Worldwide Friends: Crossing the final frontier

It’s done. Which is good, because I’m so ready for something new.

Screen Shot 2015-06-07 at 11.08.32 am

The only straight shot that was usable on the windiest day this year!

It’s taken almost exactly seven months (a few days under – I started it on 10th November last year). It began as a piece of busy-work to keep my hands occupied and my mind peaceful when I went into hospital last year for a spot of surgery. It’s grown out of all recognition, well beyond my original idea for the piece, and has taken on a life of its own, becoming virtually common property amongst the worldwide friends who have contributed fabric, poetry, encouragement and vision. The Mackay Show deadline seemed like a good idea at the time, something so far away that it was easily achievable. But as always, time ran away with me and I’ve only just squeaked in, after subjecting myself to the sort of pressure I don’t really enjoy.

Screen Shot 2015-06-07 at 11.09.00 amDon’t ask me how many hexies it contains, because I don’t know, and I’m not going to count them. In any case, the answer to that question is “enough”. Here’s some detail:

This quilt is the result of a collaboration between myself and blogging friends around the world. The design was triggered by Carla’s gift of an indigo furoshiki, or gift-wrapping cloth from Japan, which featured rabbits, waves and the moon. According to Japanese legend, the figure seen in the full moon is not a man, but a rabbit, who was placed there by a holy man in return for an act of kindness. This beautiful cloth gave the rest of the quilt its Japanese flavour and the name of the quilt is written in Kanji characters across the middle, which translates to Worldwide Friends. On the back are haiku in English about both quilt-making and the rabbit legend, some written by fabric donors, others by non-quilting friends in lieu of fabric. Many of the indigo fabrics are Japanese, others are from Indonesia, India and Africa as well as Europe, the US and Australia.

Techniques used
Front: English Paper Piecing, hand appliqué
Back: Machine piecing, English Paper Piecing, hand appliqué
Hand painted calligraphy on front in gold resist medium
Handwritten calligraphy of haiku on back panels in ink
Lightly hand quilted in ‘big stitch’ quilting to stabilise layers only
The quilt is faced with hexagons on the reverse rather than bound, to retain the hexagon shapes at the edge.
Hanging tabs are integrated into the top seam, as this is a wall hanging
The quilt is effectively double-sided, allowing it to be turned to display the haiku on the reverse.

The Worldwide Friends:
Carla, Australia
Tracey, Australia
Nanette, Australia
Dale, Australia
Rita, Belgium
Jan, Wales
Lynn, France
Viv, France
Gun, Sweden
Cath, USA
Sue, USA
Esther, Netherlands
Emmely, Netherlands
Jule, Germany
Annett, Germany
Carole, UK
Kirsten, UK

This quilt is now, at last, ready for entry into the Mackay Show on 25 June, and I am so ready to start another project!  My first priority is to produce the three blocks I’m making each month as part of the Foot2Freestyle block swap. After that, I have a birthday quilt to make for mid-October, a large bed quilt to make for my niece to celebrate her marriage (already late, but she forgives me), and then, finally, I’m free to choose. The list of candidates is considerable…

But first, a day off… maybe.

61 thoughts on “Worldwide Friends: Crossing the final frontier

  1. Linne says:

    That is a totally awesome quilt. I’ve only made a handful of small hexies. I love it, but time has not permitted me to even think of a quilt full of them. I love the furoshiki and the kanji in the centre. Beautiful!!
    Shall we all send you energy as you tackle the to-do list? 🙂

    • katechiconi says:

      Thank you so much! I find hexies quite addictive, so I think I need to move away from them just for a little… I’m taking a day off, and then it’s on with the three blocks for F2F! Since I haven’t even decided what I’m doing, I’ll need all the encouragement I can get…

  2. Lyn Smith says:

    It’s absolutely beautiful. What a lovely memory of all the people who contributed to it. Good luck for the show.

  3. katechiconi says:

    Thank you! It makes me smile every time I look at one of the names, and remember what fabric and words they contributed. I’m fortunate to have such good, generous and supportive blogging friends!

  4. Your magnum opus. Very breathtaking! Now go enjoy the satisfaction of achievement and completion and PUT YOUR FEET UP FOR ONCE.

    • katechiconi says:

      They’re up, they’re up! I’ve had an enjoyable half hour pulling fabrics for the FootSquareFreestyle block swap June blocks, and now I’m lying on the sofa drinking tea and eating spiced apple muffins!

