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Story Submitted by: BBGirl

I'm just an average quilter. I won't win any awards but that's okay with me. I recently learned first hand that every quilt contains so much more than fabric and thread. I embarked on a journey to make a quilt for my friend who was diagnosed with colon cancer and was scheduled for surgery. I had two weeks to complete the quilt. I went to my stash and started to make pinwheels because there is something about that block I really love and I could use a lot of different fabrics from my stash. After they where done, I started going through my stash to find something that would go with all these different fabrics. After auditioning and rejecting most of my stash, I remembered this fabric I had purchased several months before. As most quilters do, I had seen this fabric, touched it and just had to have it. I bought the rest of the bolt (about 3yrds) with no idea what I would do with it. It was waiting for me in a draw in my quilting room. I took it out of the draw and layed it out on my cutting table. I put the pinwheel blocks on top and "voila!" it was just right. Susie loved flowers. I started working on the quilt. I was working under a deadline and since I'm retired, I can sew whenever I want and did. My husband started bringing his book into my quilting room so he could be with me. Everything went along fine until it came time to sandwich and quilt the top. First I had to find a place to lay it out. I have three cats so the floor was out of the question. Fortunately, I remembered the large tables in our community center. I asked my husband to come with me and help. I was going to spray baste since I'm not a good pinner. Good thing my husband knows me so well and loves me anyway! He could tell I was really stressed out by all the instruction I was giving him (that's putting it nicely); make sure it's flat, smooth it out, no no no not like that, it has to be centered (you know the rest). The next day I began the quilting. The stitch in the ditch part went pretty well. Of course I did notice that the points on the pinwheels weren't quite perfect. Oh well. It was looking pretty good and I was gaining confidence. Since my husband bought me a Bernina with the BSR for Christmas I decided to try free motion stitching around the flowers, sashing and borders. I was never able to get the thread tension perfect, as a matter of fact there wasn't much that was perfect in the quilt. I started to stress out again. By this time a week had gone by and I had LIVED with this quilt. I worked late into the night, bad decision. I was so tired I was making mistakes. I went to bed. As I was drifting off to sleep, thinking about the quilt, it came to me. This quilt is not about me or the quilting. This quilt is about LOVE. Think about it. I Love quilting. I love the fabric. I love my sewing room, I love my new machine, I Love that my husband, whom I love very much, sits in my room with me while I sew and as I move the quilt around under the needle, I realize I'm thinking about my friend Susie and Loving her. The next morning I approached the day in my quilting room with renewed energy and excitement. Sure I still made mistakes and sometimes my straight line stitching had a little "jog" in it. Surprisingly I came to appreciate the imperfections. I suddenly understood that this quilt was not only about LOVE but also LIFE. My friend Susie's life will change forever but the love we share will never change and sometimes we suffer little "jogs" in life, but they can never change the beautiful person we are. I gave it to Susie the day before her surgery. It was an emotional moment for us both. She thought it was beautiful. I told her over time she would probably see all the imperfections too. That's okay, isn't that what life is all about. The quilt will always be beautiful to her as she is to me. "Love & Life"

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Story Submitted by: waltzquilt

