Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Paint The Town Red

This is a story of a simple quilt.

Some background first: I belong to the Langley Quilters' Guild, a group of very busy quilters that has trouble saying no. The guild members make quilts for seniors, for kids fighting cancer, for at-risk newborns, for hospices and transition homes, for families of fallen soldiers. They give generously of their time, talent and precious fabric stashes. They also make quilts to celebrate births and graduations and weddings and anniversaries. These quilts become expressions of sympathy and compassion, of love and caring, of joy and happiness.

In October of 2009, the Guild was approached by a representative of one of the many groups involved in the organization of the Olympic festivities in the Langleys. Would we like to donate a quilt to be raffled off, with proceeds towards helping out Olympic hopefuls on their journey to the podium? Of course we said yes! A simple theme of red maple leaves on a white background was chosen. A month later forty-eight maple leaf blocks were turned in, and I volunteered to put them together into a quilt.

I put the quilt blocks up on the design wall -- so many different shades of red, so many different prints! I tried to follow up with the organization that had wanted the quilt, only to find there had been a change of membership, a raffle liscense had not been obtained, and no-one really knew what to do. So thank you very much, but we don't want it anymore. At least the blocks suited my red and white Christmas decor.

Not really knowing where the quilt would end up, I started to work with the red and white blocks that had been made to celebrate and commemorate our Olympic athletes. As I looked more closely at them, I found some that were really gold-medal worthy -- exact seam allowances, perfect points, first-rate fabrics. Others would not make it to the podium. Some needed a little extra help, a bit more care and attention to be able to join the rest. As I put the blocks together, I thought about the annonymous quilters that had made them. I could see them sorting through fabrics, each selecting her own version of the perfect red. I could see them working carefully, some faster than others to produce to the very best of their abilities. Some of these quilters have decades of experience, others are beginners with a long way to go. But the care and effort that went into each block, and the feelings and emotions expressed by them are the common thread that join them together into a quilt of celebration. Each block in that quilt is as important and significant as the next. Individually our blocks may not say much but together, we have a quilt that cheers loudly: Go Canada Go!


  1. Quilting is something I am not very good at. I would love to see more of yours.
    I suggest putting the picture into the post too. It brings it to life and plus we can click on it to make it bigger.
    I know a couple serious quilters and they are always giving, giving and giving. It must be genetic.

  2. Can't wait to see the finished quilt. I'm hoping you'll post a picture, as I really enjoyed the quilt story, and would love to see the end results.

  3. Thanks for the input! The photo is now in the body of the post where it belongs -- ddn't see how to do that initially -- all part of the learning curve!

  4. Great job on the quilt! Looks fantastic.

  5. The quilt is beautiful. It's nice to hear the background of how a quilt came about. Now what will happen to the quilt? Will it be raffled off somewhere else?

    Do you quilt your own quilts?

  6. Thanks, Cindy! The quilt will be displayed at our show in May with other Olympic-theme quilts, then who knows? I only quilt small ones myself -- there are a couple of long-arm pros in our guild, and one of them is donating her services for this quilt.

  7. I have put your blog on my sidebar in a New Blogger Welcome.

  8. It is a beautiful quilt. Lovely reds, all different, as leaves are. Such a tribute you all worked for together. I hope the story has a wonderful ending, as you all did marvelous heartwarming work.

    Julie in Florida.