Wednesday, 29 April 2015

550 flowers.

240 women from four continents made this quilt. I've been wondering if that's actually a world first. It's possible don't you think?

Early in March, I read with shock and tears, that Rachel's long awaited baby girl, Eleni, had been born with complications. When I put the call out for flowers on my blog and Instagram for Rachel and her family, I didn't expect this.

I didn't expect people to jump to their needle and thread immediately, or offer to stitch them to squares. I didn't expect the offers to help, the gifts of thread and fabric or money towards postage costs. I didn't expect the unbelievably beautiful outpouring of people's own stories. Of both grief and hope. Loss, infertility, longing, waiting. You had been here before. You were so thankful for this way to participate. You took up paper piecing for the first time, you chose colours that were meaningful to you, you were not held back by international postage or time constraints.

I never anticipated the depth of meaning this would have for the online quilting community, or for me. How wonderful this has been to watch grow to overflowing (see #flowersforeleni on Instagram), to see what we're like as a group. Lately I've read blog posts about stolen work or undervaluing ourselves. But look! We are generous and creative! We pull together and come through for people. We feel each others' losses and joys.


I certainly didn't expect to receive 550 flowers. It created quite the creative challenge. I realise now, sitting and looking back over the experience, that I really expected to use all of them. If I had my time over, I think I'd give myself permission to use one flower from each person to make a special quilt for the Hausers, and ask for help to make donation quilts from the rest. But instead, I organised them into piles by colour, then pulled out a group of well matching ones, mostly pink and aqua because they far outnumbered the others, for a single bed quilt. I figured the most useful size, long term, would be a single bed size. Perhaps for Eleni herself.


Then I set some aside in a rainbow for the back, and wrote the names of all the contributors on this fabric by Anna Maria Horner. I made the quilt top in my typical scrappy fashion of having all my squares by the machine, and sewing two that looked good together, and then sewing those two into bigger squares, and so forth, till I had 16 really big squares that I laid out on my lounge room floor to check it looked good. And I don't know if it was just late or bad lighting, or the quiet voice reminding me that I was making a quilt representing 240 women to a quilting legend, but I wasn't happy with it. I left it for a day, laid it out again, unpicked some of the squares that were bothering me, replaced them, and then felt much better about it. It's tricky with a quilt you look at in great detail. It's so hard to know if those same ill-fitting bits will stand out to someone else or not. Tim said I should have done the front in a rainbow too. He's so helpful!


I was so thankful for Heidi's, from Buttons and Butterflies, immediate and generous donation of batting, thread and quilting, so that I could ship it to her in the States a little lighter, and then it would be closer to its final home. I can't wait to see what she'll do with this giant.

I can never express how thankful I am for how you all jumped on board with this project. I really think it's one of the most significant things I've ever done. It has been a great source of hope and comfort to me over the last eight weeks, reflecting on the deep and generous beauty in people. I hope it does the same for Rachel and her family as they realign their expectations and routine, and their sense of normal. My friend Jem, who has triplets with muscular dystrophy, says grief in this kind of parenting isn't something you work through and then move on. It comes in waves, with each reminder of difference and loss. And there are great joys too. A different, beautiful view of success, an openness to help and generousity. I'm glad we've given Rachel a quilt (or two!), as a long lasting, beautiful, practical expression of our prayers and support, our cheering them on, and weeping with them. It's a gift for the waves.



Linking up with Fabric Tuesday and Wip Wednesday

65 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness, this is so wonderful and amazing, you and all of the other contributors are just such amazing people. A true gift of love. xx

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  2. Thank you Jodi for giving us the opportunity to give something back to Rachel and her beautiful little girl. This quilt is truly amazing thanks to YOU and it shows how much love is out there for this wee girl...

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  3. What a beautiful quilt and sentiment. This is amazing. I followed along on IG and was amazed at the outpouring of hexies as they were posted. Way to go!!

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  4. What an amazing time we live in that people come together to support each other with such loving intention! Miles mean nothing anymore.