The quilt Pathways to Freedom (the Peace Quilt) honoring the works and life of Rosa Parks debuts this Saturday at the Martin Luther King Memorial Library in Washington DC. The quilt was made and designed by Geri V. Ford, two time ribbon winner at the IQA Show in Houston. The quilt is the centerpoint of the a larger photo exhibit of the life of Rosa Parks, specifically her trips to Washington Dc. Below is the press release. ROSA PARKS: BEYOND THE BUS Women’s History Month Celebration The Special Collections Division of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library in collaboration with the Washington D C/Metropolitan Regional Area Chapter of Pathways to Freedom of the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self-Development are honoring Rosa Parks for Women’s History Month, March, 2008. The tribute, “Rosa Parks: Beyond the Bus” will honor the 21st anniversary of the founding of the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development (1987) and Pathways to Freedom, by Mrs. Rosa L. Parks and Elaine Eason Steele, the only organization established by Mrs. Parks to carry on her legacy. Rosa Parks’ lifelong commitment to children and youth will be celebrated. The tribute includes exhibits in the Special Collections Division, the Washingtoniana Division, and the Black Studies Center of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library. Featured is a collection of rare photographs produced by the Pathways to Freedom DC Regional Chapter. Some of the photographs are by three former homeless youth who were part of a National Homeless Youth Photography Program, their photos were in Life Magazine, and they became International photographers the Students continue to be in partnership with the DC Pathways to Freedom Chapter of the Rosa and Raymond Park Institute for Self-Development. The Photographers are (Charlene Williams, Dion Johnson, and Daniel Hall,) others are Professional Photographers and photojournalist, Ray Wilson, Lloyd Wolf, Mark Kerin, Jack Smith, Monica Morgan, Theodore Rice and, Ella McCall-Haygan captured poignant glimpses of the D.C. area and shared them with Mrs. Parks and the other chapters of the Institute in the U.S. and around the globe. A custom designed “Peace Quilt” is a part of the “Pathways to Freedom” collection and which chronicles the various journeys of the students while tracing civil rights/freedom trails and depicts important events in the life of Rosa Louise Parks, the Mother of the Modern Day Civil Rights Movement. Also the four books written by Mrs. Parks (some are autographed) and a few personal artifacts are displayed. Presenters for the March 15, 2008 Tribute will bring unique intimate perspectives of their relationship with Mrs. Parks and her building of the Institute to carry on her legacy. Elaine Eason Steele of Detroit, Michigan, co-founder of the Rosa & Raymond Institute for Self-Development, over a span of 47 years, was Mrs. Parks’ confidant, best friend and served as her “Chief of Staff” and caregiver prior to her transition October 2005. Anita Peek, Executive Director & Historian of the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development will profile the stories Mrs. Parks shared about her early work with young people leading to the establishment of the Institute. Additionally, long time friend Mr. William Tucker, Vice- President Bethune-DuBois Institute will speak. In keeping with Mrs. Parks’ focus youth participation is integral to the afternoon. Dramatic readings from the four books authored by Mrs. Parks will be read by children active in the Washington, D. C. Metropolitan Regional Area Chapter of the Pathways to Freedom Educational and Historical Program. Selections performed by the Miner Elementary School Choir will include audience participation in the singing of O’Freedom, Mrs. Parks’ favorite. A video produced by C-Span at Howard University on the occasion of the 40th Anniversary of the Montgomery Bus Boycott (1998) will also be shown. The program takes place in the Great Hall of the Martin Luther King Memorial Library, Saturday, March 15, 2008 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. A reception will follow (RSVP required). Please respond by March 7, 2008, (202) 727-1213 For more information contact: Ella McCall Haygan-Regional Director Pathways to Freedom Rosa Parks Institute for Self-Development-Washington, DC/Metropolitan Area Chapter 2024-16th Street N.W. Washington, DC 20009 Office:(202)-483-0322-(301)-248-1375 fax-(301)-248-7344 Cell-(301) 704-8440 e-mail: emccallhaygan@rosaparks.org