  5. knettycraft says:

    Good Morning Kate!!!!! Sunday morning, still sitting in my bed… stunning about this masterpiece. Oh Kate, it turned out wonderful, special and unique … the front, the back, the colours, the writing. … I wish I could tell you in German – so I would better be able to express! I suppose this finish is very special for all who travelled with you & supported you. And you are perfectly in time for the quilt show 🙂
    Oh, and I had to count the hexies… perhaps I missed some (it is a bit small on my mobile 🙂 ) – 2061.
    Enjoy that wonderful finish now!

    • katechiconi says:

      It is a good quilt, isn’t it? It was a lot of work, but all the Worldwide Friends kept me motivated, encouraged and supplied with beautiful fabrics, and stopped me putting it down and walking away when I got sore fingers! I’m very happy with how it turned out, and while I don’t think for a moment it will get a ribbon in the show, the story of how it came to be is remarkable, and I wanted to share it. I’ll take your word for how many hexies there are – did you count all the red ones round the edge on the back, and the big ones on the back panel? It’s very nice to be able to just sit and look at it, without feeling I have to get over there and do something to it!

      • knettycraft says:

        It is a wonderful quilt!!!! And as Lynn@thetialys said: you were supported but the aching fingers were yours!
        Today morning I counted the hexies via my mobile… so I counted again on my computer… and of course I got another number now…
        I now have:
        Front: 1595
        Back: 218 (including: 21 big, 3 red, 194 border)
        That means in total: 1813

        I gave my best but can’t promise if it is exact… perhaps someone else is tempted to count again… maybe Carla??? 🙂

      • katechiconi says:

        I know you have the number right for the red ones around the outside, because I wanted to make exactly the right number, so I had to count those. If you have those right, I think you probably have the other numbers correct too. Thank you for saving Carla and me from our obsessive selves! And now, we should all stop counting, and just enjoy the way it looks!

    • I am so glad you counted them, Annett. It saved me from being tempted to do so!

  6. It really is an amazing piece of work – you should be very proud indeed!

  7. katechiconi says:

    I’m sure that’ll come along soon. For now, I’m just a bit stunned and pleased that it’s done, and more than a little relieved!

  8. Huge congratulations – I am astonished that you have been able to finish it so quickly, given the various crises and the handicap of arthritis. It looks wonderful, and the story is great, too. A triumph.
    love, ViV

    • katechiconi says:

      Thank you, Viv. Seven months from Go to Whoah isn’t bad, is it? You and the rest of the Friends are responsible in no small part for the timely finish with all my wits still about me! If it hadn’t been for the self-imposed deadline, I would have enjoyed the entire process from beginning to end; hand stitching is a soothing, contemplative and constructive process.

  9. claire93 says:

    you have done yourself and all contributors proud! It really is a stunning piece. I do hope that on Mackay show day, people will stop and admire, get the work on both sides of the quilt and appreciate all the time, thought and care that went into this unique quilt.

    • katechiconi says:

      I think it’s important they should understand what it’s all about, so I hope they will also hang a statement based on what I’ve written here, crediting all the contributors, explaining the derivation of the haiku and Japanese name , etc.

  10. claire93 says:

    that was * get to admire the work on both sides

  11. tialys says:

    So modest of you to say this awesome quilt is the result of ‘a collaboration’ between you and us when we just did the easy bits by sending fabric, poetry and just generally cheering you on. It was you working under pressure, through the pain of arthritis and sheer bloody determination to produce this amazing piece of art. It really is beautiful. Will you be able to display the ‘story’ at the side of the quilt at the show?

    • katechiconi says:

      Awww, shucks! I hope they’ll hang the ‘artist statement’ I’ve written, which basically recapitulates what’s in this post. It really does make the whole thing more interesting, so I’ll see what I can do to make it happen.

  12. It looks fantastic, how much comfort it must bring you!!! Great work!! Make sure it gets shown in a museum, it is just gorgeous!

    • katechiconi says:

      I don’t know about a museum! After the Show, it’s going to hang on the wall in our guest room – I can always hope that one of the Worldwide Friends will some day come and visit me and see it in real life!

      • Yes, this is the Australian laid backedness I have come to love, but it would be such a shame to not have this shown. So much hard work, so many stories put into every stitch and piece of fabric. It is the kind of thing I love. It is not just a quilt that you worked on, for therapy, it is fabrics and textiles of your life and others, I think that is amazing how you have so many people would contribute to it. Quilters are truly amazing people. I would love to see this quilt and hear its story and get to meet you and hear your story. This is my passion. I have been following the end progress but I still don’t know the complete story. I will go back and read up. Wonderful work Kate!

