This quilting journey began in New Zealand in 2006, with a group of ladies that included my good friend Cindy. The only project I finished in New Zealand was a “crazy quilt” minister’s stole that I won’t blog about here because a) I don’t have any decent pictures and b) I had no flippin’ idea what I was doing and it’s a little embarrassing to think about how I constructed that stole. Hey, it was made with love, right? But I digress.
Fast forward to 2011. One of my earliest quilts, a fish quilt, went to baby Bennett. Well Bennett’s grandma happens to be that same Cindy, who was getting ready to be ordained by her new church in Australia. She was visiting in the US for Bennett’s birth, and brought up that stole that I had made in New Zealand. I told her I had learned a lot since 2006 and she wondered if I wouldn’t try again, and make her a stole for her ordination. I said of course I would try!
She wanted to have a say in the colors, but have the rest be a surprise. So we picked out some lovely batik fabrics and I started plotting. My first challenge was that I really had no idea how big it should be. I worked up a pattern that I thought I could pull off and sent this diagram to Cindy’s partner in Oz, who measured another of Cindy’s stoles and sent me the dimensions. Challenge #1 resolved.
Cindy pointed out that since ministers sometimes baptize babies, and those babies sometimes throw up on said minister, that the stole needed to be washable. Challenge #2. The last request she had was to include somewhere on the stole, a small version of a bunny picture that had been custom painted for Bennett. Challenge #3.
So I was off to the fabric store to find out about printable fabric and washable, shiny, satiny backing fabric. Thank God for fabric stores with knowledgeable people! They handed me a box with printable iron-on fabric that had decent instructions so, challenge #2 taken care of. Then they helped me with backing. I ended up with some really cool red fabric and fusible interfacing, so challenge #3 down. I was really glad that I had worked with interfacing on the earlier tote bag project.
Now for assembly. The plan was to make a bunch of flying geese blocks and string them together to create a chevron effect. The hardest part would be where it all comes together in the back. To be honest, I don’t really remember how I pulled that off, but I was pleasantly surprised with the final result. I added a little covered cord that was stitched into the top-stitching seam on both sides to keep the back of the stole from riding up. Then Bennett’s bunny pic went on the underneath side of the back “V” and I was done. There were way too many learning experiences on this small project:
- I am not a seamstress. This was my first (and last time) working with satiny fabric and fusible interfacing. I loved the look, but I think I’ll stick to “normal” quilting fabrics.
- The printable fabric was pretty easy to work with. The colors came out true and the iron-on worked well. I wasn’t sure of the longevity given that it may get washed a lot, so I printed extras and sent those along too.
- I really, really struggle turning tiny things inside out. It was my first time doing a covered cord. Not the last, but I haven’t the patience to do it very often.
- Shipping to Australia takes forever and the tracking wasn’t all that helpful. For a long time I thought the package was lost. But it finally arrived and Cindy loved it. Yay!