It all started exactly a year ago. I was coming home from a long arm quilt conference and got stuck in a snowstorm. During that time I get an email from a board member of the Wayside Quilt Guild, of which I am a member. She asks me if I would coordinate the raffle quilt for the guild’s next quilt show, a year and a half away. In previous years, this quilt has earned the guild a large sum of money so this is important. So I sit in my hotel room with a sketchbook, fresh from 4 days of long arm training and inspiration, and come up with a sketch. Sample blocks were made up once I got home.
I realized everyone in the guild is not at the same skill level and I wanted everyone to participate. I made up three paper pieced patterns all at 6 ½” square. The easiest pattern was the piano key border, made up of 3 x (2 ½” x 6 ½”) pieces. The next level of difficulty was the flying geese. Everyone loves flying geese. It’s a quilt staple. A square of geese consisted of 3 geese at 2 ½” x 6 ½”. Lastly the most difficult was the star unit I took from a Carol Doak book. A 6 ½” quarter star was paper pieced in 2 pieces then sewn together. Only the more advanced ladies in our guild took this pattern. After drafting all three patterns, I figured out what size pieces needed to be cut for each and wrote basic instructions on each pattern. I photocopied each pattern and Susan offered to cut up the Kona. Each of the Kona pieces would make 2 blocks. The ladies of the guild were to donate bright batiks from their stash for the insides of the star, geese and piano keys.
Its almost summer break. I’ve been handing out patterns and silver Kona for 2 months now. I keep reminding the ladies of the guild that I need their squares by the September meeting. I had no clue as to what I would get in return.
The September meeting arrives and I get all sorts of blocks tossed at me. I received 60 quarter star blocks, 55 flying geese blocks and 100 piano key blocks. I only needed 52 piano key blocks to make the outer border so ended up putting the remainder on the back side.
My committee got together one morning. I put up a design wall and we played with stars, geese paths. When we had the quilt designed where we all seemed to agree, we switched a few blocks around for better color distribution. I went shopping with another committee member to find that skinny ½” inner border. Many batiks later and climbing up and down a ladder for a better visual, we decided the black with small orange spots popped the most. I found an orange batik backing that coordinated. We met up again to stitch the inner border and all those piano keys.
By January the quilt was on my long arm. Again, I doodled on photocopies of the quilt for best design choices. I selected an orange variegated thread. I wanted the stars to swirl so free handed a helix design I learned from Sue at Kismet Quilting. On the few negative gray spaces, I quilted the quarter star in. I wanted the flying geese to pop out so quilted dense lines outside of them. I spent the better part of the week, or a good 24 hours, quilting this quilt.
Lastly I bound the quilt in the black to repeat that inner border. Here you can see the star design I shadowed into the outside piano key border.
This is the back side, using every one of those leftover piano keys.
The quilt show will be at the end of September but in the meantime, we need to promote the quilt. I will get members of the guild to display the quilt at shops around town to sell raffle tickets to the public. One lucky person will win this quilt on September 30.
Overall this was a fun experience. I had a vision. I shared it with the guild. The ladies of the guild sewed all those blocks and my committee helped with the layout and sewing together. I was afraid a committee would not agree but this was not the case at all. A few minor disagreements of opinion but nothing we couldn’t work out. It was fun, I made new friends in the process, and have an awesome quilt we are all proud to raffle off for the benefit of the guild.