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Story Submitted by: ajclapp

My sister wrote me this poem and presented it to me on Sister Appreciation Day at our cousins retreat last month on the California coast. The poem was inspired by my "Goodnight Moon" quilt that made the cover of the March issue of McCall's Quick Quilts. She made a copy of the quilt and printed the poem on it, then found the perfect frame and glued a printed quilt block to each corner. My story starts back in 1982 when I submitted my first quilt pattern to a local company called Texas Chic, which was accepted for publication. It was a log cabin quilt - real log cabins, not the traditional log cabin blocks that start with a center square. The fabric pieces were cut out using paper templates and scissors or by drawing directly on the fabric using a ruler and pencil. It was pieced and quilted on the sewing machine using my version of Georgia Bonesteel's lap quilting technique. Sometime later I received a letter from the company saying the owner had become ill and the business was put on hold. I never heard back from them so assume the business closed down and the pattern was never published. It was 20 years later before I did another pattern submission. In the summer of 2001 I discovered rag quilting and soon had multiple quilts designed using this technique, including the "Goodnight Moon" quilt. Three years and three quilt books later I finally found time to make this quilt after it was accepted with a book proposal in 2004. Publishers have a right to change their mind, so the week before the Houston Quilt Market in 2005 I came home to some boxes on my front porch. I knew what they were without even looking at the labels. A few months earlier the publisher had returned some of the quilts because there were too many for the book, including the sampler quilt that inspired the book. I knew this was the rest of the quilts because if they did the book they would have kept the quilts until after market. By then I was busy with multiple projects using other techniques so I put these quilts aside. Finally in late 2006 I submitted some of the patterns to McCall's Quilting magazine. In 2007 they accepted 2 of the quilts for their Quick Quilts magazine to be published in 2008. This is the first quilt. The second one is scheduled for the September issue. So with perseverance, hard work, and lots of patience you can make your dreams come true. For all of you who have helped make quilting a joy for the rest of us, this poem is for you: I appreciate the fact that you Dreamed a dream Then took a step To make that dream come true. Quilting was your passion And you saw it through With perseverance and hard work And I am proud of you. Now little bits of fabric Have been all sewn together To form some very special quilts That you will always treasure. And others too can sew your quilts By the templates you've created And treasure them just as you do And be appreciated. So pat yourself upon the back You made your dream come true And I will brag a little bit For I am proud of you. Merrilee

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Story Submitted by: scwalanna

My husband recently travelled to a city in Northern Iraq called Sulaimaniya. He was there to present some money to a local orphanage on behalf of his company here in Kuwait. He met with the local Chamber of Commerce and other business people in the community. When he toured the orphanage and visited with the children, he noticed that their beds were tiny and in need of some warm bedding. I have taken on a "quilt ministry" to make 50 quilts for the children of the orphanage. With help, I can get the quilts (I will be personally hand delivering them) to the orphanage by June which is a deadline I have set. If you can help, I sure would appreciate it and I know the children would find joy in this wonderful gift from all of us quilters. I am making quilts the size of a elongated lap quilt. If you can help me with this "ministry", please email me at nowandthenworks@hotmail.com. I will provide a USA address to send the quilts to. From there they will be shipped to me in Kuwait. The children are boys and girls age 5 to 15. Please lend a quilting hand!

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Story Submitted by: Quilter79

This wall quilt was made for my niece Nicci's 5th grade class. Each child made a seat cushion out of fabric of their choice. The class tradition, and MY CHALLENGE as the volunteer, was to make a quilt that used each child's fabric scrap. What a challenge! I received fake fur, a piece of velvet and lots of fleece! When I saw this bookcase pattern in my EQ6 software, I knew this setting would be perfect. I put lightweight fusible interfacing on the back of the fleece and velvet, which stabilized the fabric for cutting. I fuse appliqued the letters, then stitched them with monofilament thread. Finally I heavily quilted the quilt so that the letters and books Popped out. I took it a step further. Though I live in PA, I am a native Minnesotan. Therefore, I had great fun printing off pictures of famous Minnesotans and placed them in each book. I used the special deskjet treated fabrics (some are sold at EQ6) and printed the photos onto each sheet. I then cut them out and appliqued the photos onto the quilt, sprinkling some around the letters. Such Minnesota notables are: Chief Justice Warren Burger, Vice President Hubert Humphrey, Vice President Walter Mondale, Charles Schulz, Sinclair Lewis, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Judy Garland, The Andrews Sisters, the Pillsbury Company Dough Boy and more! I've heard that the teacher just loved this quilt. My neice Nicci thought it was super as well! That made my day! The quilt resides at a Woodbury, Minnesota elementary school.

