Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Lori's Quilts

Snowman quilt, 2004
This is the front of the infamous snowman quilt that I actually began as a tool to understand a complicated (at least for my simple skill set at the time) pattern called the Yellow Brick Road. In my UFO blog I told you a little about June's quilt and this little number is the practice session. Lori and I were in Wally world and this was in the beginning of our quilting careers. We found some really cute snowman fabrics, snowflakes, and other wintry blues on the $1.00 rack and I had this great idea, I would buy the inexpensive fabric to practice making the blocks in the pattern so when I would be an expert (boy, little did I know) at it. This was not intended to be completed much less given to anyone, it was a practice quilt, a dry run.
Well, Lori reminded me today of an experience that we shared on night at the church and it all came flooding back to me. We had gone to the church to meet up with some friends to work on charity quilts. Long story short, the weather was bad, no one came except Lori and I, so we worked on our own projects. Back then, we carried a couple with us, just in case. So, after a few hours of piecing we decided to pack it up and hit the road.
I had taken a load out to my truck and pulled the vehicle up to the front of the church. I went back to help Lori with the rest and for some reason we decided to try and get the rest in one trip. Now just some background info, we probably had at least one ironing board, a couple of large cutting mats, several rulers, at least two sewing machines and a couple of bags, boxes and miscellaneous items that didn't necessarily fit in our arms. But Lori and I are crazy with each other and we're like sisters, we think together we can do anything!!!
Anyhow, we locked the doors, our arms stuffed and we were walking down the path in the wind and rain and pitch black of early March. Suddenly, Lori yells that something just flew by her, and I scan around but I can't see anything. We get to the back of my truck and I realize my quilt top is gone. I run back up looking for it and I see it lying in the snow! The yucky, brown, muddy snow and my heart sinks!
Now I probably only had about 1/3 to a 1/2 of the blocks together and I want to cry, because now this bunch of cheap fabric that I was using as a dress rehearsal suddenly meant a lot to me. I dropped Lori off and I went home and called my friend Cathy (who taught me how to sew) and told her what happened. Bless her, she endured so much to teach me this craft. She told me to fill the kitchen sink with lukewarm water, let the top lay in it and then after some time, gentle swish the fabric to get as much of the mud off. This took some time and I was really down about it, but she continued to encourage me that we could get it cleaned.
Finally, when it seemed to be done, she explained how to block it on my kitchen table. I layered all the towels in my house and gently laid that top on the table. I smoothed so carefully, I kept praying for it to work. I called Lori and updated her and she felt so bad for me. Anyone who knows Lori, knows that she has the biggest heart in the world and after we hung up, I thought, if this all works, I am going to finish this quilt and give it to her.
Well, it did work and I finished it about two months later. I tied the squares with pearle cotton and I did a star pattern design in the borders. I used that quilt pattern on a roll and I just followed the lines. It turned out pretty good, especially when I think about how little I really knew about the process of quilting at the time.
I gave it to her when I had to say goodbye that June, she moved to Texas. I backed the quilt with a winter toile flannel that we both absolutely loved. She says its her favorite quilt and I still say she's my favorite friend!!! I love her so much!
Back of the snowman quilt.
I used her new Singer Quantum 9940 to make her label. I made an embroidered frame that said, SNNOWMEN PRACTICING WINTER, September 2003 to April 2004 with snowmen on the left and right. Inside the block, I wrote in pen,
To Lori,
I give my first quilt that I made in Alaska to the first friend I made in Alaska. Practice does not make perfect, it makes life long memories! I love you! Laura

The front, Yellow Brick Road Pattern
This quilt was made by many hands as a gift to celebrate our wonderful friend, Lori Martin. She was our first civilian water aerobics instructor and she is my best friend. So, if you have been reading about my UFOs, this is one of the quilts that helped me learn some of the techniques for June's (mother-in-law) quilt. The picture above is a Yellow Brick Road pattern in which we incorporated large solid white segments for everyone to write a wish and prayer for Lori. One lady, Evelyn, beaded a mermaid on hers, and Kandis paper-pieced the bathing suit.
The collage
My contribution to this quilt was the collage. I took all the photos at classes, photo shopped a couple of layouts and printed them all on fabric. I took fish and mermaid fabric to represent our water aerobics class, some moose and bear prints, otters and loons to remind her of Alaska and I made this collage in one night - all night!!! I didn't go to bed afterwards, because I had to get the whole thing over to the Senior center for the gals to quilt in time.

Kandis, Dot, Charlotte, & Debbie

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