    Julie

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  5. It's a beautiful quilt with a beautiful purpose -well done to everyone who contributed - love makes the world go round!

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  6. Thank you Jodi for organize it and let us be part of this quilt.

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  7. I couldn't get mine in on time but you have inspired me by your thoughtfulness and generous spirit. I have a friend who has a brain tumor and have been wanting to do something to encourage her. I made signature quilt blocks. Her parents are both beauticians and have left the blocks at the shop to be signed by so many whom have watched her grow up. Thank you Lois L.

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  8. Thank you so much Jodi for coordinating this and giving us a chance to be a part of something so special and meaningful. What an amazing world this blogging community builds. Your finished quilt is one of the most beautiful things I've seen. xo

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  9. Jodi, you did such great work putting this together, it is truly an amazing quilt! I am sure this will be cherished for years and years to come. Thank you so much for giving us the opportunity to contribute to such a fabulous and meaningful project. Awe-inspiring!!

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  10. Incredible Jodi! I'm at a loss for words but you've created such a meaningful and special quilt filled with love xx

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  11. It's beautiful, Jodi! You did such a great job putting it all together. Thanks again for organizing this and giving us a way to show Rachel our love and support. And wow - 550!!

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  12. Thank you for allowing us all the opportunity to be involved in this in a small way. I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes!!

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  13. Thank you Jodi for your hard work and for giving us the opportunity to be part of it:))

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  14. What a beautiful, thoughtful gift! You all rock!

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  15. Wonderful post Jodi, thank you for doing such a brilliant job of pulling this all together and giving us the opportunity to take part. Beautiful work!

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  16. This is just so beautiful. I am lost for words too. Thank you for initiating, organising and giving so much of your time to allow us all to be part of something so special.

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  17. OMGosh Jody thank you!!! You did an amazing job, it's beautiful! I can even see my name and flower and it brought tears to my eyes! I've prayed and will continue to for Eleni and am so thankful the family will have something tangible to know how many care for them! Xoxo to you Jody!

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  18. WOW! I am at a a loss for words.... This quilting community is fantastic isn't it? I know the Hausers will treasure this quilt forever.

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  19. Brilliant in every way. What a joy...

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  20. Inspiring. Truly inspiring!

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  21. It's really beautiful! Thank you so much!

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  22. Not only did you make a wonderful quilt from all of our hexies, but you beautifully express our emotions and intentions in supporting the Hauser family. Realignment of hopes and dreams is an incredibly difficult part of life. Thank you for the opportunity to participate.

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  23. Amazing!!! Thanks for all you've done.

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  24. What a deeply meaningful thing you have done. I was so glad to contribute to this act of love. Your design is gorgeous. On top of all you've done, to write each contributor's name on the back just floors me. Thank you.

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  25. This is amazing and is so touching.

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  26. Thank you for your huge efforts in making this quilt happen. I was privileged to be able to help. It meant a lot to me to be able to contribute. Thank you.

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  27. This turned out do beautiful! I am so happy to be able to be a small part of it!

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  28. I love your quilt, It's a show stopper. Mary

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  29. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.....
    I'm glad you actually chose to incorporate all the flowers.....
    They will love it, it will speak so much to them.....
    Thank you for all your hard work..... You deserve a break, hand message, spa day.....

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  30. Amazing. Such an amazing collection of love from so many different people. Just beautiful.
    xxxx

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  31. What a really beautiful quilt. Thank you so much for all of the hard work you have put into this and for enabling so many of us to be a small part of something so very special.

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  32. It's AMAZING! A work of art with so much meaning. They will love it and I'm sure it will bring them comfort.

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  33. It's beautiful. I'm also quite encouraged by how well Rachel seems to be doing--she's enjoying her little girl and seems to be coping with the challenges. Rachel continues to live her life with a positive attitude.
    Women as mothers seem to constantly manage the impossible.

