ITAA: Happy Things

Two more cornerstone blocks in today 🙂

Lynn has made two of the cornerstones I need for the quilt.

You may recall that these cornerstones represent things which made Trudy happy. There’s the Trudy Crowley Foundation she initiated and set up, her work for Ovarian Cancer, her family and friends, a glass of bubbly, the pretty shoes she adored, and the beach, her happy place. So we have the TCF logo, the ovarian cancer ribbon, a heart to represent the ones she loved, a shell for the beach, a fabulous high-heeled shoe and a glass of bubbly.

I’ve done the TCF logo and the ribbon, Lynn has made the shoe and the glass, Sue has made the heart and Margaret has made the shell; the two last are on their way so I can’t show them yet.

Paper pieced pattern ©2018 Kate Chiconi

Paper pieced pattern © Maartje Quilts in Amsterdam

The shoe pattern is available free on the internet, and if you want the glass, just email me, I’m happy to send you a scan of my hand-drawn pattern.

I’ve also made a few extra blocks for the background and border, in case blocks on their way don’t arrive in time for me to start assembling, quilting and bordering. Rest assured that anything that arrives after that time will find a home in future quilts, so your work hasn’t been wasted. With the house move going ahead, my time is so tight now that I may need to make these difficult decisions, so I hope anyone affected will forgive me. I’m not showing the blocks I’ve made, as I’m still hoping they won’t be needed. Also, I’m still waiting to hear from the embroiderers about whether they can do the banner. I’ve virtually resigned myself to having to cut out and place each letter individually using iron-on transfers. That’d be fine, but embroidery would look a bit nicer and save me some time. Fingers crossed…

So, some progress. I hope that in the next few days I’ll receive the shell and a background block from Margaret – I’m looking forward to seeing the shell she’s made using appliqué, it should be lovely!

While I wait, I should look at some F²F³ blocks too, don’t you think…?


ITAA: walls start to go up

It’s coming along.

So far, I have about half the blocks I need for the pale background, and half what I need for the border. More blocks are on the way from the lovely generous contributors, and of course, I’m making blocks myself, as you can see here.

Still needed:
4 background blocks.
3 rectangular border blocks
4 square border blocks
4 cornerstones


On the way:
Background blocks: 2 from Jenny, 1 from Margaret. I’ll make the last one.
Rectangular border blocks: 1 from Lynn, 1 from Nanette, and I’ll make another one.
Square border blocks: 2 from Sue, 1 from Margaret, and I’ll make one.
Cornerstones: 2 from Lynn, 1 from Sue and 1 from Margaret.

If I can get all the centre background blocks, I can actually assemble, quilt and add the wings and other bits to that section, so I’m crossing my fingers that they’ll come first. It would be good to have a section complete and ready. One less thing to worry about…

I’m also waiting to hear from the embroiderers about the banner. There are technical issues with getting the banner into the frame that holds the fabric while it’s being embroidered, and I reckon I can probably get around that by basting a border around the banner to extend it. There are other issues surrounding actually doing the embroidery of the letters. The text runs on a curve, both top and bottom line, and this will require the piece to be repositioned frequently. If they feel they cannot achieve a satisfactory result and turn the job down, I have a solution for that too. I’ll make the text as a transfer, and if I have to cut out each letter individually and place it on the curve, then that’s what I have to do. I can give it the dimension I wanted by hand-quilting around each letter to make it pop out of the background. Fiddly, but it’ll do as a Plan B.

We’re getting there!

ITAA: both wings

That went better than I hoped!

Both wings are now ready – I found a quicker way of assembling the second one and it was done in a couple of hours 🙂 I’m loving the pair, which are… not chunky, but substantial. As you can see, I also got the hook done.

Today’s mail delivery also brought these really beautiful blocks from Nanette for the ‘wall of heaven’ background behind the wings. Gorgeous colours, fresh, pale and clean. Heavenly, even!

Tomorrow I need to pay a visit to the embroiderers with the banner and the text to go on it, to see what they can do for me.

And that’s the news today from Heaven’s waiting room 🙂


ITAA: fully fledged

One of the wings is done 🙂

Each feather now has its central shaft stitched in and is attached to the stiff foundation piece behind. The wing is about a metre long and the weight is quite substantial, so I’m really glad I made the foundation, or it’d be dragging on the front of the quilt, which would be pretty ugly.

It took the better part of a day to finish each feather and assemble the wing correctly, so I won’t have the second wing finished for a couple of days yet.

