Almost one year from when we first started exploring the idea of stitched squares in the back room at Middle Street Resource Centre, we now have a completed quilt and somewhere fitting to hang it – exciting! This Tuesday morning Linda and I met with Zoe, who is one of the volunteers at the Canalside Heritage Centre, to look at the proposed space and plan how it would all fit together. The long wall at the back of the tearooms suited the dimensions of our quilt perfectly and it will sit really well with the existing patchwork cushions made by their in-house quilting group. We hope that it will give visitors something beautiful to gaze at as they wait for their cafĂ© order before taking a seat outside.

After a coffee and chat in the stunning gardens, also maintained by an enthusiastic group of volunteers, the moment came for Linda and I to find somewhere to sit and stitch the two halves together. We spent quite a bit of time, poring over the individual squares and why they fit together as a collection so well. We were eager to get the two pieces pinned and clipped and thread our needles for the last time. Starting at either end we conversed as we sewed and enjoyed the serene surroundings in the shade. Time seemed to pass by quickly, and we had completed the construction by lunchtime. It was a wonderful opportunity to catch up with Linda again.

It was a glorious moment when Linda put in the last stitch, tied off the thread and then held up the finished quilt, and a not so glorious a moment when I realised that we had made a very silly error…

Time wasted? Definitely not, as it was during our conversation that Linda and I talked in depth about the meaning of the project and how many stages we had gone through to get there, and of course we both saw the funny side of what we had done. In our excitement to see it completed, we had forgotten to do one last check after we had put the pins in. Ah well, it was easily rectified, as sewing mistakes often are.

Whilst Linda and I talked about the origins of the project and the various steps we took to arrive at this wonderful piece of collective craft, I was already starting to piece together these elements into an exhibition. In my usual way, distracted by my busy working week, I jotted ideas down as they came to me and by the weekend I had a comprehensive list of things to include. I collaborated with Linda on how we might best put all these elements together and we now have what I believe will be an arresting representation of our collective works, with the thread of community cohesion running through it.

Waiting in anticipation for the handmade paper and frames to arrive, so I can get started on putting it all together, I will be working on the publicity material today.I hope will give a hint of what’s to come but not give too much away.

The community quilt exhibition will be carefully assembled on Friday 28th August and be on display until the end of September. I will be taking lots of photographs of it in situ and taking it to other places, in anticipation of it finding it’s resting place somewhere in our fantastically creative community.

DU