Sharing fabric cuttings with my worldwide friends

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.


Rhonda said...

That was a wonderful walk down memory lane!

Here's to Kerry!

We will never forget her or kiwi green

Thanks, Dorry for sharing


Judy said...

Thank you for sharing your Kerry treasures. I laughed ....I cried...I never even owned lime green fabric until I met you and Kerry.
I am so grateful to have a piece of Kerry in so many of my favourite quilts.
I hope you share some more of Kerry's quilts when they are quilted and bound.
I am off to make some labels.....

Cheryl Kotecki said...

This Memory Lane is a beautiful one to walk with you, Dorry - and with Rhonda and Judy since my contact with Kerry was also through the Round Robins and the two of them. Thank you for writing this tribute, Sister Dorry.

pinkdeenster said...

Thanks for sharing more of her work. I never met her, and always looked forward to her blocks for Grandmother's Chice I felt I got to know her just a tiny bit through thoe brief online encounters.

What a special bond you all had.

Heather said...

What a wonderful blog post Dorry. The famous, tiara wearing Judy sent me the link to it. I now know more about Kerry's quilting history after reading the blog. It must be bitter sweet going through her quilts and working on the unfinished projects. I am sure Kerry will be directing your sewing as you complete those quilts!