I’ve been waiting seven months to share this story with you, and today I finally can! You see, today is “my” day in in the Splendid Sampler quilt along (hosted by two of my favorite quilting mavens- Pat Sloan and Jane Davidson- aka Quilt Jane) and there’s quite a tale behind my block. It’s the tale of a quilt- one happy little quilt- and an experience that reminded me that life can be sweet, even in the sourest of situations.
So here’s my block- #34 Lemonade (you can find the pattern for the block up on the Splendid Sampler website here). Mine is the top left in this collage, and the others are different versions stitched up by Jane & Pat for the quilt-along. It’s a lemon, literally of course- designed right on the heels of of a lemon of a situation-turned sweet.
Have you ever found yourself in a quilt crisis? I mean, literally, the quilting on your quilt has become a crisis? It’s not pretty. I mean, the quilting might be pretty, but when you realize you need to either rip it out or make a whole new quilt….yeah, not pretty (and by not pretty I really mean waling and gnashing of teeth). I snapped some quick photos of the “before” but decided I won’t get into those nitty gritty details here….let’s just say I had an unfortunate miscommunication with the person I’d commissioned to quilt this quilt, and the quilting that resulted was not going to be workable for my specific needs. This particular quilt happened to be the last project due to my publisher for photography for my new Quilt Block Cookbook and I was needing to get it in the mail…immediately. AHHH!
A super sweet, utterly lovely and generous friend (Angela Pingel!), stepped in, pulled me up from my puddle of tears, and tried to salvage the quilting with some beautiful free-motion work. Unfortunately though, this quilt just wasn’t having any of it, and a short while in it became evident to us both that we really needed to move to Plan C, which had to either be rip out all of the quilting, or sew a whole new quilt. Crying didn’t help anything…I just had to buck up and move forward so we opted to unpick the existing quilting, and while I’ll never know if it was the *right* decision to unpick, there was no looking back. Ang spent days helping get a jump-start on the unpicking (along with a swarm of her friends), before sending it back- and as grateful as I was for that help, it was just a crap situation, and there was so, SO much more quilting to take out.
What broke my heart was that the quilt itself felt soured in my heart and mind. Those pretty blocks and happy fabrics that had been such a joy to stitch up, had become painful to even look at, let alone think about snuggling and enjoying, or being excited to share in the pages of a book.
Painful, that is, until friends and family stepped in with a big fat dose of sugar.
Every single person who attended our “Unquilting Party” on that cold November night, is a SAINT. I am eternally, eternally grateful for that love and support….and low and behold….the sour was turning into sweet, precious memories. I baked up a table full of desserts, brewed some coffee, gathered up an arsenal of seam rippers and we went to town on the back of that quilt, chatting and laughing over an endless sea of teeny tiny stitches.
I’ll never forget that weekend (Erica, Olivia, Kim, Tracy, Sandy, Marla, Melinda, and my sweet Mom and Grandma….and Angela, and Angela’s friends, and the ladies at my grandma’s retirement home who sat in the lobby unpicking…you’re my “unquilting brigade”, forever a part of this quilt. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for showing me what real sugar looks like.
And that was that. One week, countless stitches, countless hands, and I re-quilted it in a single sitting using the wavy stitch on my Viking 960.
And it’ drapey.
And jam packed with life lessons and wonderful memories, and I love it more than I possibly could have before the “crisis.”
And THAT, friends, is my lemonade quilt story!!! The quilt is Point Taken, and the pattern for the layout and all of the blocks is in The Quilt Block Cookbook, along with oodles of other blocks and layouts (which will be shipping in just a couple of weeks!), and the block it inspired is Lemonade, part of the Splendid Sampler quilt along.
Do you have a lemonade story??? I’d love to hear it! Life can be so sour in to many ways (and many, so much heavier than a quilt), but no matter how big or little the situation may be, it’s that joy, and those silver linings that, if we let them, can shine through and turn our sour into sweet.