Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Group Effort


Where to start? With the patterns and the gracious designers? With the friends who cat-washed paper-pieced? With the cause? With the quilter?

No. With the woman.

But it's going to be a long story.

She runs a ballet school in the town where my daughter and her family live. It's a wonderful dance studio; my granddaughter has been a student there for half her life. In the spring, she holds a spectacular tea party, a two-day affair with tables beautifully set, triple-tiered plates of goodies, and an abundance of raffle baskets and opportunities. Moms and grandmas wear pretty dresses; some wear gloves and hats. The little girls wear even prettier dresses and hair looks its very best.  At some point, these little girls ever-so-gracefully walk down a red carpet to show off their finery. The big girls assist in refilling teapots, replenishing the crumpets and mini-sandwiches. The place is full. It is a glamorous affair, done in the very best of taste.

The first year that Sherry invited me to attend, I presumed it was a fund raiser for the ballet school. But I was mistaken. Partway through the event, the studio's director made a speech. She spoke of how  many years the tea party has been held (more than ten!), how much money had been raised, and then went on to say that every single bit of the money went to Susan G. Komen to assist in the battle against breast cancer.

I was wowed. I still am. Jane Lopoten is an extraordinary woman. I admire her tremendously.

After that first tea party, and after learning who the beneficiary was (all of us!), I made a quilt to donate each of the following years. This year I wanted to do something that was specific to the dance studio. Long-time friends and readers know that until recently I was infamous for saying, "I'd rather give a cat a bath than paper-piece a quilt block." That has changed, but the lingo lingers. I found a couple of ballet-themed patterns and bought them. That's when I became daunted. Some of these designs had more pieces than I cared to count. I had taken on an undertaking that just wasn't feasible for one person to do in a few months time.

Now, here's where it all comes together. I've been participating in a bee block exchange through my Guild, and the group I work with is called Anything Goes and Gorgeous -- there are no holds barred in the kinds of blocks that participants can request. Because we are meticulous about copyright, I knew I would need to purchase a dozen patterns, one for each block-maker. I hesitated. Then I wrote to the patterns' designers and explained about the bee and the quilt and the cause and within literally minutes heard back from each of them, granting me permission to print out the copies I needed of the patterns I'd already purchased. Their only request: "Please send a picture!" Shout out to Juliet of The Tartan Kiwi and to Linda at Paper Panache for their kindness and generosity.

In August I designed the lay-out. September I printed the patterns. In October I distributed them to the AGAG participants. In November the beautiful, precise blocks came back to me. One participant with an embroidery machine provided a label for the back. In December I put it all together. In January the machine quilter applied a quilting motif called, appropriately, "dancing ribbons." And I bound the quilt and took it to Guild for Show and Tell. In February I will delivery the quilt to Jane. In March, someone will take it home and breast cancer research will be all the richer for it.

My gratitude is to all who helped in any way with this effort. And especially to Jane Lopoten.


14 comments:

Synthia said...

You are so creative in so many ways. The quilt is beautiful and is made for such a good cause. I love the story of how it came to be!! So wonderful of you to recruit so many talented ladies to participate. Job well done by all!!!!

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

What a great Idea, Group Project, and Cause. The quilt is beautiful. Everything about this post is perfection. The inspiration and group effort is a wonderful show of love and generosity on every level.

Then there is ballet and a tea. I can envision how lovely and special it is.

Oh, I concur with your original saying about paper piecing, lol.
xx, Carol

Quiltdivajulie said...

THIS is a classic Nancy post -- full of grace and kindness and imagery that elicits smiles and warm feelings. Kudos to ALL who had a part in this. Lovely, very special quilt.

Janet O. said...

The quilt is stunning, and the story brought me to tears. I was deeply touched.
Thank you for sharing this experience of the goodness of people (you being one of them)--we can all use more of those!

Cherie in St Louis said...

What a fabulous idea and beautiful execution!! One of the things I love about the quilt, is the different skin tones...we are all different and I love seeing that in something so beautiful. United we can make a difference, can't we?

Paula, the quilter said...

Oh Nancy, how wonderful!

Lori said...

That is wonderful! After this super ugly past week, it does my soul good to hear about people coming together !! This quilt is a real masterpiece!

Barbara Anne said...

Brilliant idea, wonderful story, delightful quilt, by and for amazing women - you, your friends who make the challenging (but worth it!) blocks, the block designers for their generosity, and Jane Lopoten for her lovely commitment to others. Someone will be charmed to take this quilt home. It says "love" in so many ways.

Hugs!

Quayquilter said...

Lots of people will want this.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful quilt. Thanks for the uplifting story.

Linda said...

Couldn't be more perfect!

LizA. said...

All I can say is "WOW". what an amazing group effort and somebody is going to have a quilt to love and cherish.

If you think those ballerinas were tough, you should try the paper pieced Dr. Who blocks......the darn Dalek is going to be my undoing yet....

ramewelamb said...

Wow... what a great job. Congrats frm Petaluma sheep rancher. ;>)

The Joyful Quilter said...

Sweet story, FABULOUS quilt!! As a dancer in my youth, it makes my toes twitch to dance.