Monday, June 3, 2013

Festival Friends Block Swap

You might remember that this time last year I traveled to Ireland for a tour and a quilt festival.  I fell head over heels in love with Ireland and made some very special friendships while I was there, as well as a few seeds of friendship that were planted...and have continued to grow since my return. My trip to Ireland was also such a healing experience for me.  After losing my Dad just a few months prior to my trip, my heart still felt extremely heavy....and I was going to be there on the anniversary of my Mother's death.  Some of you, who know what it's like...when you lose that second not only grieve their loss...but you feel the loss of the first one all over again.  I made a promise to myself that I wouldn't focus on sad things while I was there.  And then, on the night of the anniversary of my Mom's death...I met this wonderful woman named Holly and her husband Jim.  Holly and I were having a lovely conversation about quilts when she asked "Who taught you to quilt, your Mother?"  One simple sentence and I had no control over the tears that followed and slid down my cheek.  When I shared with her the significance of the day, she took my hand in hers and said "You realize your Mother is here with you, right?  She's here and she's shining through you tonight."  In that very moment....I knew that I was exactly where I was supposed to be...hearing exactly what I was supposed to be hearing....and my heart was beginning to heal.
Holly and I

About a month after returning home, I received an invitation to participate in a "Block Swap" with a group of quilters who each had a connection to the quilt festival. I had never participated in one before...I still said yes.  In the beginning, there were 12 of us, each receiving the same one yard cuts of three different fabrics.  Tweedy, by P&B Textiles were chosen in a shade of blue, green and gray.

There rules were simple.  Using at least two of the three fabrics chosen, we were to create a block twelve times over so that we each ended up with one of every one's blocks.  Of course, I wanted to create something that would represent my experience in Ireland.  So I chose a "heart" block.  I decided on using the small Twister template and drew out my pattern.
I used 2.5" squares and created the heart using different shades of green (P = Print) and surrounded my heart in the blue "Tweedy" to represent the sea.  After much deliberation...I decided to add one more little touch of a black and white striped border.

I titled my block "Ireland Captured My Heart" 
By the end of December I had received all of my other blocks for the eleven in total including mine, as someone had to drop out due to time constraints.  These were the blocks I received.
created by Pam Hotle of Wisconsin
created by Kim Caskey of Canada
created by Nikki Foley of Ireland
created by Carol Moellers of Iowa
created by Karen Farrell of Ireland
created by Cecille Flagg of Ireland
created by Michelle Banton of Massachusetts
created by Dana Lynch of Mississippi
created by Chris and Rebecca Palmer of Ireland
created by Peggy Bass of Kansas
A few of us were fortunate enough to meet up in Houston during Quilt Festival to "swap" our blocks.
So now to create a quilt using these eleven blocks.  I will admit freely...I felt stumped.  These blocks were pinned on my design wall for quite awhile.  I kept waiting for that "light bulb" moment to happen.  Occasionally I would move them around a bit in hopes that act would spark some idea. Then one day I was looking through some photos from another quilting event and saw a quilt made with a panel that caught my eye.  I did a search and discovered it was called The Healing Tree by Melissa Marie Collins at Frond Designs...and I knew that somehow this panel had to be a part of my quilt.
So now, you've seen all the of the "pieces" that I would be working with to create my quilt.  Later this week I will be sharing my creation with you.


  1. I love all the blocks and I can't wait to see the finished Quilt. I'm sure when you wrap it around you you will feel your mom's arms holding you. I remember the night you met Holly and what a wonderful person she is. I'm so happy I got to share Ireland with you. Love you Girl

  2. Such a special story and what a special quilt! I cannot wait to see your design as I am certain it will speak of your losses and your gains, as life does for us every day! Thank you for sharing!

  3. And it is in loving, caring hands. <3