Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Quilt of Valor - Stars and Geese

I have a soft spot in my heart for Veterans.  (I've been married to one for 31 years.)  The Quilt of Valor Foundation has a mission to wrap each veteran who has been "touched by war" in a quilt.  

Our guild has a group that works on Quilts of Valor once a month, but since I still work, I am unable to go to most of the work sessions.   I usually have at least one QOV project going here at home.   I finished one around New Years, and needed to start something new.   During my "orphan block" purge,  I came across some blocks that had originally been meant for a different Quilt of Valor....  but ultimately did not make it into that particular quilt.  

Here is the story:  

I belong to an internet group that made blocks for QOV for recipients who were personal referrals from members of the group.  We made approx 10 finished QOV over a period of about 3 years.   Members would sign up for the portions of the quilts that they wanted to provide.   The blocks or fabrics would be sent to a "piecer", who would piece the top... and then it would go to the "quilter", who would quilt it and then on to the person who would bind it and stitch the lable.   The last person was usually the person who would ultimately award it to the person they had nominated.   

Sometimes it would be a year, between nomination and design process,  to finished quilt, and we would often have 2 or more projects in one of the phases of completion. 

We designed a quilt for a member of the US Coast Guard using the Coast Guard Star.  

Blocks were to be sent to a member  for assembly.  This member was very active in our group, and was one of the steering members who kept the daily  up-beat banter going on our forum.    Sadly, she was  silently and valiantly fighting cancer.  Being an internet group means we all had a veil of privacy to protect us.  She had told us she was having some health issues,  but I don't think any of us knew just how progressed her illness was. 

Many of us had sent our completed stars and pieces to her for piecing, and then we got the sad news that she had passed away.    We were so sad to have lost her, that is was several weeks, before we realized that the blocks were at her house.   Knowing that her family was also missing her,  we wanted to respect their time to grieve.   It was a couple of months before I reached out to her daughter.  "If you should find some red and blue stars that look similar to this while cleaning up your mom's quilting stuff, they were originally intended for a QOV...." , I wrote.  Her daughter responded, saying that neither she, nor her dad had really faced the quilting area yet, but if she found anything that resembled our project, she would forward it to me.    

We all committed to new blocks, being sent to a new person to piece this quilt, and pressed onward and upwards.   It was nearly 6 months later, that I received a package in the mail with a letter from her daughter.  She had found a large ziplock bag full of stars.  Were these the ones?    By now, we had completed the quilt that was originally planned.   In my thank you note back,  I assured her and the rest of our group, that those stars would be used in a QOV.   

The next several quilts that we started on, were designs that didn't include friendship stars, or the bright white background that these stars have.  

The cost of postage was getting prohibitive, mailing quilt parts all over the county..... and the group never was really the same once we lost this member....  one by one, many of the members left the group to join other quilting groups on other forms of social media.  

Forward to today... 

I came across these blocks and decided they would become my next QOV project.   I used my EQ design software to come up with a design that would use the parts I had received.  
This is the design I came up with.  

 I had enough just enough of the friendship stars!   I would make the larger stars and geese to  complete the top.  

At the National Quilt of Valor Sew Day on February 6th,  I completed the geese and large star blocks.  

I assembled them into the center of the top at our Guild Retreat in early March.  

Today,   the top is waiting for it's final borders.  It will finish at approx 60 x 75. 

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