Sharing fabric cuttings with my worldwide friends

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Where Poppies Grow Progressing towards a Finish.

The last couple of months have been dominated by working to put together my quilt top for the Poppies project.

The top is now what I am calling done and ready to go to the longarm quilter. I say "calling done" because a couple of weeks back I thought I was done but then decided to make a few changes.

When you are working on a block of the month project things evolve during the process. Sometimes what you did at the beginning,and seemed right at the time, no longer look quite as right once all the blocks are done.

The February block, Love Entangled, as made I was quite happy with. This is how it looked:

However, once all the blocks were made and together as a set that pale color in the outer edge really jumped out. It is said that if one particular fabric or color jumps out at you the solution is to add more of it. But in this instance, with all the blocks made, I could not come up with a way to add more of it. So the only solution  was to remake it:

I think the block looks less interesting now but it does fit more happily into the set.

The September block, Red Cross, was one where I needed to ignore one of my own rules about the colors I was using. Because of the name of the block I really did need to use the color red and this was how it looked:
Again, when I had made the block I was quite happy with it. But put together as a set and those four red squares in the corners really needed to go. I auditioned several fabrics in there but eventually decided that plain corners looked the best and so the block had a renovation and now looks like this:

Golly, it looks vastly different doesn't it? Really all I did was to change out the corners. But this is the result of using two different cameras as well as photographing outside versus inside. Ditto the first block.

The original blocks as made by the designer were in a red , white and blue colorway. By choosing to make mine primarily in the taupe/khaki colors of the army uniform it did change how the fabrics contrast with each other.  In remaking the February block I happened to look back at the original pattern and see that the way I have arranged the fabrics in that outer edge is different from the original, thus making it my own version.

My Grandpop was in the devastating World War I battle that took place in Gallipoli, Turkey in April 1915 with huge loss of life among the Allies. New Zealand and Australia have long marked this battle by the observation of Anzac Day on April 25. This year, being the centenary of that battle, the services on Anzac Day will be ever more poignant and many added special observances will be taking place there. My way of marking the centennial will be showing you my finished quilt so don't forget to check back here on that date and see the finished quilt.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

My Sister's Quilt Legacy

March 3 is the day that should have been my beloved big sister Kerry's 64th birthday. Sadly, cancer took her early aged 62.

Today I have been thinking about something we shared as sisters for many decades and that was quilt making.  Kerry came to visit me in 1981 shortly after I had finished taking a session of beginners quilting lessons and she was eager to give this new craft a try also.  Thus began an interest that was to keep us together for the rest of her life although in all that time we were always living in different countries (she stayed in New Zealand but I have bopped around from place to place).

 In the mid 1990's Kerry and I started a round robin group; this proved to be an enduring love and our group (some of the members changed from time to time) had a wonderful experience making quilt tops together for each other until 2013. We allowed ourselves two years per robin and met together at the New Zealand Quilt Symposium to reveal the most recent robin and hatch plans for the next one. We always had a lot of fun - the photo above is from the Wellington Symposium in April 2009 - and that's Kerry on the right and the fabulous Judy on the left. Kerry, Judy and I were in the founding group of six and participated in every round robin project through the years.
 Kerry made several quilted gifts for me and I treasure them. This one above was after she had taken a class with Mary Transom. Kerry and I both enjoyed taking classes with Mary at Symposiums.
 This little gem hangs where I see it every morning as I come downstairs. Around the time Kerry made this for me she used to see a family of Pukeko (a native New Zealand bird) every morning on her drive to the office.
 For our robin that was unveiled at the Queenstown Symposium in 2011 we had each chosen a word. Blocks were then made by each robin that illustrated the word and the last robin in the rotation had to put all the blocks together to make a finished top.  Here is the delighted owner Rhonda, on the left with the clever finisher Kerry on the right. Yes, Rhonda's word was "handbags".
 I guess our round robins had their introduction in this quilt (above) that Kerry and I made to present to our parents on their Golden Wedding Anniversary, May 3, 1997.  We first chose a multi colored print (that's it in the second to outer border) to use as the basis for our color scheme. Then we divided up the rounds and with Kerry living in NZ while I was in New Jersey, USA we began cutting and stitching. Fortuitously shortly after this I moved to Melbourne, Australia so it was easier to collaborate as we could see each other more often.
Here's a shot of a portion of the reverse side of the quilt. I turned over a corner so you could see the outer border more easily as I was not able to fit the entire quilt into the photo above.  But I'm including the reverse side for a major reason and that is labels. Kerry was a wonderful quiltmaker as you can tell from the few things I have shown you but...she was terrible at making labels to put on the back with details to document her work. For "GW Quilt" we had each daughter, their spouses and children all make an individual label to attach to the back along with some leftover blocks. This quilt is well labelled but I cannot say the same for many others that came from Kerry.
 This is the last quilt top Kerry made. If you have been reading my blog for a while you will recall the Grandmother's Choice project that was a Barbara Brackman block of the week a few years back. Kerry had kept up very well with making the blocks despite her illness - it gave her a good distraction and she was keen to finish the project. I helped her out by putting on the final outer border of her theme fabric and then organizing for it to be quilted and bound.
 Here's a detail of the quilt after it came back from a stunningly prompt quilting job by Dawn Copp of Cambridge Quilting. Like several of us doing the project Kerry had fun with fussy cutting.
 After Kerry's funeral I packed up two of her round robin tops to bring them home with me to be quilted and finished. Also in her cupboard I found these blocks so they went in my bag as well.
What was the intended finish I wonder? Was this stunning circular center to go with the NY Beauty blocks above? Another legacy - unfinished projects not stored with a pattern.

And I'm going to close out with this photo. I won't embarrass all by naming them. Suffice to say those vibrant green tee shirts and the green wigs were all Kerry's doing and there she is kneeling right in the front.

Looking at all these photos it shouldn't be too difficult for you to figure out what Kerry's favorite fabric color was to work with. 

Yes, we had a lot of fun. It's been good to remember Kerry today.

Let her legacy be a reminder to all to label your quilts so your sister is not the only one who knows (or does not) all the details about the quilt treasure.