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Story Submitted by: eyeonquilts

I have never been able to surprise my parents at Christmas. I always had to have Mama give me hints of what to get them and Daddy always guessed what was in the box before he even started to remove the paper. But this year I finally did it. I made them a quilted wall hanging of their house that they have lived in for the past 40 or so years. It was my first attempt at designing anything original and I am very pleased with the way it turned out. They hung it up on Christmas Day.

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Story Submitted by: Eugenie

I made the quilt named "African Equator" for an international contest at Aschaffenburg (Germany) that was held during September 28-30, 2007. The theme for the contest was “Colors of Africa”. The ideas behind my design are the following: The colors of Africa are the colors of a continent that is divided in two by the equator. The colors are under the influence of this division. The face of Africa is also divided in two. I am very happy to tell you I won the first place prize with this quilt, a Bernina 440QE! More info about the contest is at: http://www.main-quiltfestival.de/Wettbewerb.79.0.html More pictures of the quilt can be seen here. http://www.xs4all.nl/~mecano/Project-Q/

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Story Submitted by: NancyAnn1959

Irene’s (Mostly Purple) UFO’s by Nancy Allen In August of 2006, a lovely elderly lady named Irene came to see me after the quilt shop where I teach referred her. She had fallen and injured her shoulder and was unable to quilt. She was getting up in years and her children had urged her to get her sewing room in order and finish up some projects. She brought me three quilts to finish for her. One was a small Christmas wall hanging, kind of like Sun Bonnet Sue. Another was a large lovely hand appliquéd quilt with tulips in several shades of pink, leaves and vines. The last was all hand pieced of little squares and triangles of several small purple, pink, green and light blue calicos. It took me a few weeks of work to fix the problems, piece rows, add borders and get the quilts ready for long-arm quilting. The little wall hanging just needed binding. I called the number Irene had given me and left a message saying she could come pick them up, or I would deliver them to the quilter if she preferred. A few days later, Linda, the shop owner, called me to ask if I had heard what had happened to Irene. Her daughter found her sitting in her Sunday clothes, in her favorite chair, with a book in her lap. She had peacefully passed away. I didn’t even know that she was 85 years old! Her daughter Julie asked me to have the quilts quilted and to call when they were finished. A month or so later, she came to pick up the quilts. The purple one was to have been a Christmas present for a family member, but we didn’t know for whom. She said there were several other UFO’s and asked if I’d be interested in finishing them as well. I was happy to do so; it would have been a shame to leave them as UFO’s forever. Julie brought 2 more projects: The first was a very large Amish style sampler. It had 16 blocks, all made from solids of red, blue, deep pink, black, and of course, purple. A few blocks had been cut out but never pieced, a couple of blocks needed to be taken apart and fixed, and I had to come up with 1 block on my own. The sashing had not been completed either. It was a challenging but fun project. The other project we called Julie’s Quilt. Julie could remember as a child, helping her mother pick out many purple fabrics, mostly calicos and small prints. She helped cut out 5” squares. Her mother then arranged the squares, pinned them in rows and labeled each row. The cutting was done quite crudely, just as a small child would have done. Irene had wisely used a ½” seam allowance. But, only a few rows were ever sewn together. Julie remembered that she was supposed to help her mom with this project, but was not really interested and so as the years passed, it just never was completed. I also found a striped fabric that worked great as the border with mitered corners. I took both quilt tops to be quilted by our very talented long-arm quilter, Tara, and they turned out beautifully. Julie was thrilled to have her quilt done after all these years. In the box with all the purple fabric were several more yards of additional purple fabric. This was of a totally different style than Julie’s quilt, one of them almost an Asian print. It was obviously meant for a different project. Julie asked if I could choose a pattern and make a quilt from this purple stash. I quickly grabbed a “Quilt in a Day” book and showed her a pattern I have made several times that works well. She said “go for it!” and I got started. I estimated that there were about 2 yards of 6 different fabrics. I cut strips and sewed. I cut squares and sewed some more. I cut triangles and sewed. On and on it went. Before I realized what I had done, I had pieced many more blocks than I would need for just one quilt. And there were still several yards of fabric remaining. I checked with Julie and her sister Jinni (all 5 of Irene’s children have “J” names) and they decided I might as well make 2 quilts. These would not be as large as the earlier quilts, so I could quilt them myself on my home machine. It was fun making them similar, but with different borders. They turned out well, if I do say so myself! I later learned from Linda at the quilt shop that Irene loved Quilt in a Day. When Julie picked up the 2 purple quilts, she brought me 1 last project. This one was all in blues, surprisingly. It was sort of a star, similar to a large lone star, only with 3 intersecting stars and each diamond area was made up of gradating strips. There were about 12 different blue and white fabrics in all. It must have been quite a difficult pattern and I could see why Irene got stuck. It was unclear what she intended it to be, maybe just a tablecloth, maybe a quilt. Julie wanted it made into a quilt. Luckily, there was a yard extra from about 6 of the fabrics. I took it apart in a few places to fix intersections, and sewed strips all around to frame it. There were 24 points and 18 miters! I then puzzled over whether to try and piece white fabric or to appliqué the whole thing onto a large square. I ended up doing the appliqué and then thought about a border. I chose one with gradating strips that appear to be woven like chevrons. Another white border and it was ready for quilting. It will be labeled “Irene’s last quilt” and will be stunning. From each of the projects, I have many scraps. I’ve told Julie and Jinni that I can use them when making charity quilts in my guild. They liked the idea that Irene’s fabric scraps would be used to comfort patients at the hospital, migrant children or the homeless. They have made many donations of fabric, yarn and other craft items that they found while cleaning out their mom’s house. This whole endeavor lasted over a year. I’m kind of sad that there are no more quilts from Irene to work on. Even though I only met her once, I felt close to her while working on her projects. It has been a real honor to help keep this lovely woman’s quilting legacy going by making sure all the family members get a quilt “From Grandma’s (mostly purple) Stash”.

