Thursday, June 11, 2015

More Wedding Collaborations...

Making a group quilt for someone who is getting married in your church is a lovely idea. That's what I (Kara) thought after we had done Teri's quilt and then found out that there would be another wedding in our church the following year. The lady who had done Teri's quilt wasn't able to work on this one, so I took the reins. I chose some lovely companion fabrics, set the parameters for the blocks, and sent the information out along with deadlines as to when I needed the blocks in hand. Let's just say the deadlines were interpreted as guidelines, and collecting the blocks was a little more difficult than I had anticipated. I finally received all the blocks and was able to assemble the quilt top. A few friends came over, and we tied and bound the quilt. The quilt was given to a wonderful young woman at her wedding shower, and she was thrilled. And with the second collaboration quilt, a tradition was started within the church.

Not too long after this quilt was presented, we found out that another couple in our church was getting married. At this point, three of us decided that less hands involved with making the quilt might make the process a bit easier, so we each decided to do several feature blocks and then make up the rest of the quilt with signature blocks. The groom was in the Army, and the bride was musical and loved Hawaii, so that gave us some inspiration. We had the blocks available to sign at the shower and did our best to guide the signers away from the seam allowances. Thankfully the couple lives locally, so we were able to see the quilt again and get lots of pictures. We appreciate the loan of the quilt!

Our friend Pat's beautiful wedding ring block made an appearance in several wedding quilts! See Wedding Collaborations for another.

Of course the following year there was another wedding, and it was just Teri and I working on this one. For this quilt we decided to go with the signature quilt style and have a center picture block. The bride and groom were big beach fans, and since I was in my "landscape quilt phase," it worked perfectly to have an ocean and beach vista for the  center block. Teri worked the math for the surrounding signature blocks.
Many thanks to the bride for the photos of her quilt!
We were a bit terrified of having a finished quilt that people would sign as opposed to having people just sign individual blocks and then put the quilt together. Thankfully no one got too crazy with the pens, (we might have taken turns standing guard,) and the quilt was a hit.

By this time we had begun to get a reputation for making wedding quilts. It was a lot of work but we enjoyed it, especially because we had only done one per year. We still thought it was a special thing to do for a new couple, and it would provide them with some lovely memories of their wedding day. Then we found out that there were going to be four weddings in our church the following summer!

After we got over our shock, we decided to simplify things even more than we had been doing and went with a rail fence signature block. We picked colors for the four couples and took a roadtrip to Bird-in-Hand, Pennsylvania, to buy fabric. That was the fun part. We each took two sets of fabrics and hunkered down to get the signature blocks done before the respective showers. We marked the 1/4" seam allowance and gave instructions not to sign in that area. Some people followed directions and some didn't, but what are you going to do? After we got all the blocks signed, we soon realized that we were not going to have the quilts done by the weddings, so we went with the etiquette rule that you have one year after the wedding to give a gift. We were in such a frenzy to get them finished that we forgot to take pictures of all of them but we do have a few.
The first of four quilts on the design wall before signing and piecing together.
We picked the colors for each quilt based on what we learned of their tastes. The other two quilts were red and green and a blue and white batik.
When the final quilt had been sent out (within the year window, barely,) Teri and I looked at each other and said, "We're done!" and our career as the church wedding quilt makers was over.

We learned a lot about making group quilts, and I'm not sure we would have done things differently, as we needed to go through the learning process of what worked for us. Both sayings, "many hands make light work" and "too many cooks spoil the broth" applied at different times. Thankfully, the amount of weddings in our church dwindled, so we didn't feel too bad about hanging up our wedding quilt needles. The biggest lessons we learned were be careful about starting a tradition, and that it's okay to end a tradition. Do you have any quilt traditions that you have started...or maybe ended? Please share some stories!

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