Every quilt has a story. Kate’s quilt began one December morning in 2009 in Emerald Beach near Coffs Harbour in Australia. A 6.30am phone call from my son Paul in Cork announced the expected arrival of our first grandchild due June 2010. We had a champagne breakfast; champagne lunch and that evening went out to celebrate...more champagne.
Our hosts were an Australian quilter Liz Kennedy and her husband Grahame .We had met in 2004 when they came to Limerick for a year. Liz contacted me and she immediately joined the Mid West branch of IPS and became a valued member for the year and a friend for life.
Later that day in Emerald Beach Liz’s Quilting group arrived, more celebrations, cake this time. Then the idea for the quilt was born. They sent me home with the plan for an ‘I Spy ‘quilt and fabric depicting Australian animals and birds. When I returned to Brisbane I shopped for more fabric with my daughter Aoife.
On my return to Limerick, the Sew What Quilters enthusiastically embraced the project. Betty Roche and I unearthed pieces of fabric from the 1980’s when we began Patchwork. A slightly decapitated giraffe dates from then .He had to be included because Kate loves the giraffes in Fota. Placed below a few bales of hay he appears to be busy feeding.
There are four decades of fabric, of friendship spanning that time and two continents in this quilt. It epitomises the essence of the bonds of Quilting.
Sadly, Liz died suddenly in 2011. This quilt is full of memories of the time we spent together.Memories of balmy summer evenings spent on her veranda watching kangaroos grazing nearby and brilliantly coloured parakeets diving in and out of the feeders nearby. Laughter filled Sundays in Villiers sewing; demonstrating Christmas decorations to her Australian Quilting group; her enthusiasm when we visited the Knitting and Stitching Show; a memorable visit to Paris. We said goodbye to Liz and Grahame at a wonderful farewell party hosted by Phil Aylward in Feb 2005. We continued to exchange fabric and ideas and were delighted to meet again in 2009 in Australia.
Last Sunday I delivered the quilt to my granddaughter Kate.. Her memories begin now with the knowledge that her grandmother made this quilt just for her, with love.
The basic unit of this quilt is a 9inch square made up of a 6inch square with strips down the side and bottom to make up to 9inches. There are at least 60 items to be found during an ‘I spy’ game not including the number of coloured cats to be counted on the back.
Why did it take 4 years to complete? That’s another story........
Phil Walsh Mid West Branch