Monday, 30 May 2016

A 50th Wedding Anniversary Gift ** Finish**

In March my parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, 50 years! Quite an achievement and certainly something to celebrate. 

My eldest brother, given he lives local to them, took on the role of chief organiser to assemble nearly 60 members of the family in one place on the anniversary day. The invites were sent, and the hall, caterers and DJ were booked. The hardest part was keeping all this a secret from our parents. It was  to be a surprise for them! 

We flew into the country a few days before the party and had to camp out well out of sight. In fact, all the family that had travelled across the country were stuck in their hotel rooms for a few hours while our parents went into town shopping. They live in a small town and would certainly have recognized a member of the family walking down the street. It made it all that little bit more exciting though.

Come 6.30pm on the day of the anniversary we all gathered together at the hall and waited for my brother to bring our parents to their surprise party. There was a concern they might not like our surprise, but thankfully there were tears of joy when they arrived! Later my mum was telling me how she had entered a competition on a blog that had asked the question how you would like to celebrate an event. She had commented that she would like for all her family to be together in one place to celebrate. Well, I guess that wish came true! To put in context, I live in Canada, one of my brothers in France and a lot of extended family in London (some 5 hours drive from my parents home town). On walking into the hall she had no idea she was walking into a family gathering and was so pleased. My dad on the other hand said, 'yes well, I had an idea something was going on!' but he's never one to admit he doesn't know everything :)


Anyway, back to the reason for this blog post. To commemorate the event I decided to make a quilt for them. The organizing of this party started a year in advance, so in theory I had lots of time. Well, Christmas came and went and I still hadn't decided what pattern I was going to do. I had the fabric. Some 5 yards of Kona white and 3 layer cakes of Simply Colourful II fabrics by V & Co.

January disappeared but I had at least decided by then that I wanted to print pictures of the family and circle them in a round and round quilt by Thimble Blossoms.

Fortunately I had wedding pictures of all 5 of us siblings, but I struggled to find a good one of my parents. I wanted a picture of my parents on their wedding day, but sadly that was not possible. One weekend they went away and my younger brother went searching their house, but it was boy searching and so he found nothing! Eventually I cropped them out of a different wedding picture. I then printed off the pictures onto the Kona white fabric. This was not as easy as I had envisaged! I had a lot of trouble. But I did get better the more I did! I went through quite a bit of fabric and ink though! 

I had already started to construct the blocks by this time. These came together quickly once I got going. By now it was well into February.

The round and round quilt design has a lot of white space in it, so I decided it would be really nice if the grandchildren were included in the quilt. There are 16 grandchildren in our family and many of those were born before digital cameras. So I had to get my siblings to find photos, scan them and send them to me. This took time and by now I was getting concerned about finishing it. There's actually 4 great grandchildren but I just couldn't wait any longer.

I kept going though and there were many late nights. My days were spent doing my college work, that was also very demanding, and making sure I kept home for my family. Busy times. The top was finished around the start of March and then I started the back. I had a lot of layer squares left so I used them in a pinwheel design like the front, only larger. Can you believe this is the only picture of the back I have and this is the wrong side of it. It is laid out ready for layering together, but you get the general idea!

And the finished front of the quilt. Again not a great picture. I basted this together on March 13, just 13 days before the party. I still had to quilt and bind it! The kids had started Spring break too so my days were suddenly not my own and we were busy. 

I think I started quilting it earnestly on the Friday before we flew on the Monday. I spent pretty much all weekend at the sewing machine with some pretty late nights. Fortunately I have a very kind husband who took care of the kids and food! I finally attached the binding late on the Sunday evening. We were due to fly to London the next day and I had't really done the packing. But the quilt was done. I just had to hand sew the binding down. I did some of this at the airport the next evening as our flight was delayed by 3 hours. I eventually finished sewing the binding down at 1pm on the Saturday, the party started at 6.45pm that evening! It was cutting it a bit too fine for my liking! 

This quilt is huge, 82 x 80". The blocks measure 22.5 each and I added extra squares into the design for the grandkids. But I love it. I love the colours and the pattern. And the pictures of the family make it so special. 

If you are still reading, I'm impressed! Now for some pictures. 


And some close ups of the back:

I didn't get a chance to take any photos of the whole quilt before I gave it to my parents, but here is a picture of it on their bed.  

They have promised to take a picture and send it to me! But for now this will have to do. I am so pleased with it, it was worth all the stress, in my book anyway, other's may not agree! My mum (who is also a quilter) was so very pleased and impressed with it!

I think this is probably the fastest quilt I have ever made, shows what can be achieved when there is a deadline!!  Another one I can tick off my list of goal for the Finish-a-long (see here)!
2016 FAL

Pattern (front): Round-and-Round by Thimble Blossoms.
Pattern (back): Made up by me.
Quilting: Free hand machine quilted, stippling and pebbles by me.
Fabric: Simply Colourful II by V & Co.
Size: 82' x 80'
Started: February 5, 2016
Finished: March 26, 2016