When the idea of LB’s Justice Quilt was first mooted, I knew straight away that I would make a patch. Stitching a story has been part of my life ever since I made a Jo-Verso-style birth sampler for a friend, and she told me that the bit that she liked best was the interpretive key that I had pasted on the back of the frame:
“Birth sampler made by Kara for Billy Harold Brown, born <date>, weighing 7 lb 8 oz, to Joe Brown and Mary Smith. Billy is shown in his cot, with his name on the headboard and his date of birth and birthweight incorporated into the coverlet pattern. The design for the footboard of the bed has two linked gold rings representing his parents’ marriage and three superposed hearts for the three members of the new family. The cot is surrounded by toys and other items representing wishes for Billy’s future: a ball with a smiley face for a well-rounded, happy life; a trumpet in hopes that he may be as musical as his amateur jazz-player father; a pair of running shoes for a healthy life that will let him go far; and a jar of wildflowers for a love of outdoors as great as his mother’s. The border framing the sampler consists of various vehicles: buses and taxis in local authority livery for Mary’s job as a community transport co-ordinator; a Porsche and a Lamborghini for Joe’s garage selling high-end cars, and a pair of bicycles for their membership of the Cyclists’ Touring Club (the letters CTC form part of the bicycles’ design). The maker and the mother had been close colleagues and friends for some years at the time of Billy’s birth”.
The patch that I made for LB’s Justice Quilt is five rows down from the top on the finished quilt, on the left-hand side as you look at it. The design is based on the photo in my #107days blogpost, “Day 28: Drops of Brilliance”.
The picture was used by kind permission of the photographer, K. Cusick of Daffodil’s Photo Blog.
The quilt patch has a dark-brown background of material from a school-play costume I designed and made for Grenouille. I wanted Connor to have something linked to G. The design is an appliqué shamrock leaf in bright-green felt, comprising three separate leaflets with the main veins delineated in silver lurex back-stitch embroidery, plus a stalk also embroidered in silver back-stitch: ‘Kara xx’. The four felt pieces are individually stitched to the backing with silver lurex thread, using blanket stitch.
In the centre of the leaf is a large brilliant, also sewn on, with silver thread whip-stitch, for the ‘Drops of Brilliance’ post. As I said on that post, “I wanted some brilliant raindrops, and I wanted them on a shamrock, partly because we have been so lucky with people willing to drop brilliance into G’s life, partly because of the heart-shaped leaves, but mostly as a reminder of LB’s love of Ireland.” I rather liked that the brilliant was originally from a chandelier, since the purpose of #107days is to shed light on the murk surrounding LB’s death.
Finally, the words ‘107 days’, for the time Connor spent held in STATT before dying there, were embroidered freehand onto the empty corner, using green cotton embroidery thread twisted with green and silver lurex. I started with stem stitch for the ‘107’ but found it didn’t work particularly well on the textured background material so used chain stitch for the ‘days’. I wished I had done chain stitch from the beginning, as on reflection it was a much more appropriate stitch, being linked and interconnected; I felt it represented the way #107days was linking people in the search for justice for Connor. However, replacing the number would have been difficult and risked damaging the background fabric, so I sent it off as it was – not perfect, but done with care, love and a lot of thought.
That seemed about right.