This is a story of a quilt. It begins once upon a time long long ago. In the early 1990’s there was a group of women, probably eight or more who met each month going home with a project. One month they decided to each make 9-patch blocks out of 2″ strips. So it came to pass that the 9-patches were completed and exchanged at the next meeting with each person going home with a varied stack of 9-patches. The hope was that each recipient would create something out of their new acquisitions. Indeed I know of one person who did. I also know for sure of two people who did not. I know that I was one who did not and I also know that my 9-patches have been mislaid.
Erika did make something of her 9-patches creating a wall hanging top that used the jewel colours of an Amish palette. Then at some time likely in the mid to late 2000 – 2010 Erika was cleaning out her quilt storage cupboard and decided that she wasn’t going to go any further with this quilt top. One day I was at her home an she tossed the quilt top in my direction saying you can do something with this. I dutifully took it home and put it in a pile of unfinished tops.
Fast forward to August of 2016. My cousin had a special birthday coming and I had an sudden thought that the appropriate gift would be a quilt. (The birthday was August 30th and those who know me well will know that I would have had no pressing plans for my time in August (NOT). I wanted the quilt to be a bed quilt. It seemed to me that a good place to begin would be with my unfinished tops. The top described above was the one chosen to complete.
The next step was to determine the size of the bed so I could see what needed to be added to the quilt top. I agreed to meet my cousin’s daughter at my cousin’s home while she was at work so that I could watch the children in the car while my cousin’s daughter measured the bed size. I was told that the three children were asleep in their car seats and I would just stand outside the vehicle to watch them. When I arrived at the back seat I found that two of the sleeping children had become tigers. The oldest woke. I was told about tigers including the noise (roaring) that they made which promptly woke the other two children. Luckily no one started to cry and I had the fun of enjoying a conversation the two tigers.
The bed size was unusual and clearly a wall hanging was too short for a bed. I decided to make the quilt so that it could serve as a bedspread. Next challenge was how to do this with the least amount of work as time was of the essence. I took the top to a friend’s when I went for a coffee and together we decided that some more 9-patch blocks would be part of the plan. However as I said my 9-patches were missing, i.e. somewhere in my studio stash not to be unearthed at this time. My friend Bev jumped up from her seat and rushed into her studio, returning with her stack of 9-patches and handed them over. Next step to find some solids that would work with the existing solid’s. Goal was to have the additional blocks look colourwise as if they had been a part of the original quilt. I believe that this was accomplished. Next design challenge was to determine where to add the additional blocks.
The top, 9-patches and fabric was bundled up and went with me to Art Quilt Campus in Muenster Sask. It went up on my design wall and I awaited inspiration. I thought out loud in conversation with Anna about how to do this while maintaining proportion and integrity of the design. The light came on and I unpicked the existing border. A row of 9-patch blocks were created to be added to each side of the centre portion of the top and two rows on the bottom. The quilt was packed up again and made its return journey home.
Now I had two days to complete the top. The 4 rows were added on Sunday. Monday saw 4 new 9-patch blocks created for the cornerstones and a pink inner and a blue outer border added to complete the enhanced top. Backing was found and prepared.
Next day the top went with me to a gathering of a small bee group where I cleaned the top with the help of Wanda and with the loan on her awesome new iron the top was readied for quilting.
I should say that when I decided to do the quilt for the birthday gift I immediately called Cheryl, a member of one of my bee groups to ask if she could squeeze me into her long arm schedule. She said that she would be able to do it for me if I had it to her by the 15th. It would be the last quilt that she could do before preparing for her son’s wedding on the 27th. So I arrived at Cheryl’s home on the afternoon of the 15th and we spend a couple of hours choosing appropriate motifs of feathers for the outer border, circles for the inner border and some curving floral designs that complemented the feathers for the inner top.
Home I went to prepare the binding as Cheryl got to the long arm machine. Cheryl was as good as her word and I had the quilt back the following Sunday. Binding was sewn on and the next few evenings were spent hand stitching the binding. Suddenly I remembered that hand stitching binding takes quite a bit of time. The quilt was completed by the next Sunday morning, a label was added explaining the many hands that contributed. There was just time to ice the carrot cake, pack the car and get to the surprise party before the birthday girl.
The older “tiger” helped Grandma open the parcels as quickly as possible. He was particularly interested in the large box. It revealed the quilt. The two children knew just what to do and quickly rolled themselves into the quilt.
This quilt constituted another first in our family. It was completely finished when opened and did not require taking back for finishing touched which is usual so I am especially delighted.