The Chicago Modern Quilt Guild’s entry into the QuiltCon Charity Quilt project was inspired by the pattern “Blue Ice” from Quilting Modern by Jacquie Gering and Katie Pedersen. As a longtime member, Jacquie has contributed so much to the spirit of the guild and it was a natural choice to turn to her for inspiration.
The first group of blocks were made at our guild’s fall retreat. We put out a call to bring scraps in the blue, green, and grey from the assigned color pallette, brought some coordinating yardage and borders, and set the group loose. The instructions included the finished block size and some guidelines about the block borders: at least three, using the yardage we bought, and only use berry in the middle border. Some ladies produced entire blocks while some created the gorgeous improv centers and passed them on to others to put borders on. Choosing a pattern that combined some improvisation with some specific guidelines allowed participants to play within their comfort zone or push themselves to try something new. The group had a lot of fun working together and exchanging ideas, encouragement, and scraps.
A couple of weeks later, we brought all the supplies to our monthly guild meeting and invited everyone to participate by taking fabric home to make a block. For those who had missed out on being in the group working together, it was fun and helpful to look through the blocks that had been made at the retreat. Looking through the blocks together provided an opportunity to notice details and ideas together and share in that inspirational part of the group process. In all we had at least 25 members participate in the project.
With the blocks done, three of us got together to press, trim, arrange, and assemble. The best part about helping with this task was being able to spend time looking at every single block. Each one is so incredibly different. Some have huge centers and skinny borders while some are tiny in the middle with extra-thick borders. Some centers are tall and skinny, some square, some funky parallelograms, and some break out into their borders. Some blocks follow the guidelines to the letter and some beautifully break the rules. Looking at just two or three blocks lined up may make one wonder how they will fit together in the same quilt, but stepping back to look at the entire quilt reveals that what each block has in common is more than enough to hold them together in a beautiful whole. In this way, the quilt has become an unexpected reflection of our guild and of the wider quilting community. There are as many different styles, methods, and personalities as there are quilters, but when you bring us together the resulting friendships are the kind that are made to last.