This quilt has a very fast and furious history. With lots of admiration and respect thrown in for good measure. Five weeks ago, Jacquie announced that she was moving to Chicago. Translation= she was leaving the guild we started together. She’d already called me with an “Are you sitting down?” greeting and I knew in my heart what she was about to tell me. My husband is in the consulting profession, too, and I know that sometimes you just have to move in order to see your husband on more than a ‘weekends only’ basis. I thought to myself, “Shea, let the first thing out of your mouth be a positive statement.” But I was so bummed. Before I hung up the phone, I’d already formulated a plan.
I’m sure she knew I was up to something, as begged me not to ‘make a fuss.’
I said I wouldn’t.
She told me I was full of ____.
And she was right.
A few quick e-mails later, the plan for the Windy City quilt was in motion. The members of the Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild are, quite simply, some of the very best people I know. The guidelines were:
- make a signature block that is 6.5″ (unfinished)
- use shades of orange (Jacquie’s favorite), gray, black and white
- piece it improvisationally if possible, because that is what Jacquie is all about
- and, one more thing….. do these blocks by the meeting the following week. Eek!
Two members, Melissa and Paula, were the point people at the August meeting. They gathered the blocks in stealth mode, I am told. Since I was still on the West Coast, I had to mail my own block in and my mom (bless her!) pieced the top and back together. Angela (bless her, too!) quilted it and then my mom and I tag teamed the binding.
But the truly amazing work came from the members of the guild who created some of the most thoughtful and beautiful blocks ever. My mom and sister were sending me text message photos of the blocks on their drive home from the meeting that night!
There are 64 blocks and not a single one is duplicated. Just look at them!
Jaime, our resident Bernina
pusher queen, make this fabric Bernina. It is incredible!
Andrea tried a new to her technique for her “I am loved” block. I need to ask her how she did that!
For my part, I wanted to make a block that looked like two opposing city skylines. Around one set of ‘buildings’ I wrote a message to her. Around the other, I wrote a list of things we’ve shared together over the last two years: ‘Ning debates. Panera dates. Long phone calls. Laughter. Market hotel shenanigans. Friendship.’ (Oh, Ning.com. How we do regret not sticking with you!)
I think the best part is that, for many people, this was one of the first times where they really ‘let go’ and improvised their piecing. That is one tangible bit of evidence of Jacquie’s influence on the guild. All the best teachers leave you wanting to learn more, long after your time in their classroom is over. (Not that the guild is a classroom and she the teacher…. I think you know what I mean there.)
We decided on a plan to present the quilt to her by showing it as the last quilt in Show and Tell at our meeting last night. She probably didn’t notice 80 people shifting in their seats and sitting up a little more as the moment neared, but I sure did. It was fun to introduce the quilt and watch her face as she realized what it was and that it was all for her.
Then she wore it as a cape. Mission accomplished!
The layout for the quilt was similar to a quilt that Carla made recently
. We changed some dimensions, but the overall feel is the same. We knew the blocks needed to be broken up a bit, but we didn’t want to do plain old sashing. Just in case anyone is planning to do something similar, here is the pattern sheet I sent to my mom for piecing: Windy City quilt top directions.
I know it wasn’t the last time we’ll see Jacquie at a KCMQG event. And it sure won’t be the last time I see that quilt… I told her to expect a houseguest in Chicago!