Last year I started thinking about making a Friendship Quilt for the Storm Riders. This group of women came together online in late 2008 and since then have supported, and continue to support, each other through the storm of breast cancer diagnosis, treatment and moving beyond into the land of New Normal. In part this was done through a frontier-style scenario so the making of a quilt seemed to me a suitably fitting way to celebrate and commemorate our friendship.
I rejected as impractical one traditional method of constructing such a quilt; that of each person piecing her chosen block to a given size and then collecting and assembling them. Instead I have asked each person to sign a square and then I will embroider the signatures and piece them into a quilt.
Contrary to all the advice given in quiltmaking books, I did not start by planning out the design. This was primarily because I wasn't sure just how many would be returned to me ... What I did do was to use the idea as an excuse to visit my local textile craft shop, which specialises in patchwork and quilting supplies. I then had a thoroughly enjoyable time selecting a series of fabrics that seemed to be in keeping with the scenario, including a pale one for the signatures. I suspect I won't use all those I bought but there were a couple that I just couldn't resist!
Whenever a few of us have been meeting I have taken along squares to be signed and am posting out others to people I'm less likely to see. Fortunately the idea has been received with some enthusiasm on the part of most people. I started embroidering the first batch when I was on holiday last year. Obviously the precious squares travelled in my hand luggage while the needles and scissors went in the checked baggage.
This is a long-term project and one of many occupying my time so it will be a while before it is completed. The Aromasin makes my hands rather stiff at times and so all handwork now takes longer than it used to take. It is, however, a most enjoyable project and it feels a lovely way in which to celebrate an amazing group of women.