This story starts several months ago.
One of my friends over on Instagram, whom I admire and respect greatly for all of her efforts to our crafty community, mentioned almost in passing that she'd had a brush with cancer. I'm talking of course, about Lisa from A Spoonful of Sugar, one of our favourite Aussie bloggers.
My own family has had this shocking and unwelcome news thrust upon them several times in the last few years, and only last year my mother in law was diagnosed with lung cancer, despite never having smoked in her life.
It is a huge life event to deal with, and changes you forever.
Almost exactly the same time, I saw also on Instagram, that a small group of friends around the world had collaborated to make a special quilt for Ange's little daughter who was having surgery.
It was such a lovely idea to surprise someone with something like that, it got me wondering if anyone was coordinating anything for Lisa.
I put out my Insta feelers, and asked a few discreet questions, and ultimately ended up using Megan as my sounding board.
We discovered that nothing had been planned so far for Lisa, (at least that we could find out about)and she was all like 'Let's do this!!"
It was amazing that Megan and I were the perfect team, tho we've never met each other.
She turned my scratchy quilt scribbles into a firm plan and made it happen!
We brainstormed styles and colours and fabrics that we knew Lisa really liked, and also started approaching some of the talented Aussie quilters we have in our community.
The response was overwhelming...even though everyone is hugely busy juggling work and family life, everyone was super eager to pitch in.
But not only that, we were overwhelmed at the generosity that poured in. Alisha from Ministry of Fabric, as well as making blocks, offered to supply the small florals for the front joining squares, and the backing and binding fabrics.
They are adorable, soft and pretty, totally feminine.
And our great secret sewing project began...with secret Instagram, we hashtags #ssshsewing and #ssshquilt.
Look them up and you can follow the journey from start to finish.
It was all about small florals, Japanese fabrics, and natural linen, to make a restful, comforting final result.
Martina from Ava&Neve supplied the essex linen, another generous sponsor.
Twelve of us each made two blocks, finished at 10" square of any design that we wanted.
Boy did those girls go to town!! There were some amazingly unique designs, and as they flowed into my post office box, the excitement was building. My two blocks were simple granny squares, using Atsuko Matsuyama prints.
Making a secret project right under someone's nose, is really fun...Lisa was regularly liking and commenting on our photos, but had absolutely no idea what was going on!
I was hugging myself with delight :) and as more and more blocks arrived, I could see that we were really making something special.
It was looking amazing.
Here's the finished quilt top, about to go off to be quilted, which brings me to the other amazing part of this quilt.
Megan introduced me to a most amazing free motion quilter, Kellie, who transformed this pretty quilt top into an elegant lady, breathing layers of character and personality into it, that took her absolutely hours and hours.
Hop on over to her blog, to see loads of pretty pics of all her details.
Kellie looked at each block individually and decided exactly what was needed to make it sing. I was overwhelmed that she would provide so much of her time, and she relished the task!
One thing in particular that blew me away, was the free motion script around the entire border of the quilt...all perfectly executed and sound advice from Jane Austen!
Kellie then sent the quilt back to me to have its binding added.
Here's 7.5m of Sevenberry floral goodness.
It was perfectly suited. Notice Kellie's gorgeous quilting details throughout...her encouraging words calmed my nerves even though I bind quilts regularly!
And without further ado or waffle, here is our finished quilt, that we are all very proud of.
It blends together very seamlessly, especially considering that we never met each other and only saw pics of each other's blocks.
It's been held up here by my mother-in-law in her beautiful wildflower garden...
Each of us embroidered name tags to go on the back of the quilt, and these were each a work of art in themselves!
My personal favourite was Kellie's tag...such a true representation of her wonderful personality...
Here is my partner in crime, Megan's from the lovely blog Dolly Henry.
Alisha's from the lovely fabric shop, Ministry of Fabric.
Anorina's from her beautiful blog Sameliasmum.
Annabel's of @belloquacity.
Peta's of the blog She Quilts a Lot.
Naglaa of @quiltymamaof4
Michelle's of the sweet blog Cole&Taffy.
Sedef's of the lovely blog Down Grapevine Lane.
And I do apologise that I inadvertently didn't get a nice shot of Ange's label.
You can't see that clearly, but she appliqued a sweet hexagon onto it.
Therese's of the lovely fabric shop Love that Fabric.
Terri-anne of @lizzierosesews.
And here's mine...
Here it is all packaged up...so fun to send off such a nice surprise to someone!
And another pic of the finished quilt blowing in the wind...
It was just wonderful to be part of something so special.
I made new friends, and felt so blessed by the whole process and community myself.
An amazing experience.
You can read all about Lisa's reaction on her blog here.