Central Plateau, North Island

Central Plateau, North Island
View from a friend's farm

Friday, 23 September 2016

Blogger’s Quilt Festival, where Wally’s Compass will be


To Walter
Happy 91st Birthday 4th March 2010
The Mariner’s Compass
Not sitting in the binnacle with the bridge just up above
No shouting down the voice pipe
“Starboard 15. Stop Engines, Slow ahead”
A Mariner’s Compass in quilter’s terms,
sewn with needle and with thread.
No swinging gimbal and no glass cover for salt spray protection
The four points, North, South, East and West,
and others for direction.
Remembering those words;
“To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”
This is sent to you with friendship and with love.

  Walter was a  true and  very dear friend, and when it was his birthday, and he was in hospital, very ill, I knew that I needed to do something special. A Mariner’s Compass  seemed so fitting. He served in HMS, from 1940 to 1945,  rising to the rank of  Lieutenant,from First Lieutenant,to Commanding officer of Motor Launch 106, and then Senior Officer of 51st ML Flotilla, He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross in July 1944.

The batiks were assembled,sorted, and chosen, gold silk  to surround the centre circle, the motifs for the North, South, East and West a mottled blue batik, , cut out, appliqued on with fusible web, and buttonhole stitched with my Bernina EQ 440. I used a  variegated King Tut thread for this, white King Tut for the inner band, midnight mottled  blue batik for the outer area,  to signify the night sky,  and a silver thread for the stars, to  show  the  many times Wally would be on the deck all night,  then framed with brown, for the good earth back home here in New Zealand, and pale blue binding, maybe what some of the seas would look like when calm.

There was a lot of secrecy when I posted his present to the Merino Ward at Auckland hospital, the staff agreed to keep it hidden  until the morning of his birthday. In they came,  he opened it, and then  it  was hung on the wall in his room. He phoned me, and I could tell he was delighted, surprised and quite overwhelmed by this. I  wrote today’s  opening words ( poem) , and  enclosed them with his gift, Walter had a stammer, and when he had to take over the  Motor Launch and issue the commands, “ Starboard 15, Stop Engines, Slow Ahead” , his stammer  ceased and never returned. I knew I had to include them in his poem.

Not long after this, Walter passed away in his sleep on 15th April. I met his family in Auckland at his funeral, and his daughter Kristine suggested very kindly that they might like to  return  his “Compass” to me .I  asked that it might go to a family member. When I opened the mail  a few weeks  later on, I had more tears,  her card told me that  his
 “beautiful quilt will hang  in  Felixstowe Museum  UK ,where  all the memories of the Coastal Forces are kept.”
Felixstowe Museum kindly emailed me a photo . It has an archival protective cover to stop any fading.
The words underneath state
“ Compass tapestry presented to Lt “Wally” Drake, DSC, RNZNVR .,
C.O. of ML 106, and Senior Officer of 51st ML Flotilla, on his 91st birthday in 2010”


When I read of this Festival, I thought of this as my entry,  but needed to know the measurements. I emailed Felixstowe Museum, and explained, and here is their reply.
Hello JeanWally's 91st birthday tapestry measures 21" x 21" (54 x 54 cm).
It still hangs in the Beehive Room in its archival protective sleeve but in a slightly different location.
If you can mention it is at Felixstowe Museum, that would be appreciated.
We have a signed copy of Gerry Wright's book in our reference library.
Good luck with the competition!
Colin Tod
Felixstowe Museum
tel: 01394 674355
This means my entry will be in the ‘Small Quilt”  category. 81 inches  to 240 inches  around.
Visit the Festival here,  at this link ,to see all the categories and quilts. There are stunning entries, and very talented quilters.

and you should find my entry here

No matter how many quilts I might make,or bags, table runners or wall-hangings, this for me is the most humbling experience ever,  and will always be the highlight of my quilting life. I am so honoured to know there is a part of Wally’s and my friendship, a small part of my quilting, and a small  part of New Zealand there in the Beehive Room at Felixstowe Museum..
Quotation of the day, author unknown,

“ When a  special friend has left you,
  they will always be in your heart and memories”

Greetings from Jean


Leeanne said...

Such a magic and touching story! The gift of giving sure has some mighty ripples at times!

eileeninmd said...

Hello, I love the compass quilt. What a great tribute to Wally! Great quote, it is so true! Enjoy your day and the week ahead!

Out To Pasture said...

It truly is a masterpiece, Jean, and extra special in that it warmed your friend's heart in his final weeks.

Eggs In My Pocket said...

The story is so touching and the quilt so beautiful......good luck......I hope it wins! How wonderful that it hangs in the museum!

The Furry Gnome said...

What a beautiful story, and what a great quilt! Looks like all those points meet just right!

Jocelyn Thurston said...

I had a tear when I read this post Jean. (Been a bit 'leaky' lately). It is so beautiful what has happened to your quilt; what a story. Best of luck with the competition. I'm off to look for it.

Julie Fukuda said...

I have always admired your compass and recognized it as a mariner's compass because of the fleur-de lis indicating North. Now it is great to hear the story behind it.

Quilting Babcia said...

A beautiful quilt and even more amazing story. Thank you for sharing!

Jen said...

What a beautiful story to go with a beautiful quilt. Those are the best quilts, aren't they? The ones sewn and presented with love.

Cut&Alter said...

Wow what a gorgeous quilt and such a moving post Nancy. If I am ever down in Felixstowe I will be sure to pop in and have a look!

Fundy Blue said...

Well, I can see that google really did eat my comments on this and your previous post, Jean!!! :( I love this story ~ You've told bits of it all. What a kind and lovely gift for your dear friend.

Jim said...

Yes, what a wonderful story and journey of your tapestry quilt, Jean.
Good luck in the contest category.

Barb said...

The quilt and your words are poignant and beautiful, Jean. Your quilt had special meaning as you sewed it for a special friend. Now it's fitting that it should be admired by others.

Lena Pugacheva said...

This is a beautiful quilt and such a moving story to go with it!

KB Bear said...

That quilt warms my heart, knowing the story behind it and seeing its incredible beauty. I'm so glad that it is hanging someplace to be enjoyed by lots of people!

Our photos said...

Owww, I liked the story of Walter !

Kate @ Smiles From Kate said...

A wonderful quilt and a fitting tribute. Thank you so much for sharing the story.

Terra Hangen said...

How wonderful your Compass Quilt is preserved in the museum and your friend is honored in that way.

Jenn Jilks said...

Jean, you are an amazing person. I love you lots!

Allie-oops Designs said...

This whole post made me cry - so glad Wally got to see his quilt - love the poem you wrote, and the reference to Ulysses (my fave ever). What an honor to have your quilt hanging in the museum.

JoZart Quilts said...

That is such a beautiful story and all credit to you for your skill and the love you put into the compass to give Wally special joy in his last days. I have a friend in Kent so I will ensure I get to Folkestone to see it in situ. Details will be written in my 2017 diary after I post this comment.
Well done Jean and you should rightly be so proud.
Jo in Liverpool, England.

Janet said...

Such a lovely quilt and a wonderful sentiment for a friend. We all like to know we are loved, no matter how old we are.