In the beginning…

In the beginning, I was hopeful that some of my friends on IG would be so kind as to help a girl out! I only needed 30 blocks to make a quilt for a domestic violence refuge. Turned out I’d be getting a few more than that. In fact, almost 600!

I decided on the tic tac toe block. I wanted a block that was 12 inches finished and one that was easy to piece for beginners and experienced quilters alike. As a recent member of the Blossom Heart Quilts Bee Hive quilting bee, I thought the free tutorial for the tic tac toe blockΒ that Alyce provided on her website would be perfect.

Block3

Gorgeous block made by Ros of @sewdeliciousros

I decided to ask for blocks with a low volume background and bright rainbow colours – in part because I love rainbows (!) but mostly because I thought they would brighten the day of women and children whose days are often pretty dark and grey.

blocks4

Made by Becky of @keiserquilts in Canada!

I put out the call for the 30 and, incredibly, the blocks started rolling in. I was pretty much inundated with tic tac toe blocks. I mean, the postie and I were pretty much on a first name basis and my kids started complaining about all the packages I was getting and they weren’t!

Amazingly, there were days that I regularly received 20 blocks and one day I even received 35! Soon I had enough to make 3 or 4 quilts and I knew I was going to need help. Along with the blocks, though, came the offers to help – for piecing, quilting and binding. Donations of quilt tops, batting and backing fabric were also gratefully received.

Alyce - Japan

Alyce from Blossom Heart Quilts sent a block too!

Blocks came in from all around Australia, New Zealand, America, Canada, Japan, the UK, Germany, Holland and Singapore. The project had really struck a chord with women all around the world. That 62 women had died within the first 36 weeks of 2015 – well, the crafty community were appalled and wanted to do something to show how much they cared.

62 names

The letters I received accompanying the blocks and the messages on IG and Facebook also told the story, too often, of women who were the survivors of domestic violence. In some cases the messages were from family or friends of a loved one who died at the hands of an intimate partner. I was honoured and horrified to read the stories – it really strengthened my resolve to make and gather these quilts so we could make a difference to the women who’s courage in leaving (and so often in staying) I so admired.

block6

Courage block made by Leanne Benson of @sewnbyleanne

In the beginning, the friends who I had asked for help on IG were the same ones who put up their hand and made blocks. They did so much more than that though. They also pieced tops, donated finished quilts, quilted the new quilts and supported me through it all.

Sewing day QB2HV

Sewing day at GJs – with Emma, me, Alison, Ros, Jane and Bronwen

I have some great friends since I started quilting and I’m truly grateful for them! Especially Jane (aka @behind_lilpipdesigns) and Alison (aka @baroness_stella) who have been a huge support and just all round awesome chicks!

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