Remember this quilt project I was working on? I thought I'd share the journey with you. I was busy making it for two reasons.
First, I made a whole quilt using the red flower block pattern and it screamed "Red Poppy" at me.
So my friend Trish who owns the local quilt shop and I both decided to make a quilt to be finished in time for ANZAC Day here in New Zealand, April 25th. The quilt had to use the poppy block.
And secondly, because I have done a lot of reading and research around the Vietnam War for my next novel, I decided to make mine as a way of saying thank you to those men who let me delve into a part of their history that was very contentious. I felt that those soldiers that went to Vietnam have been excluded from much of what should have been bestowed upon them.
Trish on the other hand, decided she would make her quilt as a tribute to her grandfather who fought in WW1 and her great uncle who also went to war.
I decided to take the more traditional quilt path, while Trish decided to be a little more adventurous. She has never made an art quilt before and I thought this would make for the perfect art quilt for her to start with.
Trish made six flower blocks and used quilters muslin or calico as we know it torn into strips. For mine I decided to use as much thread on the poppy as possible in order to make it as 3D as possible. I used 3 complete rolls plus 4 other colours to build up depth. Once my poppy was finished I then decided to write the names of all the Kiwi soldiers who were either killed or wounded in action. I masked straight lines around the poppy and free motioned the names.
Can you see Trish's finished quilt. She hung it out on the platform of the railway station on ANZAC Day morning for the special visit of the 'Passchendaele'.
Here is my finished quilt
My quilt was exhibited in the Palmerston North City Library during their ANZAC commemorations and I wanted the quilt to be viewer friendly so I stated that if people wanted to pin poppies to the quilt they would be welcome. There are 37 names on the quilt, there were 4 Kiwi soldiers who were fighting with American troops, 1 soldier who was killed while preparing to leave New Zealand, 1 nursing sister from the surgical team and 1 Red Cross worker who were also killed who were not included amongst the names, but are recorded with the info sheet that follows the quilt.
Both Trish and I found the project really emotional, neither of us had realised that it would mean more to us than it did. I have met several people who have told me the story behind how soldiers named on the quilt have died. Truely sad. One soldier had only been in country 24 hours and he stepped on a mine.
If you have a few spare minutes, I would love to hear what you think of them.