Healing Hearts quilt for Paul
How I got my heart quilt
Paul, my second husband of 34 years was killed at work in March 1999.
Devastated doesn't even begin to describe the loss.
My online quilt group sent me more than a hundred healing heart blocks to ease my pain.
This is the story of the quilt.
How the Healing Hearts programme works
Southern Cross Quilters care
Southern Cross Quilters is an online guild for Aussies and Kiwis.
When people are having some bad times, the word goes out to the list and people offer their thoughts, their prayers and even their help to the member with the troubles.
The keeper of the hearts list finds out what the scquilter likes — colours, designs, etcetera. Then a request is posted to say who is hurting and why, and what the preferences would be.
My friends told the list that I like butterflies, brights and autumn tones and to make the hearts on cream backgrounds.
The logo for the group is often featured on blocks.
My healing hearts quilt
I knew many of the people
who sent the hearts
Since then I've met many more of them.
I was at the time, owner and editor of Down Under Quilts magazine. People all over Australia knew me from there, or from being President of Queensland Quilters Inc, or having taught them patchwork, or who owned some of my books.
They sent more than a hundred hearts and they kept coming.
Because the death was so violent and sudden, I didn't want the hearts, so friends organised for a lovely SCQuilter, Kerry (Morpeth?) to collect them and keep them.
Those same friends arranged a weekend, with Angela — my daughter, and several of my dear quilting buddies to come and help me open the hearts while they were there to comfort me. Kerry delievered them, and we spent the day looking through them.
Some of the hearts on the quilt - and there are many, many more.Click thumbnail to view full-size
Butterflies, autumn colours, trucks - in the heart blocksClick thumbnail to view full-size
The girls chose pictures
to use as a collage
The coroner wouldn't release the body, so we had a memorial mass.
As there was no coffin, my daughters searched through our photographs to find what they thought were representative of his and my life together, and made a collage in Photoshop®. They bought a green frame (he was mad about 'Brunny' green — what interior decorators call Brunswick Green), and we placed that in front of the altar.
His beloved Harriet, aged seven, asked in a stage whisper as she come into the church: "Where's the case they put them in, Mum?"
My family is very natural, very direct, and she knew about coffins from her great-grandfather and her Aunty Veronica. He would have laughed as we did.
Hearts from photos
I took some of those images
and used them to make heart blocks ...
... to add to the many, many I received.
I made a heart mask in Photoshop® and placed into several of the images which I then printed onto photo transfer paper. I ironed them onto light coloured fabrics and they were put into the quilt.
The kiss was at our 20th anniversary dinner.
The girls said it was what we were always doing!
Absolutely Quilts and Crafts
owner and friend, Jean
Jean rang Angela to ask what colour I thought of when I thought of Paul, so she asked me.
Guess what I told her!
So Jean sent some tan and green (brunny of course) fabrics, and some lovely blotchy dark brunny green. They are the fabrics I set the design together with, and the green strip is where I wrote his name.
What are all the triangles?
Flying Geese units
The green triangles are traditional Flying Geese units, depicting the wanderlust that Paul had.
They fly off all four of the edges of the quilt.
North, south, east, west...
The quilting's not good
I wasn't well...
It was a few years before I could even look at the quilt top, let alone quilt it.
I was starting to machine quilt, so I decided that if it was ever going to be finished, I should use that method. All the lovely Scquilters would think I didn't make their blocks into anything.
Because I was still unwell, and also a virtual novice at machine quilting, the stitching is truly awful. I was going to unpick it now that I have more expertise.
The truth is that where I was at the time should stay, and the rest of the stitching from here on will show that I have found healing and peace.
I wrote his name in the quilting - and his birth to death years.
Paul Urquhart 1946 - 1999
A few more of my quilt stories
- Rosellas in my garden quilt
Free machine embroidery enhances a quilt. Inspiration for a quilt can come from many sources. My sister gave me an old calendar with prints from an artist who specialised in Australian birds.
- Embellishing quilts: with fire?
And I have tried almost any genre you can think of. They can be traditional, crazy patched or very out there. I like to take traditional quilt blocks and play with them to make not-so-traditional quilt designs. Sometimes it's great fun to get out...
- Collecting: Love tokens
Love tokens come in many forms: traditionally they are coins from circulation, edges filed down and smoothed, engraved by hand with loving messages. My husband Bobby's love tokens are different.
© 2009 Jan T Urquhart Baillie