March was the designated finish date for the first quarter of the Lana Bates Memorial Quilt Project and the Spring Floral Quilt as You Go Quilt and I am happy to report, not only did I finish on time, I actually finished this one early! Once I got going with the appliqué and all of the top stitching and corresponding quilting, the blocks were basically done. This is the strong appeal of the quilt as you go style; it just feels like you are accomplishing so much at once because you are! Spurred on by the feeling of such accomplishment, and since I had continued to lay everything out as I worked through the top stitching, it was so easy to begin sewing the rows together.
To stitch the rows together, I placed the right sides of the blocks together and sewed about a 3/8 inch seam to connect the blocks. I sewed the larger seam because the blocks were going to be finished with the cut edges of the material exposed in the “raggy” style and I wanted the fabric to have a little more room to adjust to a natural fray that will occur. Setting the seam back further allows for the seam to have a greater depth of fabric to hold on to than it would at the standard 1/4 inch if the seams would be inside of the quilt. Piecing the rows was a bit tricky because using the appliqué to also create the quilting shifted each of the blocks slightly making the top fabric and bottom fabric slightly wonky from each other on most of the blocks. I could have spent a lot of time trimming to make everything even, but with the final design of the fraying edges in mind, I just didn’t think it was worth the time. I spent a little time using pins to help me line up my rows, but I think it worked out just as well as it would have even if I put in the extra step to trim.
I chose to turn all of the raw edges to the back of the quilt because the front was already pretty busy with all of the appliqué and I didn’t want to detract from the effect of all the hard work of cutting, designing and stitching. As is the method for the “raggy” style quilt, I used my scissors to notch about a half-inch along all of the raw seams to aid in the frayed textural effect. To complete the quilt, I also repeated the same finishing technique around the entire perimeter. I also added my signature label, but instead of just my initials and the year the quilt was finished, I also added the initials of my Aunt Lana. After all, she started the quilt and had just as much a hand in it as I did.
The quilt is comprised of 36 blocks featuring either the five-petal flower or butterflies as the base of the appliqué with additional fussy cut floral elements tucked around the central image for detail. Each block is unique in design making the quilt a true one of a kind. The block arrangement finished at 52 inches square, making the Spring Florals Quilt a small throw size perfect for a sunporch, lounge, or even child’s room. It would also be a beautiful addition to periwinkle or yellow bedroom as a feature coverlet for the bed. The edges of the quilt will continue to weather over time, adding a soft and interesting texture to the quilt throughout the years.
The Spring Florals Quilt will be sold as part of my Quilts for a Cause series I began in 2019 to encourage myself to experiment, as well as use my art to raise money for worthy causes. In honor of both my aunt, whom the project is named after and the base materials of each quilt belonged to, and my late mother, each quilt in the Lana Bates Memorial Quilt Project will be auctioned off via eBay for Charity to raise money for women’s cancer treatments and related assistance. The Spring Florals Quilt will be listed for auction from Friday, March 19, 2021, through Saturday, March 28, 2021, with the opening bid to start at $275.00 to raise money for Pink Hands of Hope. Pink Hands of Hope is a non-profit organization located in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, assisting women of all ages battling cancer with various services to make their lives a little easier during their treatment. Items such as wigs, cosmetic services, financial assistance, and more are offered to participants at no cost. The organization also offers a thrift shop where patrons can participate in supporting the organization through donations and second-hand purchases.
My mother had a long journey with cancer spanning nearly ten years. She first developed breast cancer when I was in high school and battled it mostly privately for years. She had a mastectomy and underwent rounds of chemotherapy resulting in a remission that lasted several years. When the cancer returned, it had unfortunately spread throughout her body into many organ tissues, including her brain. She battled her last round of cancer with a terminal diagnosis, knowing it was a when not an if that she would pass away. She never made it to 60 and I was not even 30 years old. She died only three months after I had my second child. It is a tragedy of my life that she never saw my children grow up, they have scant to no memories of her and I have very few pictures of them together.
During her treatments, she lost her hair and was conflicted about wearing a wig. I think having the choice at no cost helped her try it out where she may have otherwise denied herself. She also appreciated having someone available to help her trim and style the wig to her previous haircut so she could feel more herself. Please don’t take for granted how much little things like this mean to people. Sometimes just the sense of normalcy that comes from looking in the mirror and recognizing yourself is the most tantamount comfort during a difficult time.
Honestly, I think she would have mixed feelings about this project. She would probably love that I am finishing my aunt’s quilts. She loved and admired her sister’s talent and was always a great cheerleader for her work. I can say almost certainly she would not like my sharing her picture or really any of the details that make the story and project meaningful. Most of the time she didn’t even want to share the details of her illness with me or my sisters. I think she probably assumed it would spare us the dreadful details of living a life with cancer. I am sure there were many, and perhaps I am better off not knowing, but I can’t help wonder if we would have been closer and would have been able to help her more if I had known. Empathy cracks the heart and when you open it up, there is so much room in there to grow.
This experience is so much a part of my life story. Watching someone you love go through a major illness can change your perspective on life. I live in fear that I will never know my grandchildren either. Maybe I too, will not see my kids age beyond their 20s. So I have structured my life in a way that keeps me in the present and enjoying all of the moments now in case there is no future. Please don’t wait on your life, don’t put off your love and dreams. I know we all have to earn a living, pay our bills and taxes, however time is finite- just keep it in mind- and if you’re lucky enough to spend time doing what you love and being with the people you love, live it up.
I sincerely hope you enjoy the quilt and the project overall. I am so proud to be working on a project with so much meaning and potential for good. Kindly visit the eBay listing and consider bidding and or sharing the link. Let’s do some good while getting something good! Janice
To bid on the Spring Florals Quilt as You Go Quilt, please visit the link below.: https://www.ebay.com/itm/353420771248
You can also support Pink Hands of Hope here.: http://www.pinkhandsofhope.org/
Inspiration and resources are linked where applicable. All written work and photographs are original content and are copyright protected; kindly give due credit by linking back to my website if you use or share.
(©2021, Janice Bailor // laruedefleurs.com)