myBearpaw Blog by Jo Avery

Maggie’s Memory Quilt – a charity quilt finish!

 About 18 months I launched a Quilt Drive to make a special quilt for Maggie’s Centre in Edinburgh.

It was the brain child of one of my lovely students, Cat, who had recently had cancer and had got through the experience with the help of Maggie’s Centre and Quilting (Cat attended my Beginner’s Patchwork and Quilting class soon after diagnosis and became a VERY keen quilter!).  She wanted to combine both things to raise some money for Maggie’s.

You can read much more about Maggie’s Centre and the start of this project in this post.

I put a call out for 8½ inch blocks, any sort of block, as long as it was that size.  They started arriving from all over the country and beyond. The Tryst Quilting group in Edinburgh donated more than 30! In all I received around 150.

In November 2016 I set up a little ‘stall’ at the Maggie’s Centre 20th Birthday Party and displayed all the blocks. I invited attendees to ‘sponsor’ a block for a suggested  donation of £10. Not only would their chosen block be included in the finished quilt but they could also write a message or ‘memory’ on a square of fabric that would become part of the back of the quilt ( directly behind their block).

And here is the finished quilt!

It took me over a year to finish it for a few reasons. One was that I have been very busy, and the other is that it was always meant for the Maggie’s Centre new extension (as was the fund raising) which has been delayed by over a year, and so there was no real hurry for it (I find it very difficult to finish anything without a firm deadline!).

Last week I spent a few days getting the  chosen blocks sashed, and also arranging all the memory blocks in a mirror image for the backing (I hope I got this right, it was not easy!). It’s sashed in Kona Snow but the low sun at this time of year makes everything look a little warm!

Amazingly, despite how randomly the blocks were donated and then chosen, the finished quilt looks really good!  It’s actually a pretty cool Sampler Quilt! I quilted it with a simple loopy pattern, just to give it texture, as it is busy enough. I used Aurifil 50wt thread, number 2000.

I am so grateful for all the quilters who sent me blocks.  If you see your block included please give me a shout out in the comments, as I could not keep a catalogue of each block matched with their maker (though I know that the amazing Poppy from Cuckoo Blue made the three foxy faces!).

And then there are the memory messages on the back.

I really had not thought through how much these messages were going to affect me at the Maggie’s Centre Birthday Party. I was looking forward to the day to help raise some money and meet some nice people. People could either write their own message straight on to the fabric, or they could write it on paper and I would transfer it.   As soon as I started writing the messages (or reading them) I was in bits. I am a soppy person at the best of times and I spent the whole day fighting back tears.

As I was making the quilt I had to make myself deliberately not read them or the tears would hold up my sewing.

They are so moving and express so well what a wonderful, worthwhile resource Maggie’s Centre is. 

We raised nearly £600 for them. Thank you so much to everyone who contributed to this. You may be able to see that there are two empty message blocks on the back. To make it work as a quilt I needed to include two more blocks than were actually sponsored. I was wondering whether these spaces could be auctioned later to the highest bidders and the messages added?!

The quilt is destined to hang over part of a large glass wall so that both sides can be seen, and hopefully both will be a source of comfort and hope.

And what about the remaining blocks?  Well don’t worry I have plans for these!  Keep a look out for my next post which will be about a new charity quilt project I am launching!  I love making quilts for others and hopefully you do to.

Let’s make the world a better place one quilt at a time!

One comment

  1. I’m so proud to see two of my blocks on this wonderful quilt. My lovely sister in law Avril was helped by the centre. She sadly didn’t win her battle against breast cancer so She is one of those commemorated on the back. Thanks for all your hard work on this project Jo x

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