December 8, 2016

Quilt for Pulse

I remember the sense of hopelessness I felt when hearing about the events unfolding in the Pulse nightclub in June 2016. It was a targeted attack on a gay nightclub on a "latin night".

Not long afterwards, I saw a call out by the Orlando Modern Quilt Guild for quilts. Any contribution was welcomed, from single blocks, through to quilt tops, and of course finished quilts. The recommended block pattern was a simple heart one from cluck cluck sew.

Initially planning on completing just some blocks, I soon found myself watching out for bright colours in quilt shops, quickly picking up some beautiful background fabric (Paradise by Chong-a Kwang for Timeless Treasures) from Shellys Sewing Centre in Goulburn and a jelly roll of Moda Grunge from HobbySew Belconnen. I had never worked with a Jelly roll before, and soon found myself designing quilt after quilt, trying to incorporate a rainbow design, and taking care of the quantity of fabric required. Finally, I settled on this design:

I had no real neutrals in my stash, so I got a couple of jelly rolls of Whispers by Muslin Mates for Kona, and some generic fabrics from Lincraft and Addicted to Fabric.

It was a real labour of love, requiring a lot of math, fabric layout choices, careful cutting, and never ending ironing. So many seams when working with jelly rolls!

Bit by bit, I saw my design come to life, and before long the top was finished.

Because I bought my backing before having a quilt design/final size in mind, I was short by a frustrating few inches. This required a little more design work, and some thin strips of neutral to form small hearts and tie into the front of the quilt

Next was the question of quilting. My old sewing machine has not a lot of throat space, and I was tossing up between straight-line quilting and a stipple effect. With a little help from Christina Cameli's book "First steps to free-motion quilting" and a sewing desk I received from my local Buy Nothing Group (allowing me to lower the working area of the machine to table level), I launched head first into my first serious free-motion quilting.

It was difficult working the stitches on such a small machine, but I love how it turned out.

Made with Love by Jen E. 2016 #quiltsforpulse
I was proud to send the quilt to Orlando, to take its place with well over a thousand other quilts worldwide. I have seen that the distribution of these quilts has begun.

You can check out many of the quilts made by searching for the tag #quiltsforpulse
Lastly, I wanted to mention that there was a lovely short news clip about the project, and another news clip on distributing quilts to the Orlando police department.

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