Once I do have the other wing finished they’ll be ready to be stitched to the back-ground ‘wall’. I have about half the blocks I need for the wall – there are more on the way and I also have to make more, so it’ll be a while before I’m ready to quilt and assemble that.

This detail shot gives you a better idea of the fabrics used in the wings, and also shows the tiny glitter of the silver thread I used to stitch in the shaft of each feather. It’s a small detail, but I think it adds to the overall effect. Click to enlarge the image.

I’m really happy with how the wing has turned out, to the point where I’d love a pair of wings just like it to wear on the back of a dark coat. Perhaps not for everyday wear, but striking!

I also have the ‘L-plate’ done, complete with its own hanging cord. I just have to make the wall hook and that’ll be all the 3D elements completed and I’ll have done the part I wasn’t entirely sure how to do. And there are more border blocks and a cornerstone on the way which I’ll show when they arrive.

And then there’s the Trudy Crowley Foundation logo I need for the top right hand cornerstone… I’ve been waiting to hear about this for a few weeks, and chased it up today, because time’s getting tight. I’d hope to be able to use it in teal on a cream background, but this is not a usage they want, which is fair enough; the master logo is lilac and white. However, I’m OK to use it in white on a teal background, so that’s what you’ll be seeing eventually.

Once the second wing and the hook are done, I’ll need to make the logo and ribbon cornerstones; the heart, shoe, glass and shell are all in hand (thank you, ladies!), and probably some more background and border blocks.

We’re getting there, slowly…

In the Arms of the Angels: feathers…

I’ve been making some progress behind the scenes.

Firstly, the scroll that goes at the top of the centre panel. It’s slightly padded with a batting layer, which gives it a bit more dimension, I think. I chose a pale green-beige batik that looks a bit like stone, and I’ll get the words embroidered in serif capitals if I can, in teal thread. It’s not as dark as it looks in the photo – indoor lighting 😦

And then the wings… There’s going to be lots of feathers. They need to be stiff, like real flight feathers, and layered so as to have depth, instead of being just flat and one-dimensional. This is going to mean a fair bit of weight, so I had to create a stiffened foundation shape on which to stitch them so that they don’t pull at the surface of the quilt. This foundation will itself be sewn to the background by hand with invisible stitches, so that it doesn’t affect the quilting and is invisible on the back.

I’ve used a fairly stiff non-fusible interfacing between the front and back layers of each feather, so that the shape is firm and sword-like. Once the feather is turned through, it’s topstitched around the edge to keep it crisp, and will have a further topstitched shaft down the centre. The feathers are overlapped slightly, as in nature, and the colours are varied to give added visual interest. I’m mixing a grey and beige overprinted with a little silver for the leading edge feathers, with lots of different beige and cream prints to give texture as well as colour variation. It’s very labour intensive, but I really like the effect.

And Kathy’s lovely pale background block has arrived, which is really going to help with the soft broken-colour I’m after. One thing I’ve realised is that I need to keep the tips of the wings as free of the pale background as I can or they’ll blend in too much, so the tips of all the feathers have to stay separate, but I may also need some sort of ‘shadow’. I’m thinking some very fine grey tulle laid over the background under the tips of the wings may give the effect I’m after, as it’ll allow the background colour to show through instead of being solid. Anyone have any other suggestions for achieving what I want?

Still lots more to go… Meanwhile, keep those background, border and cornerstone blocks coming, my lovelies!

In the Arms of the Angels: we take flight

Christmas is over and my cutting table was empty, so…

So of course, it was time to start work 🙂 Already, I have received four blocks and made three of my own. There’s more en route and still more promised. I could have waited a bit longer, but the deadline is looming large in my brain and making me restive, and anyway I wanted needed to do some exploratory work.

First out of the traps were Robin’s four blocks, two pale background squares and two dark border squares. Gorgeous, aren’t they?

Then I made three light background blocks myself. Two of them are scrappy, as I don’t want things to be too tidy; I’m hoping for a soft, broken-colour effect.

And finally, using butcher paper, I blocked out the size and shape of the light background on which the wings will sit so that I could work on the banner, hook, L-plate and wings. It doesn’t look like much yet, but I really needed to look at size, proportion and placement.

 All these elements will be separate pieces which will be appliquéd to the background. The edges of the banner and L-plate will be free of the background, and the wing feathers will be substantially free of the background along their length, I hope, so that there will be some movement. I’m still working on how exactly I’m going to achieve that, but at least now I have sizes and shapes blocked in.

The wing shapes are just foundation pieces at the moment; the actual wings will be larger, and they’ll also look fuller with the feathers lying thickly over the background.

