I haven't had a chance to write a blog post for a while but I thought this was the perfect opportunity.
I'm not sure if everyone is aware of the signature quilt that 29 quilter's and I organised as a gift for Jan-Maree way back in 2013 as a thank you for what she doe's for Aussie Hero's. Unfortunately this beautiful quilt was lost in the fire in June this year.
As soon as all our quilters heard about the fire the secret messaging began...what can we do... we want to make a new quilt... how can we do it..... Lots of lovely quilters had the same idea...."Lets make a New Quilt"
Naomi (Tech Guru) who had organised the first quilt contacted me about getting something organised..... so the task began. We mulled over ideas and eventually after much deliberation we decided on a design, then Naomi set to writing a tutorial for the block. Naomi and I contacted a few others: Lisa, Lynn, Clarissa to try to get an list of emails we could send the details to. We couldn't go direct to the one who knows everything, plus the AHQ laptop with all the names had just been lost.
Please understand if you didn't get the original email asking for blocks, it wasn't through lack of trying.
Helen was in charge of collecting all the blocks from the Post Office box, Blocks, blocks and more blocks arrived for the quilt.
The idea behind the quilt was not to replicate it but to create something unique that lots more quilters could be involved in. I remembered the quilt that was on the back wall of Jan-Maree's lounge room and that featured in many a photo on the AHQ blog and facebook page. This quilt was also destroyed. Here is the link to the original story. JM's quilt 2013
The other thing that came to mind was the lead light window from the front of the house that survived the fire and had a great patchwork feel and would make a lovely centre piece for the quilt.
The star at the top of the quilt centre features some of the fabric from the original quilt.
I copied the trees then it was time to work on the house, and I wanted it to represent Aussie Hero Headquarters. So of course the roof is camouflage fabric, there's an Australian Flag on the door and there is a certain someone in the window looking out.
I finished the centre with some small pinwheels which also featured on the lead light window. Of course since I'm a huge Tula Pink fan (for those not in the know she is a fabric designer), I surrounded the centre in the red ladybug fabric from her fabric collection. According to folklore, a ladybug brings good luck to a person on whom it lands. So I made sure that Jan-Maree had lots of ladybugs surrounding her house. These represent everyone who has been touched by what Jan-Maree has done, and still does, for our Defence Force members and their families, as well as the quilters who have also formed friendships and enjoyed being part of this awesome group.
All the blocks were trimmed to size.......then arranged in a pleasing order around the centre block.
There are 120 individual signature blocks on this quilt and that is quite an achievement. I know there will be quilters who have missed out on sending in a block, but rest assured if you sign a 4in calico square we will be able to hand sew them to the back.
Once the blocks and centre were sewn together I added the black cherry fabric to frame the quilt. The significance of the cherries goes back to Jan-Maree before Aussie Hero's. She had a blog called Cherry Red Quilter which she no longer had time to keep up once Aussie Heroes was created.
The next task was to quilt it... I found the perfect cherry design and set to get the quilt finished. I had planned to have it finished for the AHQ dinner... but found out that I was unable to attend because of work commitments, so I aimed for her birthday.
But then whilst visiting Jan-Maree a couple of weeks before the dinner, she had told me that she had organised to make a signature quilt to take to the dinner....... AHHHHH...... wow did I have to keep my face composed. Then I started to panic.... wow all the quilters that are going to the dinner and were part of our signature quilt will be wondering where there blocks were.
Oh well there was nothing I could do but soldier on and send out a note to all to say keep calm I'm quilting on and it will be finished soon I promise.
Here are some photo's of the quilting in progress, and an unfortunate stitching line placement that was out of my control...... JM doesn't mind I stitched through the centre of her face.... all in the name of quilt making.
The quilt was bound and a hanging sleeve added so that JM could hang it in her new house and she will know that we were all thinking of her when life threw her a curve ball. Thank you to Sue G who hand stitched the binding in place.
I finally finished sewing the label early yesterday morning.
Jan Maree had a small birthday gathering last night with some of her local quilters and her close family friends and I thought it was the perfect place to do the presentation.
Here are some of the photo's from the night and as you can tell from the look on her face she loved it.
Thank you to everyone who participated and your patience and faith in me to complete the task.