Monday, 15 April 2013

Strawberry Friends Forever...story of a quilt

You know things have been a little hard here, events since December etc etc- I am not going to bore you with the details.  For the last few months I have had many messages of support for which I am dearly grateful.  I have had cards, messages and gifts... so many gifts that I felt I couldn't keep shaing them here as it would just seem like my life was a succession of presents in the post!  But there have been so many, I have even commented to friends and it was kinda strange in a lovely way.  And then Penny told me that she wanted to Skype with me becuase she was going to send me something funny.  A box arrived and I thought Penny might have been very bad and either sent me one of her quilts or made me a blanket covered in bras and pants fabric or something funny like that!  Oh I was so wrong, it was all a ruse and they all knew, except me, that this was inside...
Twenty quilty friends had each made my Sew-Ichigo Strawberry block and a bigger version of the traditional Friendship block (I made a pillow of this block).  They used fabrics they knew I would love, fabrics we have swapped and shared, precious and collectable fabrics of my dreams.  They stitched their names and Penny put them all together used a gorgeous green sashing (Topography from Architextures and a Suzuko Koseki daisy print border and binding.  She used my new glue method so she could machine bind and I had even commented on her binding on Instagram- "Nice binding Pen, what's that quilt?"  but she fobbed me off and I believed her.  And then she sent me an invitation to the private Flickr group where they had been plotting Strawberry Fields for the last few months, including a rota where they took it in turns to send me gifts hence the constant stream of parcels!  I had no idea, not a clue!
And the back is beautiful too...
This quilt is big, big enough for me to (reluctantly) share it on the sofa with D and L.  Too big to phtograph in my tiny house so I took it to show my friend Kathy and she and her son held it up for these pics and let me drape it over their couches in the sunny living room.

I couldn't take pics of every single one as it would make the longest post ever and maybe break the internet but here are a few random ones as we moved everyone out of the way on a Sunday morning at Kathy's house.
I can see Laurraine's deep dark strawberry, and Kristas's pretty siggy block
 I can identify these by fabric alone.  The colours drop hints, and the choices really do tell me who made what. Amy's bright red retro Strawberry next to Nova's Umbrella Prints raindrop strawberry.  Lynne's strawberry made from one of her favourite fabric ranges (Sandy Klopp's Punctuation) next to Leila's pastel Japanese prints
Angela's siggy block, I knew it was her fabrics straightaway!  I think the black Little Folks 'Buttoned up' Anna Maria Horner print gave her away!
Ayumi's sweet siggy which has one of my vintage fabrics in, a peek of Chase's Denyse fabric strawberry top right and Amy's siggy block below which has the Sevenberry floral that I still go nuts over.
Sonja's juicy grid strawberry, Lori's fussy cut friendship block,  Marit's strawberry in divine Kumiko Fujita sewing notions print, and Charise's vintage sewing inspired print choices.

Brioni's pretty repro fabrics and sweet embroidery.
Penny's perfect stitches and snippets of Garden Party, Amber's strawberry with the cutest leaves
 Doe's feedsack strawberry ( I swear she has the best stash ever), Megan's fussy cuts- the chicken in there makes me laugh and the scale of her prints is perfect!

A glorious picture with the sun pouring in...
Elnora's wonderful Japanese prints in her blocks- she has such great taste in fabrics. 
And then the icing on the cake,the bit that made me cry, along with the whole emotion and kindness of it all- Penny's embroidered panel, 
"more than kisses, quilts mingle souls; For thus friends absent speak"
Penny didn't know this, but John Donne, the writer of the original quote this is based on, is one of my favrouite poets.  I studied English Literature at Uni and Metaphysical poetry was my love.
The time, effort, thought, love, care, skill they poured into this project amazes me.  I have had separate conversations over the last few months with the people in this group, they have shared their own hardships and difficulties.  Quilters are an empathetic bunch and behind that often lies heartbreak, dealing with loss, health problems, family troubles, and the quilter ready to make a big warm beautiful blanket to hold and comfort those that are hurting.  Despite my best efforts I have felt so negative, ineffectual and down recently but the gesture warmth in this quilt and all those many packages has made me feel differently about myself and I feel well and truly loved.  These friendships run deep, I will be there for these women like they are there for me. Miles make no difference.
sib blog

56 comments:

  1. What a fabulous quilt! You just can't beat quilters!

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  2. OK now I have tears in my eyes you are truly blessed.

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  3. Oh Kerry, what a wonderful gift! I'm welling up at the thoughtfulness and time that all your lovely friends have put in to this fabulous quilt for you. What a truly wonderful way to send a hug! Enjoy your snuggles x

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  4. Incredibly beautiful and thoughtful work from your friends. Such a precious treasure! Also love their clever scheming!!

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  5. Made me cry just a bit. How sweet. It is wonderful to be appreciated and encouraged by friends when things are tough. It is a beautiful treasure. You are cared about!

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  6. What a beautiful and thoughtful gift x

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  7. Scheming quilters are the best!!! xxxx

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  8. This is literally a friendship quilt in all the meanings of the word.
    Gorgeous!

    Now you must know how dearly loved you are.

    And I cannot agree more: "sheming quilters really are the best"

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  9. i'm so glad that some quilty love was sent to you by so many dear friends. i hope that sweet gifts and strawberries and springtime bring you healing, Kerry.
    xoxo,
    m

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  10. You have very lovely friends indeed!

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  11. What an amazingly thoughtful gift. A small group of us did something similiar for a dear friend of ours who was going through some sadness of her own. It truly is a heartwarming tribute and I was honored to be a part of it.

    I hope that this quilt brings you many smiles to come.