So, In the Arms of the Angels is off the ground.

In the Arms of the Angels

A new and very different Ovarian Cancer quilt

This quilt has been in the pipeline for a couple of months. Originally, the delivery date was in April, which was tight, but not ridiculous. I have now been given an insanely short deadline for this quilt. It must be ready to photograph by 22nd March 2019, in order to feature in the program for the Twilight Dinner which is to launch the Trudy Crowley Foundation, and to be available for auction at that event on 30th March. This design has been approved and I cannot now go back and redesign it into something simpler. Even if I could, I wouldn’t want to; this is my tribute and farewell to Trudy Crowley, a magnificent woman and wonderful human being.

Between now and then, I have to finish Go Teal it on the Mountain, I have other sewing commitments (F2F, etc), I have a 5-day trip to Melbourne in early February, there’s Christmas, and we’re moving house at the end of February. However, I really want to achieve this in order to do justice to the amazing work Trudy started and which the Foundation has been created to continue. My original plan was to make this quilt myself, but that is very clearly impossible now. So, I am reaching out for help from the quilting community, and I know you will not fail me.

Here’s the design, and below it, a list of what is needed.

Note: the cross in each block indicates whether it’s a square or rectangle, it’s not a design for the block

Background: 3 squares across x 4 squares high = 12 x 12½” blocks

  • All fabrics very pale pastel shades of teal, turquoise, sky blue, cream, stone
  • Blocks can be simple chequerboards, 9-patch, HSTs, etc, but any design or pattern is not to jump out or have any strong contrast – this is the ‘wall of heaven’, and is background only.
  • The background needs to be quilted and assembled before the rest of the quilt is built around it. Blocks will be stitched together directly, and the whole panel will be sandwiched and quilted as one piece. Other elements will then be appliquéd to it, and the borders added last by joining strips.
  • NOTE: some of the squares will be covered or partially covered by the wings. Until I have all the background blocks, I will not know what is going where. If your blocks are covered this is not a sign that I don’t like what you’ve made, it’s simply how the background came together to achieve the best overall effect.

Border: 5 blocks across x 5 blocks high, as follows: 6 x 12½” blocks, 6 x 10½” cornerstones, 4 x 12½” x 18½” rectangular blocks

  • Of these, 14 are plain and 6 are cornerstones: shoe, shell, glass, heart, ribbon, logo.
  • Border squares are to be dark shades of teal, greenish blue, bluish green, etc.
  • Cornerstone blocks are to be finished at 10½” square; a border will be added when they are joined to other blocks.
  • Border blocks can be simple squares, HSTs, etc, but the pattern is not to jump out, it is to be a ‘mosaic’ frame around our view through the window into heaven.
  • The cornerstones should be executed in shades of teal, greenish blue, bluish green, etc, on backgrounds of warm cream, stone, caramel, etc, either plain or small prints that read as gentle texture.
  • This border needs to be quilted and assembled in sections before being attached to the rest of the quilt.
  • Cornerstones will be sandwiched and quilted separately, and then attached to the other parts. The long strips will then be added to the completed centre panel, top and bottom first, and then the long side panels with the integrated cornerstones.


  • These will be partially appliquéd and partially 3D off the background.
  • They will be executed in warm cream, stone and caramel with accents of teal, greenish blue and gold.
  • They will be created and quilted separately before application to the background.

Other elements:

  • There is a ‘peg’, an L plate, and a lettered banner. The peg is appliquéd, the L plate is pieced and 3D
  • The banner ideally needs machine embroidery, but may end up being hand lettered if I can’t get this organised (unless I can get the Committee to cough up for it…) Once lettered, it will be a 3D piece appliquéd to the background.

A big thank you to all those who have offered their help. Below, please see a list of names and the work I have tentatively assigned to you, based on my knowledge of your strengths.

Kate Chiconi: logo cornerstone, wings, banner, quilting, assembly
Lynn Hutton: Shoe & Glass paper pieced cornerstones (patterns will be supplied)
Robin Murphy: background/border
Margaret Creek: Scallop shell appliqué cornerstone/background/ border
Tracy Pursley: Ribbon appliqué cornerstone/background/border (TBC)
Sue Brown: Scrappy Heart pieced cornerstone/background/border

Jenny Ladbrooke: background/border

Please let me know if you cannot do what I am suggesting, if you feel able to take on some more, or if you’re not on the list but would like to be. The more help we have, the better our chances of getting it completed in time.

The impossible we can achieve tomorrow. Miracles take a little longer….