As I was pulling together this quilt with blocks made from the lovely members of the Siblings Together Thread House Retreat Bee (there’s a mouthful for you!) I had a crisis of confidence. It wasn’t because of the quality of blocks or the colour blend was wrong etc, they were all beautifully done, it just struck me that a quilt of houses, which to most signify home, won’t necessarily have the same warm connotations it has for most of us. Indeed the very fact the child is at one of the ST camps is because of a breakdown in their original home setting necessitating going into care and then worse having had to be parted from their siblings. It’s hard to imagine the lead up and great distress of all the circumstances that result in a child being taken into care for those, like me and my children, who have been blessed with a very happy and secure home. Home for at least some of these children definitely won’t have the solid sense of security and refuge it does for most of us.
But on reflection I hope that the children are in a caring foster home environment where they’ve been able to build meaningful relationships and home is now associated with loving care and being looked after and supported. As for multiple houses, in this crowded country, the vast majority will be in domestic settings where houses are close together so that aspect of the quilt will be familiar.
The other aspect which gave me comfort is how quilts are matched to the child on these camps. It’s not a scrummage where the children are let lose to pick their favourite. Which is just as well as it was this approach we had for a Fat Quarter swap we had on the first Thread House Retreat. Everyone put a FQ of fabric they’d brought from home on a table and on the word go you grabbed which ever FQ you fancied. Well quilters are lovely people but shall we say you do not want to stand between a bunch of them and that one stunning Carolyn Friedlander piece of fabric. …. a stampede comes to mind. Wisely that event was dropped on this year’s retreat.
The approach taken is that each child’s camp mentor, presumably armed with the broad likes and dislikes from the child but crucially an understanding of the child, makes the selection. I think that’s a super way, it’s more personal and fitting. For that reason you can see why you want a selection of quilts.
The inspiration for this quilt is set out in this post. That original quilt was clever in that it had quite a bit of blank space and low volume houses to give it depth and somewhere to rest your eye. So each block of 12 squares was to contain a minimum of 2 blank squares. My Bee members are obviously an industrious lot as none contained more than 2 and I needed to intersperse a few extra rows with more blanks to get the balance right.
Other than asking my Bee members to build in (pun eh?) fabrics of different values, the colour and design was up to them. There were some fun choices….
In terms of quilting I just went with the simplest of straight lines…..rather than stitch in the ditch, just two lines either side of seams. I chose to bring down the big quilting machine to the warm lounge, as our cold wet spring continues, and using an adjacent small cupboard to carry the weight of the quilt in effect with the quilt in place I made a tent. The cats had great fun playing hide and seek with each other but just like siblings sometimes the fun ends in a fight!!
I’m hoping it will go to the right young person for whom houses and home are comfort givers.
Linking up with a Kelly of My Quilt Infatuation and Amanda Jean Crazy Mom Quilts