April 23, 2008

Farewell String Quilt for Fr. Casey Mahone

Banner to say Farewell.

My string block quilt.

A few weeks ago our Parish Priest, Fr. Casey Mahone, announced that he was being transferred. Although he has only been at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church for 4 years the Community was stunned at this announcement. He was a perfect fit for St. Xavier and St. Monica's.

Of course, right away I said to myself I must make a quilt. I thought about it, asked friends but I just couldn't come up with a quilt idea. Yes I own a million books, magazines, free downloaded files but nothing, absolutely nothing was working for me. So I gave up on the idea. Sunday (4/20) morning I woke up and said "the string blocks, they'll be perfect, the string will represent the people of our Parish". God does work in mysterious ways!!!

About 2 years ago I was in a swap to make scrappy string blocks. Things were going sour in the swap so I dropped out but made my blocks. Afterwards I looked at them and thought "what was I thinking" ... I hated them so I put them in the cabinet and closed the door. Awhile back I showed the blocks to the Heartstrings group and had decided to cut them in half to add plain fabric on one side. Thank goodness I didn't move forward with my idea.

When I woke up Sunday (4/20) I knew exactly what I wanted to do. So right after breakfast I got started. The top was finished on Monday morning; Monday afternoon I stopped at Sheryl's looking for the perfect backing ... a red backing. I found it, perfect red with just a touch of gold fleck .... it's by Blank Fabrics. Blank fabric are so nice ...... it came out of the washer/dryer just like it was on the bolt ... absolutely no ironing .... beautiful. Tuesday morning I loaded the quilt on Prince Charming (Nolting longarm) and got started. Tuesday about 9:30PM the quilting was done, quilt was trimmed, bias was made and binding was on the quilt. Wednesday I got to work hand stitching the binding to the backing ........ it's done, it's done, it's done with days to spare.

I used the Trailing Vine pantograph by Lorien Quilting. Now I'm fairly new to longarm quilting and points are alittle hard for me. I decided to make the inside section of the leaf rounded. I'm telling you this in advance because when DH (who is an ordained Deacon) looked at the finished quilt he said "WOW I love the flame and fish" (popular religious symbols) motifs and I thought "What, flames and fish?". I then said "it's a vine, honey". I have to admit that because I rounded that point inside the leaf sure enough it does look like a candle flame and the other leaf does look like an eyeless fish. Perfect!
By the way it was only after I had the binding on that I noticed the fabric had a tiny leaf design. I couldn't believe it ...... double perfect.

I like to make my labels by hand using the IdentiPen by Sakura. I sew the label with my Janome 6500 sewing machine to the backing fabric "before" quilting. Too many quilts are stolen and labels are removed .... when the label is quilted into the quilt it's pretty hard to remove. I do want to give credit for the label wording to my very best friend, Irene. I knew what I wanted to say but couldn't put it into words. I sent her a HELP email and in less than a minute she responded. The label wording is all Irene's. Thank you Irene.

To end my long write up ......... I LOVE the quilt. Here are a few photos..........

Do you see Flames and Fish?

575 reservations ..... the largest local dinner ever in a Catholic Community according to the Vicar, Fr. Peterson. Over 100 parishioners volunteered to setup, cook, serve, clean up and more.

Fr. Casey and his brother.

Fr. Casey and his quilt.

Joe giving Welcome speech and Fr. Casey's story.

Our gift to Fr. Casey from St. Francis Xavier and St. Monica's Parishes

Much better photos here by the Church Photographer.
Good bye Fr. Casey .......


Vicki W said...

The quilt is PERFECT!

jovaliquilts said...

What an inspired gift! I love the symbolism of each string representing a parishioner -- all so different, yet all coming together. The quilting looks great, too! Sounds like you will really miss Fr. Casey, but at least he will have a lovely, tangible memory of your parish in that quilt.

Jessica said...

Sandy, the quilt is beautiful! I'm sure Fr. Casey will cherish it!

Irene said...

Looks like a wonderful farewell to your much loved priest. You are more than welcome with the help on the label - you are constantly helping me with ideas so it was nice to be able to return the favour. Isn't that Doug in the apron? You'll have to get him to wear it at home - and all it entails!

Mary Johnson said...

I agree with Vicki - it is just perfect and I LOVE the blocks. What a wonderful memory it be for him of your parish.

mommajanjan said...

Beautiful quilt, the quilting looks like calla lilies to me, which always remind me of Easter mass..
a Heartstrings friend.

Helen in the UK said...

Sounds like those blocks were just waiting for the perfect time to become a quilt. You've done a great job. I love the way you did the bright red strings in a central diamond - like Fr.Casey being at the centre of the parish and all the strings being his flock. A wonderful momento :)

Susan Tidwell said...

LOVE the quilt! A beautiful gift. Flames and fishes in the stitches, great! Thanks for visiting my little corner of cyberspace. Have a great day!

Kathy said...

Your quilt is just lovely, wonderful quilting too. A perfect farewell gift.

I just got tagged by Judy of Stitch Along With Me and am passing "it" on to you if you feel so inclined.
Hope you have a good day!

Joyce Ann said...

Perfect choice! It turned out beautifully.
btw, I have enjoyed 'visiting' with you.

Ruth said...

What an amazing story and event - and quilt! Just gorgeous. Thank you so much for visiting and liking my quilt top.

G'G'ma said...

Beautiful quilt and a nice story. Isn't it amazing what we can accomplish under pressure!!

Thanks for the visit.