A Quilt For Life – The Story Behind

Do you know what a quilt is?
No bother, I didn't know either.
Well, have a look at the pictures, they say it all.
I hope you read my other post A Quilt for Life – Fundraising for a Great Cause.

Monica, Martine, Simone and... I!
Two years ago, a friend of mine came at work with the idea of making a quilt for Nepal. Handmade from scratch.
I didn't know about it, and I was not invited to take part.
Honestly, I was not offended as I knew it was going to be very time consuming, and I didn't even think I could help anyway.

But when people started to pull off, my friends, especially Martine, had to sew more than they/she could manage.
I cannot stand seeing people in distress if I can do something to fix that.
So, I felt compelled to offer my help and got in.

The initial team: Marijke, Martine, Sylke, Simone and the photograph (Monica)
The twelve (?!) women, all colleagues and friends, agreed to meet once a month on a Friday evening after work.
The meeting place was the house of one of the sewers and has always been different because they took turns.

Sylke, Katie, Evette (miss you!), Roweena, Martine, Ewa, Simone & Monica at Martine's beautiful house
The project was already started, and the small squares were all done. It was time to sew them together. When they put all the pieces down to mark them and plan what to do next, I looked at the quilt on the wooden floor, and I felt like crying. I didn't like it at all. My mother's work came to my mind, all flowers and perfect images.

That was abstract art, and I am fond of Renoir, not Kandinsky.

I almost invented an excuse to leave and never go back. But I am not the type who offers help then take the word back. I fought against my feelings and played along with tears in my eyes. I knew it was just a matter of taste, and that quilt was definitely not my cup of tea. Not at that time at least.

Sylke, Evette, Roweena,, Simone, Ewa, Katie, Monica & my back at Martine's place
 Months have passed, we couldn't meet every month, but we took the work home and sew as much as we could.

When we met, the atmosphere has always been bright and happy. The host (of the day) cooked or prepared some pieces and bits for all of us. We told stories, we laughed and had so much fun.
We didn't know much about one another before, but after this project, we know how amazing we all are. Our friendship became stronger, and I am sure we'll never forget any of these.

My initiations into the project happened at Martine's house, in Exeter. The lovely host cooked some pumpkin baby food as I called it - the real name is velouté (how posh is this?) - we ate so much, that I couldn't breathe.

Sylke, Simone (me?) & Monica at Monica's amazing house
I remember when you went to Monica's house, near the famous Buckfast Abbey. We went for a walk and we were stunned by the beauty of nature around. We even met a BBC crew who was filming the gardens focusing on the black roses. We spoke with them for a while.

Simone, Martine & Sylke in action
Monica's hospitality has been absolutely amazing. I ate so much bread and so many gooseberry fruits that I couldn't move.

Then we went to Simone's place in Christow. Simone's got a piano and a fireplace. I was so impressed with everything. We went for a walk in the village, and when we got back, we had a delicious meal and loads of bread and chocolate.

If you didn't get by now, I love bread! Well, I love food really. But bread is my weakness. 

Then they came to mine, and I cooked some of my favourite recipes which everyone liked very much. We didn't go for a walk because we needed to move on with the sewing.

Katie, Martine, Simone, & Ewa at my place
In the meanwhile, one of our friends had some personal issues and couldn't join us anymore. We were very sad to hear that as she was such a happy and great person to be around.

Then other people pulled off for various reasons, others simply couldn't find any free time. Between husband, child, house and work, often is extremely difficult to find a spare evening.

Ewa, Simone & Monica enjoying the sun and the lovely food cooked by Simone
On the 2nd of December 2016, we managed to have a glimpse of the final work, I became very emotional again. That's because my perception has changed completely in the last months.

When I saw it all complete I thought it was utterly wonderful.

All those tiny pieces of different fabrics put together, a mosaic of beautiful colours enchanted my eyes and deeply touched my heart. I felt so guilty and ashamed that I even had those initial negative thoughts about it, maybe that's why I felt I should sew so diligently every time.

Katie, Ewa & Sylke at Ewa's House
There was still much to do, but the quilt was all together. Many patches were waiting to be sewed together, and we agreed to take turns to finish that work so we could move to the next step.
I offered to take it first, and I spend at least 8 hours to sew all the squares together.

I am not sure if they expected me to do all that work, and I am telling you it's been very demanding as I am a writer and a writer has no free time, ever.

Martine's invested incredible amount of time into this
But I loved every second because I knew it was for a good cause.

Martine thought that a lottery will be appropriate to sell this piece of art, and we all hope to raise quite some money.

We spend a lot of time working on this project, we cancelled other plans to be able to meet, and we did our best to make a great object.
I had a look at the Nepal-ease textile Quilting Group, and it seems that I am the only one who didn't cook when we had the gatherings.
How curious.
However, I have cooked, and we met three times at my place.
We've done a lot because we focused on the sewing and listening to Mozart.
That's in case you think I am not such a great host. :)

The Anonymous Helpers. Sylke's beautiful offspring. 

There is so much more into this quilt. It's a part of every each of us. 
I think it's priceless besides being invaluable. It should be displayed in a museum. 100% handmade.

We hope that the winner will love and cherish it forever.
We certainly cherish the fact that this has brought together people who didn't know one another much.

There is more. Way More.
Stay put for the technical bits. The information given by Monica is astonishing.
The quilt is indeed priceless. 

Ewa, Martine, Monica & Simone at Simone house in Christow. So much food, fun and talk!

4 comments

  1. Congratulations for this idea and good work - specially for Martine!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you. We are all very proud. Martine has invested so much time and all her soul into this amazing project. Blessings.

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  2. What a wonderful story. Well done to all who helped to make this beautiful quilt. I do hope you receive lots of donations.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you. Yes, it's a wonderful story and an outstanding initiative. We have started selling raffle tickets. One lucky winner of this unvaluable artwork.

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