so long as I had to learn along the way how to do it. Now I could do a top like that in about a quarter of the time... having learnt so much (it is incredible really what a difference the internet community has made for me in such a relatively short space of time ... I met wonderful people, they have all been so helpful and have learnt so much!)
Tia found the solution in saying... why does the backing star have to be in the centre and all the fabrics matching around it? (my mind trying to be methodical and mirror matching for this quilt.. I wouldn't have even thought about making things uneven!!) and she proceeded to sew on odd bits of fabric to make the backing the right size. There WAS enough fabric... just not enough of one single one to make it all the way round again. This concept was totally alien to me... but doesn't it look fantastic?
Before Tia had the quilt in her possession and fixed the back however, there were a few anxious weeks in which the parcel did not arrive... Tia was looking out for the mail every day... I tried to keep myself from mailling frequently... 'nothing yet?' until the day came Tia thriumphantly told me 'It has arrived!!'. Phew.... The relief was tinged with sadness... After all the hard work and trying to get the parcel to Australia in time, the quiltathon Tia had organised to finish off the quilting was done and dusted, the deadline gone, and Tia wrote in her blog she now had to go and organise her move to Kansas (understandably...). I felt deflated, it had all come to nothing.....and apologised to Tia for sending it to her so late....
Tia immediately wrote back 'Do Not Fret', and this wonderwoman not only finished the backing, she quilted and bound the quilt just ready for transport to Victoria (and mere days before moving from Australia to the USA!!). She told me she used a wonderful wool batting and a loose curl to quilt with so the soft Laura Ashley fabric was complimented by a soft feel of the quilt puckering up lovely between the quilting. Isn't it looking wonderful?
So this quilt is not really totally my quilt at all... The making was a collaboration between me and Tia and hopefully the new owner has received the quilt by now and will not only love and cherish it but also feel the love with which it was made by its two makers, hoping this will be a small pebble on the path to rebuilding their lives.
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5 months ago