Saturday, April 11, 2015

Portholes on the World

Every few years, probably when they've forgotten how intense the last one was, some of the Pioneer Quilters decide to do a block exchange.  Each participant will make a block for each of the others, at the pace of one a month.  Some are fairly simple, others are quite complex.  Months are drawn.  Specifics are given as to size, design, colors, etc., by each month's lucky participant. It's quite an undertaking, and the blocks received from their Pioneer Quilters friends are very special to the participants.  Our last exchange was 2010--2011, with 20 Pioneer Quilters taking part.

You've seen many quilts made from exchange blocks at our quilt shows in the past.  Often they've also been quilted by Pioneer Quilters, when that person's turn to have a quilt in the frame comes up, which occurs about every 5 years.

Carol, our youngest charter member, loves to go on cruises.  For her friendship block in August 2011, she asked that each person appliqué a scene you might see through a porthole on an ocean-going ship or river boat.  That was to be complemented by something that went with the scene.  She provided them with the background and porthole fabrics.

Once she had received all twenty of her blocks, she added sashing and a border, and assembled them into a top.  Then she began the tedious task of marking all of the quilting lines on the top.

In 2014, it was Carol's turn at Pioneer Quilters to have a quilt in the frame.  Happily, her turn to have a top quilted came when it was time for us to put a new quilt in a frame for our ongoing quilting demonstration at the Lane County Fair.  On July 21, 2014, she assembled a small crew of experienced Pioneer Quilters who pinned the three layers (top, batting and backing) in the frame, measuring and checking for perfect right angles as they worked.
Once Carol's quilt was layered in the frame, Pioneer Quilters gathered every day of the fair to work on it.  There was a lot of interest in the unusual design Carol had come up with, as well as in hand-quilting in general.

When the fair ended, the porthole quilt still needed months of quilting, so it was transported back to the church where our group meets, and we continued to work on it every week.
When we have a quilt in the frame, it starts out extended to its full size.  As we quilt around the edges, we have to roll one end or the other every so often so we can reach new areas to stitch.
Carol had the pleasure of taking the final stitches on her quilt on October 1, 2014, and it was carefully unpinned from the frame.  
The beautiful quilting often shows very well from the back.  We admire both sides of this special group effort.

A couple of individual blocks, in all their charming up-close detail:

Carol bound the quilt once it was quilted, and Portholes on the World will be available for your viewing pleasure at our 40th anniversary show this month. 

Hope you can make it!

1 comment:

Jenny Bonynge said...

Beautiful quilt! Thanks for sharing this detailed view of how Friendship quilts progress from an idea to the end work of artistic expression. Carol's quilt is surely an eye on the world!