      • katechiconi says:

        The story starts here:
        There are three posts whose titles start with Indigo, and then the quilt gets its current name and every post after that relates to it starts with Worldwide Friends. Enjoy the story! Kate x

  13. Carole says:

    It looks magnificent. Congrats on finishing it by the deadline 🙂

  14. What an amazing piece of art, for so many reasons. Congratulations! I know you’ll enjoy it for the rest of your life.

  15. My hexie quilt took more than 15 years, and yet you thought you could whip one up in a smidge more than half a year. And then you did it. Wow!

  16. Conor Bofin says:

    Now that it’s done, post it to me.
    Great achievement Kate.

  17. Magpie Sue says:

    FABULOUS!!!! And congratulations on the finish! Well before the deadline to boot (in quilter terms anyway)! Well done you!

    • katechiconi says:

      I know! I had visions of going right down to the wire and still putting in stitches in the car on the way to hand it over in the last hour of the last day 🙂

  18. lucyannluna says:

    Looks absolutely stunning

  19. this is soooooooo special !!!!! and soooo beautiful !!!! I hope you win the contest !!!

    • katechiconi says:

      Thank *you*, Rita, for the fabric, the support, and the encouragement! I don’t think I’ll win, they like very traditional quilt designs here, but it’s good to show everyone what people working together can achieve.

  20. anne54 says:

    Kate, it is absolutely marvellous! What an achievement and it looks fantastic. Congratulations. I can understand that the sense of achievement is enough for you at the moment, but I think the judges at the show should rate it well. Lucky for you that today, Monday, is a public holiday. Another day to put your feet up and eat cinnamon muffins!!

    • katechiconi says:

      Thank you, I’m so glad you like it!. To be honest, the judges at Mackay Show are a bit of a closed shop, and if you don’t belong to the ‘right’ group or produce the ‘right’ sort of design, you don’t get much of a look in. So I’m submitting it only because I want to tell the story of how it came to be. The family has taken care of most of the apple cinnamon muffins, sadly, and today I’m devising recipes for savoury muffins: pumpkin & sage; apple, bacon & maple; caramelised onion, olive & rosemary… Jury service again tomorrow 😦

  21. Kirsten says:

    *FANFARE* Yay, you made it! It must be a relief to have it done.

  22. modflowers says:

    Just wow. I am not surprised you are ready for something new on the quilting front after all the work that’s gone into that masterpiece! I seriously don’t think I would have the patience to complete a project like that.
    Hope the jury service isn’t too trying…

    • katechiconi says:

      At present, all I want to work on is small, quickly completed things which give instant gratification! I’ll be ready for something big again in a week or so! Week 2 of jury service, and only 4 days left, so if it is trying, at least it’s not for long…

  23. rutigt says:

    I love it (haven´t said that before, have I?). You have done a GREAT work, sewing this quilt. Take a day off and then jump into a new project. That´s how we quilters works, it´s totally normal 🙂 I do it all the time, LOL. Have a nice day!!!!

    • katechiconi says:

      I’ve already begun! A nice small project is the three 12″ square blocks I have to make for June’s FootSquareFreestyle block swap. I’m going to try for something a bit more complex than usual, just to keep things interesting!

  24. EllaDee says:

    Well done… you finished WWF while I was distracted elsewhere. It’s impressive, and interesting and can’t fail to win!
    I’m pleased you’ve freed up some space for relaxation and other creative pursuits as well as jury duty… I was wondering how that was going 🙂

    • katechiconi says:

      Thank you! I’m finally freed from jury service for the rest of the week, and have managed to crank out two of the three blocks needed for F2F – post coming on that soon. It’s so odd not needing to sit down and stitch tiny stitches by hand in dark blue for hours…!

  25. pattisj says:

    Yay! That’s the trouble with a big project, by the time one is done they are long over it!

    • katechiconi says:

      I’ll be able to love it again soon… Meanwhile I’m enjoying some light relieve producing 12 inch square blocks for the FootSquare Freestyle block swap. Makes a lovely change from dark blue hexies!

  26. […] The individual hexies used in this block have been sitting around a while – since before Worldwide Friends, to be exact. But they are all made from scraps, and making a block from them does use scraps up, […]

  27. […] completed in 2015: Worldwide Friends: hand stitched & quilted, queen size The AHQ Corporal’s Quilt: machine stitched & […]

  28. […] edge wavy rather than squaring it off, so I’ll face the edge on the back like I did with my Worldwide Friends quilt, rather than chopping off some of the hexies. Before I do that, I’ll need to add some filler […]

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