I began a quilt for my nephew & his wife on the day they were married. I placed 2-1/2 X 5 inch muslin strips backed with freezer paper onto a table at the reception and invited guests to sign their name in the center. Some guests drew photos while others wrote messages. I collected 52 signatures.
The signatures languished in a box for more than a year while I continued collecting purple fabrics, the brides favorite color, and drafted a block using a photo of a chimney sweep quilt in a book I had owned for years. The chimney sweep block has triangles inset along the edge leaving a bias border. I didn’t want to work with bias edge blocks.
Enter Pat Holly, acclaimed quilter with several AQS Best of Show wins. I attended the 3rd annual Holly Girls Quilt Retreat (HGQR) in northern Michigan in September 2016. Pat broke the block down into two alternating sections to create a block made only of squares & rectangles. One block incorporated the signature sections. The alternating block had to be sewn using fabrics from the four adjoining signature blocks. I could only work with a few blocks at a time to avoid placing the fabrics in the wrong location.
Life always gets in the way of finishing things I begin, especially quilts. I had two new grandson born and several nieces & nephews. Each received a baby quilt. The wedding quilt had to wait
I also do better with deadlines. I decided I must finish this quilt for the sake of the bride’s mother. A friend as well, Shana had terminal cancer. Unfortunately, I did not complete it in time for she passed away in February just before the pandemic shut everything down. Now I must make the quilt a priority. With a 5th anniversary looming, I worked away at the quilt.
But although I knew how to produce block sections, I couldn’t visualize how to finish the quilt. I used my seam ripper so often, I became discouraged. As I sewed blocks into the quilt, I was often saddened. At least 6 people had passed away. The quilt would not be finished by their 5th anniversary.
In January of this year, I finished piecing the quilt. I had hoped to mark the anniversary of Shana’s passing with the finished quilt, but it would not be. The quilt was now over 100 inches on all sides, having to add two extra horizontal rows to accommodate the last two signature blocks to balance the quilt.
Next, I pieced together the backing. I had purchased 9 yards of panda bear fabric in 2016 to make the quilt back. I had searched for fabric with panda bears to no avail. Then, while attending the baby shower for my nephew’s first child, they were presented with a baby quilt backed with panda bear fabric. The maker gave me the website where she purchased it. NOTE: Many of you are probably wondering why I was using panda bears on a wedding quilt. Well, my nephew’s nickname is Panda Bear. Now, four years later, I worried whether I would have enough fabric to make the backing.
Enter my long-armer, Rhonda. Because the quilt backing was so wide, she needed to place the quilt sideways on the long arm frame. I was able to piece the backing so the panda bears sat right side up. In March, off the quilt went to my long-armer.
The quilt was bound in the same panda bear fabric and an extra quilt block with my own signature was added to the back for a label. I presented the quilt to my nephew & his wife on their 6th anniversary. I named it the Rench Wedding Album. I had the bride & groom sign blocks and placed the wedding date & church name into two of the blank blocks on the outside. A quilt to be treasured.