Sharing fabric cuttings with my worldwide friends

Friday, September 27, 2013

Grandmother's Choice - a Finished Top

Oh my, I was beginning to wonder if I would ever get to the end of this. And, truth to tell, it is not done yet - the top is assembled but I have a few turned seams to fix before it goes to the longarm quilter. At a finished size of 98" x 98" this is a perfect candidate for a longarm machine!
 For the setting I started out months ago with the concept to frame each 8" block in a 1" border of either green or purple thinking I would then just join them as is. But before I got all the blocks made I knew I was not happy with that concept. So sashing would be needed. I wanted to have white be a significant component of my quilt as the New Zealand suffragist colors were green, white and purple. Many times when photos of suffragist marches appeared on the Grandmother's Choice blog the women all wore white dresses and, for that reason, I chose a white dot fabric to represent the white dotted muslin gowns.

Decision making was not yet done however as corner stones would be needed. Should they be green or purple? A compromise was needed and I started with a band of pale purple followed by a band of green, then repeated both bands. My friend Rhonda came to stay when I was in the midst of trying to lay out the blocks and she was a grand help with that. Thanks Rhonda!  She is no doubt glad she did not have to be a part of all the other agonizing that came after that.

For my center block I chose block 15. That week was the one week the story focused on New Zealand with a block titled "Centennial - New Zealand's Victory". In 1993 Queen Elizabeth II created the New Zealand Suffrage Centennial Medal - it hangs from a ribbon of golden yellow bordered by white then finished in purple and I departed slightly from my color scheme to recognize that in my block. Then, to make it special as the focus block, I gave it a different 1" frame.

 Another block near and dear to me was the Seven Pointed Star for Australia, block 29. Having also lived in Australia I wanted to make this representative of that sunburnt country and this more yellowy green fabric seemed like a good choice. What was not so good was having to blend it in with the other greens.

Moving right along, I had purchased the white dotted fabric for the sashes on a whim - I happened to be in the quilt shop on the day it came in and the store owner predicted it would be sold out in a week. Well, she was right. Not knowing how much I would need I asked for 2 yards - let me tell you, I cut those sashing strips with great trepidation as two yards was exactly what I needed and there is only a sliver of maybe an inch left.

And now, what was I going to do about a border? Another friend suggested I go with an inner narrow border of green or purple followed by an outer border repeating the white. I set to and cut a big number of 2" x 1" rectangles to piece that inner border. Although I really do prefer to buy directly from a quilt shop when I had visited all the local stores (at least five) and no-one had more of that white dot I had to purchase three yards online for the outer border. Washed and pressed, it waited patiently while the blocks were all assembled in their neat rows.

I had the top draped over the ironing board and was all set to cut the borders until...I turned and looked and said out loud "nope, that white border will just not do it!" Another new plan needed. The size was now so large that an unpieced border would have been very bland to my eye so I decided to piece it in a number of green fabrics. Some of the chosen ones were used in the blocks and some of the border greens had never actually been cut into for this project. Each one was patiently selected to play nicely with the block it was next to.

Still looking to do something a little more detailed, I fussy cut corners for both the purple inner border and the green outer border. Maybe the secret name for this quilt will be The Fussy Cut Fiend!

My plan for this quilt is to sew white buttons in the center of each of the cornerstones once the quilting has been completed - the buttons will come from my mother's button jar and thus will be the appropriate finishing touch. Thank you to my sister, Kayelle Kiwi, for both parting with the treasures from the jar that has lived with her since our mother passed away in 1997 and mailing them to me.

A name for this quilt will be needed and usually I have settled on a name before a quilt is even half done. This one I am still mulling over - currently I am favoring "Kate Sheppard Had Friends" to honor Kate who was a leader in the NZ suffrage movement.

And it is fitting that I finished my top in September which marks 120 years since women in New Zealand made history when the bill supporting Women's Suffrage was passed on September 19, 1893. The day is known as White Camellia Day named after supporters of votes for women who wore a white camellia. Alas, I could not find a white camellia print fabric but the stylised flowers in the four corners will vaguely recall that aspect.

The entire project has been a great one to be a part of. It has been so much fun working along knowing many others worldwide are doing the same. The history stories, so well researched by Ms Brackman, became a vital part of my Saturday for 49 weeks. The self imposed rush to finish my block and get it posted on the flickr site by the end of Sunday? Suffice to say, that will not be missed.

Thanks for following along with me. What happens next?


Cheryl Kotecki said...

What a success! I will tell you that upon turning to this post this morning, and seeing the quilt, the first thing I saw was the block commemorating the early victory for Women's Right to Vote in New Zealand - how appropriate and beautifully it takes that center spot. The buttons you will add will make a significant detail in those cornerstones. This is quite a treasure for you and your family!

Rhonda said...

WOW! I sure do like it, and what a lot of decisions you have had to make and alter these past few weeks!I was glad to help, but really I don't think I did much. I am always happy to be consulted, but sure am glad I was not doing all the sewing of small frames, cornerstones and sashings! to say nothing of pieced borders.

It is a beautiful and meaningful quilt and I'm sure the workmanship is nearly perfect as well. Well done you!

Looking forward to seeing it finished the next time I visit.