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.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.
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.