From Labels to Prize-winning Masterpiece

Esther Bryan

It is always amazing to see how some projects get started and where they lead to. This story is a zinger!

Mary Ann McAndrews was one of the volunteers from the Heirloom Quilters Guild in Kingston who helped stitch the blocks on to the Quilt of Belonging. So as not to make any mistakes in placing the blocks, Marilyn Vance, who oversaw these stitching bees, had made cloth labels with the name of the block for each position. When the labels were no longer needed, Mary Ann collected them in a jar, not really having any concrete use for them at the time, but keeping them “just in case”.

These small scraps eventually became the inspiration for a stunning quilt, 95″ X 95″ called ‘Common Dreams’. Finished last-minute, Mary Ann was unsure whether to enter it in the Canadian Quilter’s Association’s 2007 national competition or not, but she finally sent it off for judging … and SHE WON!

She used the labels around the border after dyeing them red. Fabrics from other continents were included in the piecing. She used a black background as in the Quilt of Belonging and red in the centre as it is the predominant colour of the Quilt and she said “because my mother and grandparents were from the Ukraine. ” Truly, from small beginnings, great things can come! Well done!