100 Quilts

Crossed Canoes

My sister’s friend recently lost her daughter.  As a memorial, my sister organized a group of friends to make quilt blocks in the crossed canoe pattern.  She laid them out on her floor, called and asked, “Can you help?”  Yes.  I asked her if she wanted me to get it quilted down here, as she couldn’t even get a quilter to take on the project before Christmas, and she wanted to get it to her friend.

She fast-mailed the quilt to me and it arrived overnight.  I put it up on my pin wall, and I have to admit I was discouraged. Really discouraged.  I had one more block to add, but all I could do that first day was true up the squares and put them back up on the wall.  That actually improved the balance of things, as part of the trouble was that they varied in size, as do all group projects of this kind.  I made mine and added it to the mix, but it was still problematic.

I went to bed, taught my class the next day, and came home and stared at it.

I called my sister.  Some changes were allowed.  I took apart one block to make it more the size of the others, and did a quilt intervention on two other blocks, substituting fabrics.  I moved the blocks around on my wall.


I had called my quilter, Cathy Kreger of CJ Designs and she had agreed to quilt it (a little miracle), so I kept working, knowing I had to drop it off the next morning.  I started stitching it together.

Borders on.  I didn’t smooth it down so they look a little wonky, but really, they’re straight. Done with the front, and I stitched together the back, trying to cut it creatively so I would have enough left for the binding.  The next morning, I dropped it off at Cathy’s.  She had one of mine ready for me, so I asked her if her small machine had anything on it, and if by any chance she could put this one on.  I told her the story and added that my sister had called and said she was coming down to Southern California for the weekend–I could give it to her then.  Cathy agreed to get it done quickly, and two days later, Thursday, it was done.  Like I said, she’s a miracle worker.  We chose the quilting pattern titled “Calm Water,” a fitting pattern for these crossed canoes.

Back from the quilter, I took a photo of my block–it’s right next to the boldly patterned block of my sister’s.  I like that we’re together.

Sewing on the binding.

My sister came by and picked it up late on Friday night (nearly midnight) and she was thrilled.  A few days later, she sent me an email with these photos, a fitting conclusion to our shared escapade.  I’m so happy she’s happy with it, and I think it turned out to be a lovely memorial quilt.

The label listed all the quilters, including Cathy.

I love how the canoes really show up in this angle–kudos to all the quilters, and for my sister for this perfect idea.

6 thoughts on “Crossed Canoes

  1. I’m just embarking on making this quilt (Crossed Canoes) as a memory quilt for my parents. We lost my brother, an avid canoeist, in December. I hope I can manage the calm waters quilting pattern. Thank you for that idea! Your quilt turned out beautifully. I’m making mine with my brother’s shirts and a few other fabrics from my stash for extra vibrancy. I’ll be keeping in mind your story as I make mine. I’m very heartened by it.

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