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Story Submitted by: dphock

In early October, my daughter's elementary school had an electrical fire, and about half of the school buildings were destroyed. (Thankfully, the fire occurred on a Sunday and no one was hurt.) As a result, the kids were out of school for two weeks while school staff regrouped to provide a safe school site. During that time, my 11 year old daughter and I talked a lot about the fire and about how people come through scary and difficult experiences like that. Caroline was born in China and her Chinese name includes the word for "Phoenix," so she is well-acquainted with the symbolism of a phoenix rising from ashes. (Every kid who has read or seen Harry Potter knows about that, too!) We decided to use Caroline's time out of school to make a piece of art for her beloved principal, Rhonda Bellmer. Caroline drew the phoenix image, and I enlarged it on my computer. Then, Caroline traced it onto a piece of silk using a liquid resist. She painted the silk, too. Once it was all dry, I sandwiched and machine quilted it, adding subtle flames with red and yellow thread. We presented the Phoenix quilt to Ms. Bellmer on the first day back at school. Ms. Bellmer was speechless and teary-eyed, and invited Caroline to show the quilt to the school staff at the staff meeting that was just about to take place. So, Caroline then showed the quilt to all of the teachers and staff and talked about why she'd made it and what it meant to her. There wasn't a dry eye in the place! This Phoenix quilt now has a place of honor in the principal's new (temporary) office. It was a wonderful experience making this together. It allowed us to talk a lot about a difficult situation, and it was satisfying for both me and Caroline to create art that presented a positive image for the experience.

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Story Submitted by: SandiMako

A few years ago, I found an abandoned adult rabbit in the park. My son named him Stew and my two cats quickly adopted him. Now he roams the back porch with the cats and and he learned to use the litter box. He also does a little dance for his meals. My husband, Mike, started a garden for us with lots of collard greens, kale and parsley for Stew. When I saw this quilt on the cover of the April 2007 Quilter's World, I knew I had to make it using some of the garden material in my stash. I call it "Stew Bunny in the Garden." It was temporarily hanging in our local library's display window.


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