On February 24th 2012 my birth father lost his battle with Prostate cancer he was 60 years and 3 months (to the day) old - he is survived by his almost 90 year old mother; he was meant to live a lot longer than he did.
We never had the conventional father/daughter relationship as we never lived together. When I was 22 we spent a month together in Turkey which was the start of a better understanding of who he was. He was also present for the few weeks before A was born less than 2 and a half years ago - and luckily A arrived the day before he flew back to NZ. Not long after he returned home, he was diagnosed with the cancer - but it hadn't been diagnosed early enough and had spread to his bones. Being the son of a GP he was pretty good at going to see his Dr but a vital test was not made PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen); which is an indicator as to whether there is cancerous cells present in the prostate.
I was talking to my mum - who had reconnected with my birth father and re-established their friendship after 20 odd years - and she said that she was angry at his Dr for not picking up on the cancer sooner. My dad's family has a history of female reproductive cancers - which we had been discussing when he was over before A was born - but there had been no occurrences of male cancers, little did we know that his body was already riddled with cancer that started in the prostate.
From this anger and a need to do something constructive about it I suggested that we do some fundraising for both the Hospice (which is fully privately funded) where he spent his last few weeks and for Movember charities.
My suggestion was of course Quilt related - as my mother is also a quilter and has a large group of quilty friends. An amazing artist friend of mine had entered a Movember t-shirt competition a couple of years ago and her drawing came to mind - a sausage dog with a large mo' and a monocle. So I got in touch with her and she is willing to donate the design to our cause. I have based the pattern on her original design, but have made the changes myself including the addition of a selection of moustaches and some accessories.
So far I have set the ball rolling - Internationally: a quilt to be completed in NZ and a quilt to be completed here in the UK - and whatever else we can come up with.
I would however like to put the idea out into the ether - as I'm always having ideas but then getting scared and not continuing - but I reason if I tell the world then I have to do it, plus the Quilty world is so generous that I think together we can get a lot done.
So the big question is who would be interested in contributing to a quilt to be raffled off with the money raised going to Movember and The Mary Potter Hospice (Wellington, NZ).
UPDATE: After all my great intentions with the pattern, it has failed to be as polished as I would like. So rather than just let it go - I have adapted. I am still aiming to raise money for both Movember and Mary Potter Hospice with a raffle quilt. So I am putting a call out for Moustache blocks - of varying sizes and mo' styles to make a quilt in time for October. You could make a representation of the moustache of a man in your life, a random moustache or I have designed a few famous moustaches - here's the PDF.
Instead of a sausage dog with a mo' the blocks will now just be moustaches - any size, shape, style - as long as they are moustaches only - finished with a frame - ie the quilt will be a rouges gallery. The moustaches can be anything you want - cotton, felt, faux fur, embroidered – as long as they are firmly attached to the block.
A block rectangular or square - including a frame - up to 12 inches (plus seam allowance). Have fun with the moustaches and the frames. If you need some inspiration take a look at the Flickr group.
Blocks are to be square or rectangular - as it will make it easier to fit all the blocks together whilst maintaining a rogues gallery look.
The finished block sizes - anything up to 12 inches, so 12.5 inches with seam allowance.
The finished block must have a frame, of any design - as simple or fancy as you like. Pieced, appliquéd or even embroidered or painted is great as long as the fabric used is 100% cotton.
Any colours you like.
Draw inspiration from the Mo's of the men in your life or from famous Mo's - If stuck for inspiration I have drawn up a few (can you guess the Mo's - some are a bit obscure).
Mo's can be made of which ever fabric you want to use - blocks and frames however to be 100% cotton as it will make it easier to piece the top.
Machine applique with topstitch is probably easiest - especially with some of the fancier moustaches.
Blocks are to be back to me (in the UK) by the end of the first week of October at the latest. So I have time to piece the tops and get the tops to the quilters in time for launching the raffle at the start of November.
Thanks to Amy for suggesting the Sublime Stitching free embroidery pattern - you can embroider a Mo' if you prefer - the Mo' just has to be securely attached to the framed block.
UPDATE: August 30 2012
After my guest post on Lily's Quilts the response has been amazing! Blocks are already in the mail, in less than 5 days! And quite a few blog posts written, extending the call.