Kris, a friend at work, had the horrifying experience of being diagnosed with breast cancer. A group of us decided to make a quilt for her to take to chemotherapy, as there was precious little else that we could do to help. The quilt was both crowd funded and crowd pieced. We decided to keep it a secret until we could present it to her just before starting chemo. It was easy to take up a collection because Kris was (is) so well liked by everyone at work. People that did not sew were able to participate by donating cash for fabric and for paying the longarmer. It was a sad time, but having the quilt to work on made us feel like we could make an ever-so-tiny difference.
The process of crowd piecing was a little bit more complicated than having just one person doing it, but the timeline was certainly faster. We started by picking a color theme. I don’t recall how we knew which colors Kris liked, but we settled on pinks, purples, greens and browns and everyone that had “stash” brought in fabrics. We had our own mini fabric store going in one of the cubicles! Jackie (of course) had the largest stash to pull from, including some “Quilt for the Cure” fabric. In short order seven of us had picked fabrics and were sent off with marching orders – make three to five 9 1/2″ unfinished blocks. We also had a deadline. It was a little bit like herding cats, but it was mostly pretty cooperative cats.
The pile of blocks grew and grew, and soon enough we got the gang together to decide how many blocks to use and how to lay them out. It was at that point we figured out that not everyone had made their blocks exactly the same size. We had planned to have sashing between the blocks anyway, so we ended up adding a 2″ border of sashing fabric to all the blocks, trimming them down to 12 1/2″, and then sewing them together in rows. It may have taken a while, but I’m not sure how else we could have worked with the different block sizes.
Once the blocks were sewn together, we looked at the border fabrics that we had chosen and decided that they just didn’t really work. So after quick trip to the fabric store and a couple executive decisions, we had new border fabrics that played much more nicely. Jackie did the final assembly and it was off to the longarmer for quilting. We chose Minky (of course) in a nice soft tan for the back of the quilt, and the pantograph Heartstrings.
We had enough leftover blocks that we thought we might be able to make them into a tote bag for the quilt. So we gave the extra blocks to Sally (this was before I knew that she was a crafting guru) and asked for a bag. She blew our minds by making a lined bag, with prairie points, inside pockets and padded straps. It was gorgeous!
The quilt and bag were presented to Kris at a well attended happy hour at the Grand Lodge McMenamins Grill. She had no idea the gifts were coming and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. As of this writing, Kris is in good health and we all hope it stays that way.