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  34. Its so touching, so inspiring, so amazing Jodi. I agree completely with your friend Jem. My son was diagnosed with DM too this year and even though he looks quite healthy now, the DNA is there, damaged. Jem is so right. It comes in waves. Sometimes you get to stay on top of them. Other days they just roll you down. But the important thing is to focus in the present. The love we have. The smiles. The laughter. The kisses. The hugs. And of course, our fabric! Hahaha. I am so proud of being part of this community. And I thank you from the bottom of my heart for making the wheel turn so we could all contribute to this amazing project. God bless you friend! Xoxo

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  35. You truly did a beautiful job with this quilt! Thank you so much for inviting us all to contribute. I know Rachel will cherish it.

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  36. This turned out more beautiful than I could have imagined! Thanks so much for organizing this thoughtful project, Jodi, and letting so many of us be a part of it!

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  37. Thank you, Jodi, for putting this together. It's absolutely stunning! I'm in awe of the fact that so many women came together to make this special quilt for Rachel and her sweet family. And I'm so glad I was able to send a few flowers and contribute to this very special quilt. xoxo

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  38. Thank you, Jodi, for initiating this, for seeing it through, for sharing with us all, and for helping to renew our faith in each other. Thanks also to all those who participated. Hugs to Rachel and her family.

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  39. Thank you for all of your hard work. The quilt is truly amazing. It was a pleasure to be a part of the project and I know that everyone who took part in it feels the same. I am sure Rachel and her family will be grateful.

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  40. It's wonderful, you did an amazing job mixing together all those flowers and all that thoughtful time re-arranging the flowers was time well spent. Marvelous work everyone!

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  41. It's amazing. Thank you for doing this and letting me be a part of it.

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  42. Jodi,
    I loved making those flowers - I don't know the family and haven't closely followed the story but something in your request made me think of all the times people who didn't know me well gave me a leg up and helped me along. So… it felt right to help. Thank you for organizing this effort.

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  43. It's a gift for the waves... Oh boy that got me!! Bless you for your willingness to bless them!! Prayers for them!!

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  44. Jodi, Heidi and all of you... This is likely the best, most meaningful gift I will ever, ever receive. I cannot wait to see. I cannot wait to share it in my space when it arrives. And, most of all, I can't wait to tell Eleni its story someday! It's perfect.

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  45. The quilt looks amazing! Thank you for spending the time putting all of our flowers together. Just beautiful!!!

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  46. What a beautiful gift of love and hope!

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  47. What a simply incredible, touching, priceless gift!

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  48. So amazing. Congrats to you for making such a beautiful thing come together.

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  49. What a generous heart you have! As do all the other participants. A truly amazing gift filled with so much love.

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  50. Thanks so much for all of your work. It is beautiful!

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  51. So beautiful in every way! So inspiring on so many levels!

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  52. What a wonderful quilt! You did a great job putting it all together!

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  53. So sew wonderful! An amazing, tangible gift to the family we all want to hug! Very well done! It is beautiful!

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  54. Wow! I'm so impressed, inspired, and moved by this ingenious act of generousity for Rachel and her family. Oh, how I wish I'd known about it. You are such an angel to have put this all together.

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  55. The quilt is beautiful, but the intention and your words are even more so. Thanks for sharing.

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  56. Beautiful....the quilt and all the love it represents.

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  57. Fantastic job Jodi! It's beautiful :)

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  58. With simple words to say... this was absolutely well written and beautiful to the soul. You have changed so many lives by the experience as well as any who read. *hugs*

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  59. Jodi, it's amazing to see everyone's love and support all stitched together. Thank you so much for your help coordinating the effort and creating the quilt so that we could all have an outlet for our concern and care for Eleni, Rachel, and their family : )

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  60. Jodi, it's amazing to see everyone's love and support all stitched together. Thank you so much for your help coordinating the effort and creating the quilt so that we could all have an outlet for our concern and care for Eleni, Rachel, and their family : )

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  61. So special. I loved reading your thoughts about it too. May have cried a little. :)

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  62. That quilt is beautiful inside and out

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I so love your comments! I read all of them and reply when I can. If you don't hear back, I'm lost under a mound of scraps or outside jumping on the trampoline with the kids. Jodi. xx