So many great things have happened on COLOURlovers in 2011, but one major, behind the scenes project that only a very small portion of members have been aware of was a quilt project straight from the heart of the Group: COLOURlovers on Spoonflower.
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Group administrator, leader and very involved COLOURlover, Penina, wanted her group to be something more than just a group of people who loved the idea of fabric. So one fine day back in July 2011, after coordinating ideas to make a digital quilt from the group member creations, she had the thought, “What’s stopping us from making a real quilt?!”
Penina wanted this quilt project to have purpose and to involve as many group members as possible. This also meant that the final piece would need to have a good home at a single location; so who would get the quilt?
Before designing began, group members had to decide on a theme. Unknown to one another, a handful of COLOURlovers independently suggested the same idea, a Cancer Healing Quilt. Many offered the idea with a particularly beloved COLOURlover in mind, o2bqueen, (a.k.a. Linda) who had shared her personal cancer journey (which she is still going through) on her COLOURlovers profile. With that in mind, the secret project started...
Official Spoonflower color test swatch created by Penina
And so began the first COLOURlovers on Spoonflower cooperative project: a queen-sized quilt made from colors, palettes and original templates submitted by members of the COLOURlovers community.
This turned in to much of a learning experience for many COLOURlovers (see the postpartum "what I learned thread in the group here) including Penina as the project coordinator and group leader. Under her very involved leadership, the project began when members voted on a seven color palette.
Next, each contributor combined the chosen palette colors in the variation they thought best featured their submitted template. This is where some COLOURlovers learned exactly how the protection of works literally works on COLOURlovers. After learning the in and out of the COLOURlovers rules, some participants were unable to be involved since it required the submitting of your own template.
During the last days of pattern submission, a couple of colors seemed to become the most prominent choice as the background for many of the patterns. At this point, additional COLOURlovers were invited to participate and their submissions helped reestablish the balance of colors which provided enough squares for the quilt to be queen-sized.
Completed submissions were printed via Spoonflower. There was some discussion on how how this was to work as a collaborative project. Between COLOURlovers copyright restrictions and needing to order from a single Spoonflower account, each participant had to email their SVG of the colored Template to Penina who put them in to a group run, not for sale status, account on Spoonflower called, COLOURlovers on Spoonflower.
This solution actually turned out to be beneficial to the group on COLOURlovers because it has since turned in to a feature group on Spoonflower where Penina can utilize it in a number of ways as it showcases the group and member designs on Spoonflower.com. Also, she has provided a link to each pattern (on COLOURlovers) and put the username of the designer in the details. Lastly, this established group can also be used in the future for more collaborative Spoonflower projects.
pictured, Dannielle (aka sundancer)
The swatches were sent to a talented charter member of the group, Dannielle (a.k.a. sundancer), who enthusiastically volunteered to sew it.
Originally, meant to feature the finished quilt on the blog in October for Breast Cancer Awareness month, Dannielle’s timeline for sewing up a queen size quilt was insanely short as swatches were arriving in the first weeks of October.
left: Dannielle / sundancer: All the swatches cut to size and ready to sew! right: Special Thread
She began cutting the fabric as soon as the package arrived. Shopped for additional materials for the quilt’s back, border, binding and batting at her local fabric store. With her own unique thread, she sewed by hand and with her sewing machine. Although she has made many quilts for others, she admits “I’ve never made a quilt that fast!”
During the four weeks it took to finish the quilt, Dannielle joyfully continued, even when her personal responsibilities intensified unexpectedly. Group members posted encouraging comments for her and she posted photos of the quilt as it progressed. Excitement really began to build as fellow COLOURlovers saw Dannielle’s loving heart and high standard of excellence reflected in the quilt’s construction.
As her deadline neared, Dannielle says she gave up a little sleep and postponed some housework to get the job done. She also had numerous fights with her sewing machine that threatened a delay. Ultimately, these arguments were settled by her seam ripper, which Dannielle calls “a quilter’s best friend.” Finally ready, the quilt was sent off to ketisse for a special lunch-date delivery to o2bqueen / Linda.
left: ketisse, right: Linda / o2bqueen - having lunch!
After all the months of work that was put in to this top secret project, not to mention, keeping it a secret, the tension started surpassing the excitement, what if Linda / o2bqueen did not want us to surprise her with a quilt centered around her cancer? What would we do with it then?
left: ketisse, right: o2bqueen / Linda
This was clamped as quickly as the hesitation came when Linda excitedly and warmly responded to our reaching out to her and she welcomed the gift, overjoyed:
" I love, love, love it. It's gorgeous, ingenious, inspiring, and joyful, and every time I see it, I will feel loved. How can I ever thank you enough for such a gift?"
"Not till I read your note did I realize how many people were involved in the project. I teared up big time. And I thought to myself, "However did they all keep this secret from me?" I do hope the experience was fun and rewarding for all of you." - Linda / o2bqueen (provided by sundancer / Dannielle)
It so happened, the very week ketisse was due to try to meet with and deliver the quilt, Linda was having yet, another recovery surgery and this meant so much to her to have something positive from the community she so loved and it was delivered in time, right before her 6th surgery.
o2bqueen / Linda holding the folded quilt to take home
Best wishes to Linda (o2bqueen) on the road to healing on behalf of the entire COLOURlovers on Spoonflower members. Many members were still a part of the process even when they were unable to submit a custom template.
Funding & Sponsorship for this project most generously provided by Spoonflower:
Printing a collection on Spoonflower as a Swatch Sampler will save you money when assembling a project like a quilt.
You can order a batch of swatches for all the designs in a collection in a single 'swatch sampler'. A sampler for a collection of 1-5 designs is $12, 6-15 designs is $20, and 16-30 designs is $35. At as little as ~$1.20 per swatch, this is the most cost effective way to order swatches at Spoonflower. Swatches are the same quality fabric as ordering a fuller selection of fabric.
Be sure you are familiar with the color changes (Spoonflower Color Guide), before printing an entire collection. Creating a color palette for an entire collection and then printing a proof swatch is the smartest way to avoid a major mistake and waste of money.
Templates used for this project and laid out in a digital quilt which links to the Spoonflower version of each template, which in turn links back to COLOURlovers (kindly assembled by ycc2106):
Much of this story and content of this article was written by Ketisse. Posted as a collaboration with my editing and a few portions written by me (mollybermea).