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  12. That's so lovely. I mean, the quilt itself is beautiful. But the fact that it is so full of love? That's pretty special and therefore you must be too. Coz all those clever ladies can't be wrong, right? Right.

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  13. Waaaaahh, booo hooo hooo, you made me cry Kerry. I am glad we made you smile though. It was a beautiful post.

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  14. What a tender, sweet story. I am on your IGram feed and came over when I saw you post about this. Loved loved this, and what an infinite treasure! Thanks for writing it up--and congrats to you for having such a lovely bouquet of quilty friends. Treasures, all.

    Elizabeth E.
    opquilt.com

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  15. Aww, lovely quilt for a lovely lady, and made with obvious love.

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  16. What a beautiful, loving gesture! You will treasure this quilt long after sunny skies have returned to you.

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  17. How incredibly wonderful! Quilters and seamsters rock. Take care and sleep well knowing how much you are loved. :-)

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  18. Outstanding testament to quilty love :). Truly amazing this quilt is!

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  19. oh.. my eyes are watering.. glad S is in bed or she wonders why mama is crying like a baby. Quilts warms many souls and hearts in many way.. Hugs to you Kerry.. xx

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  20. What a beautiful quilt made with lots of love and friendship! Thank you, Kerry, for sharing such an amazing post (and the amazing quilt) with us. So touching and very special. Lots of love to you!!

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  21. This is most definitely a labor of love and display of affection for you from all your friends all over the world. I don't know what you are going through, but please now you are in my thoughts and prayers.
    The quilt is so spectacular and so personal...it made me cry too.

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  22. You're so diligent !! Great work . I'm thinking about making something like this, but I'm not that patient and skilled ^^; *claps*

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  23. it's so beautiful - the quilt and the love behind it. Hadley is right - scheming quilters really are the best!

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  24. What a beautiful quilt, and a wonderful story behind it. R xxx

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  25. beautiful, beautiful, beautiful - the quilt, the gorgeous women who made it for you, you, and your words. I love John Donne too, my favourite of his lines (that I can remember ... possibly incorrectly ... ) is 'thy firmness makes my circle just and makes me end where I begun'. Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful pics and story. Catherine.

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  26. It is truly wonderful to have such lovely friends that care beyond beyond ~ hope things are better for you ~ you have so much love in your life.

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  27. Wow. That one will keep you warm long after it is threadbare.

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  28. Aww this is such a great post, Kerry. I think the poet Penny embroidered concludes this whole thing beautifully. There is nothing like a big quilt with lots and lots of love..! You are so loved!

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  29. Aw! How amazing! That is a fantastic quilt! What a treasure!!

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  30. This is such a lovely gift - such tender good friends you all are! It's a magnificent effort and you will always treasure it. It reminds me that we are here to CONNECT. I am inspired, thank you, to find a group that I can connect to as I work mostly in solitude.
    Thanks again for sharing-
    best,
    Jody

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  31. Kerry, you have the best friends! That beautiful and so unique quilt surely makes you feel a little bit better even can't take away difficulties. Big hug and sunshine! x Teje

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  32. What a beautiful and special thing to do, I am sure it helps to know you are thought about and loved like this xx

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  33. That is amazing! You are truly blessed! I hope your health improves soon!

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  34. Oh I'm bawling over here Kerry! Such a lovely post and write up of the quilt and gifts. I love that you knew us all by our fabrics!!

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  35. A beautiful post Kerry, you have some amazing quilty friends. A truly amazing gift that you will no doubt treasure forever, enjoy your 'snuggle time', sending you best wishes xx

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  36. Oh gosh. We're all having a communal cry together! I love quilters. I know that you will feel the love and friendship infused into every stitch whenever you snuggle up under your quilt. I will never underestimate the power of a handmade gift made with thoughtfulness and love. I hope it brings you some comfort xxxx

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  37. totally amazing!! How lovely to know you have wonderful people that care about you so much. Something to treasure forever. Not sure how I could possibly thank everyone if this happened to me. I would be in tears the whole time!

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  38. You're welcome Kerry... and I'm crying now too! I have never had the opportunity to snuggle under a quilt especially made for me by 20 quilty friends but I'm certain I would be overwhelmed by love knowing that friends from across the globe came together to make it... knowing that they had poured their love into each stitch... I would feel like everyone was there with me giving me a huge group hug! I'm happy that you feel the same :o) It certainly was fun being sneaky!! Big Hugs, L xoxox

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  39. And thank you so much for the wonderful photos and details of the quilt! I feel like I'm getting my first good look at it.

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  40. What a beautiful gift Kerry, in every way. I hope things improve for you soon

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  41. Tears are welling in my eyes as I read this Kerry! We love you and it was SO fun to work on it for you!!

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  42. What a treasure--the quilt and especially the friendships.

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  43. What wonderful friends Kerry and such a beautiful and personal quilt. It re-iterates the thoughts we feel as we quilt for someone we know and love..the good wishes in every stitch ..they shine through across the miles into the heart of the recipient. This quilt has most definately given you a hug and you know now how it feels to be on the receiving end...priceless feelings. May your heart and stitches be gladdened with renewed vigour and zest for life, whatever it throws in your path. x

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  44. What a wonderful quilt and I am so glad that they made it for you!

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  45. A beautiful quilt for a beautiful person - inside and out xx

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  46. Just getting around to reading this now and I'm sending a big squishy hug your way. It was an honor and joy to be able to be a part of this quilt.xoxox

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  47. So lovely. So glad that they were able to brighten your day and your space in a way that made you feel their love. xo

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  48. It's a beautiful quilt Kerry and I know the feeling of wrapping myself in friends like you! Hope your days strawberrylicious!

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  49. Oh this is SO LOVELY!!!! What a wonderful generous gift!!! Beautiful!
    Cat

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