We have had an amazing day already, and still have the show to do in Ipswich.
We left Brisbane to drive to Ipswich, but we took the long way around. We had performed at a quilt festival in Toowoomba in 2006 and wanted to take a look around town again. You may have heard about Toowoomba – it was one of the towns flooded during the catastrophic floods in February. There was some evidence on the main road up the hill – some slipping of earth onto the road, some slipping away of the
shoulders into the abyss below.
Toowoomba is right on the edge of the escarpment. The water flowed straight down the hills. The town itself has been cleaned up beautifully. In fact, we didn’t really see any evidence of the floods, except for downed dead trees in the creek beds until we arrived in Grantham. It is a tiny agricultural town that was one of the hardest hit areas. There wasn’t a single house we saw that was liveable – they were all gutted and, in some cases, dangerous to enter. It has been two months since the floods, and much has been cleaned up around town. Some of the vegetation has grown back too. But the houses take much longer. It was very moving, to see.
We were supposed to sing at Sew Creative in Gatton on this trip, but because of the floods in the area, it was cancelled. We stopped in on our way through to see how things were going, and were greeted by a great deal of excitement by Gail, Jenny and Janelle – the owners. It’s a lovely
shop, with an open, spacious and very friendly feel to it. But there is more than what meets the eye. This was “action central” for a remarkable
endeavour: the World’s Biggest Hexagon Quilt!
I don’t think there ever has been a larger hex quilt: 152,636 one inch hexagons were hand-sewn together by thousands of donors and an army of volunteers to make a quilt 108.8 metres long. They are looking to be listed in the Guinness Book of World Records, as they should be. What an endeavour!
While we were there, Gail asked me to write a song about the quilt. She told me some of the stories of people who made hexagons for it. One of them was her 96 year old mother. Her mother was in decline, and approaching the end of her life. Gail was joking with her, and told her that she couldn’t die until she finished her row. So she finished her row, and then she died a couple of hours later….! Gail used my song “Patchwork of Life” at her mother’s funeral. I will sing it for her tonight.
When they had hung it up on a fence and taken many pictures of it, they cut it into 115 pieces. Many worthy people received pieces of this
quilt – people who had been in accidents, etc. Perhaps some have gone to flood victims as well. They are all numbered and labelled.
I was absolutely gobsmacked when Gail presented me with one of these pieces!!!
I shall treasure it forever. I’m already thinking about how to write the song…..
The gals at Sew Creative are also working on other charitable quilty things: they have a stack of quilts for flood victims in one corner, and they have a huge pile of pillow cases for the Million pillow case challenge. Their hearts are huge, in Gatton, Queensland.
Before we left to come into Ipswich to prepare for our show tonight, Gail told me that she is also a descendant of Elizabeth Fry. We have so much to talk about!!!!
Thanks to the gals at Sew Creative, and especially to Gail for a memorable visit. They also came to the show that night, and here we all are together: