Friday, October 29, 2010

Quilts, Quilts and more Quilts

Quilting is one of those awesome things you see someone else doing and you say;..."I wish I could do that". I saw a friend of mine about 14 -15 years ago doing some quilting. It was beautiful. I said, "wow, I would love to do THAT someday" she said, ok...sit down, I'll teach you. It happened so fast, I didn't quite know how to say I didn't. Boy, am I glad I learned about quilting. I have so many things to be thankful for and I am truly thankful for my quilting friends. I now am in 3 quilting groups and I have never met a quilter I didn't like. Through the years I have realised the need to document stories like this and make labels for all the quilts I make, so they give meanig to the people they give warmth to.

Here's my story: less than 1year after my friend said, "sit down",  I joined a small church in which they had a quilting group that met 2 times a month. So I asked a few questions & just showed up with a plate of cookies one day. I was well recieved to say the least. They were thrilled to get another person to join them. I told them I had no fabric or ideas yet of which to do any the fun began. Some of the ladies had a box of extra fabric they had donated for a "cause". Seems it was waiting for someone like me to show up. BAM! I became "the cause", and my first project emerged! A couple of the gals had some quilting magazines on hand...they let me borrow them till we met again. I went home filled with ideas and a great attitude to do something. When we conviened again in 2 weeks I had sewn small 2 baby quilt tops. Not the best quality, but I had done the work and to this day I still have not ever quilted or finished them. But the ladies were thrilled that I had been bitten by the quilting bug. I must say, I was totally HOOKED! Now, after only 2 weeks I was really ready to take on a big project. I think the ladies had called each other to talk about me and how they planned to help me along. Most of them brought some kind of purple material and gave it to me. I found a pattern, "GRANDMOTHER'S PRIDE" and decided it would be my first big twin sized quilt, start to finnish. I would give it to my Grandmother, Maude, who we called MEMA since she was sutch a great inspiration to me.

After 2 months my quilt top was taking shape and it was all coming together. I had a few basic sewing setbacks and realized too late that 3 stars was "difficult" not something you should start with. But, I continued my artistic interpretation and work. My stepfather of 30 years Ken, was in the hospital with terminal Cancer and had a heart attack and recent stroke. He was thrilled to see me coming in every few days to work on my quilt for Mema. His eyes would light up and he wanted to see the progress I was making. We would sit for hours watching TV or listening to music as I hand quilted the shades of purple and white squares. Many time we tried to converse with his slow speech recovery, but many days it was impossible for him to talk much at all. But what I do recall was the time spent with him, quilting, quilting, quilting..... he loved me just being there in the room with him. Dad came from the mid west where he used handmade quilts as a kid. So he knew and appreciated them more than I realized at the time. Only now after his passing, so many years later did I realize the importance of our bond while I quilted.

I realize there is an art to quilting, but the process of doing it is the therapy needed to understand the love that goes into each quilt. So, I finally finished that first quilt for Mema....and gave it to her on Valentines day 8 months before she died at the ripe old age of 92. I was inspired to make a whole cloth quilt for dad too right after this one, knowing he did not have long to live. I gave it to him a month before he died at the VA hospital in Seattle. He was only 2000 when he died. I miss our times together and wish I had made more quilts for him to see. He would have loved the 3 star millenium quilt I made for charity to raise money for the Snoqualmie Valley Rotary club. It made over 700.00 and went to a family they absolutely loved it. THAT is the best gift of all to know your hard work is loved by the ones who own and use your quilts.

Today I have made a few quilts...probably 75 or so, in my 14 year history. Some have gone to friends and family members, some to kids, some to charity. Some  very special ones, to injured soldiers coming home from the Iraq war. The American Heros Quilt Project is an example of giving back, as well as the Linus project, and our very own Camp Korey, in Carnation only 5 miles from where we live. Camp Korey is a hole in the wall camp started by the late, great Paul Newman. Camp Korey helps kids with disabilities who would never get the chance to go to a regular summer camp. Every year our Stray Threads Quilt Guild helps kids & people in need of AWESOME quilts. It's a group I am proud to be associated with...and our group is now about 200 members strong. We are a prolific group that makes hundreds and hundreds of quilts and projects a year to help others. The other groups I belong to are the Ames Lake Quilters and the Knob Hill Home Ec. Club. It is the oldest home Ec. Club in the State of Washington, and meets at the Chesaw community center, across the road from the local tavern, every monday from 9am -noon.
These 2 quilts are from FABULOUS quilters in the Stray Threads Quilt Group, in Woodinville, Wa.
* This quilt was made by my friend an award winning quilter Andy Carroll from Ames Lake and in the Stray Threads groups with me. She has an amazing eye for detail and colors. These little squares are 1/2 inch x 1/2 inch teeny, tiny!!!!

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