Wednesday, January 19, 2011

One Quilters Trash ~ Another Quilters Treasure

Something amazing has happened and I want to share the story with you.
Several years ago, my friend Crayola and I planned a trip to Houston to go to the International Quilt Festival.
At the time, Crayola lived in San Antonio and I, of course, was here in North Little Rock.  Crayola's daughter Desiree` lives in 'way-west Houston' and she offered us a bed and wonderful food and drink, so who were we to turn down such a 'sweet' offer.
I had not seen Desiree` in forever or met her husband and daughters, so this was to be a multi-faceted visit.  Desiree met me when I got off I-10 and I knew her the moment I saw her.  She hadn't changed a bit and it was a fun reunion.  Crayola arrived from San Antonio later and the fun really began.  Tons of really great 'show and tell' about our lives, reminising about the 'good old days', Desiree` showing us her home, yard, introducing me to her beautiful little girls, making friends with another generation of Crayola's family, meeting Doug - the husband (who took us out to a fabulous resturant for dinner).  It was all good.
Crayola and I shared a bedroom and bath, and I must mention that Crayola feels the need to sleep with the television on.  This is important because of what was on the T.V. when we where getting up and getting ready for breakfast on our first morning. 
I do not remember the name of the show - but it was Quilt related.  Some wonderful Quilter was sharing her Technique.  I don't recall if she named it "Pagoda Blocks" or if I did, but it caught our eye and we watched with great interest.  Crayola and I were really excited and couldn't wait to try the method that we had just viewed.
I can honestly say, I haven't the vaguest notion as to why I was attracted to this, but; looking back, perhaps it was that it really hadn't any rules to speak of.  If you know me, you know I don't read instructions and make up my own rules and "Pagoda Blocks" sort of 'fit that bill'.  And, no two blocks are the same.
After the Quilt Show, Crayola and I went to San Antonio for a few days, to her home.  She had a wonderful Studio and a fabulous 'stash'!  I, of course, had bought an ample amount of fabric in Houston and we thought we should put some of it to good use.  "Pagoda Blocks"!
Crayola picked out some reds, blacks, and yellows.  I had some beautiful green/black batik and a blue/green batik that I chose.  We got busy.  In no time - a couple of days, working day and night - we had two Quilt tops completed.
All good things must come to an end and so too did my visit.  I got home and immediately added boarders and that is exactly how the "Pagoda Block" top remained for a year or two.  The making of it had been the fun.  I went on to other Quilts.  One day, however; I took a look at it and decided it needed something. I took my rotary cutter in hand and cut it up into five or six big chunks and pieced it back together with a black and white fabric. Again, this top - I just couldn't get a feel for it - sat for a couple of years, until-----------!
Sharon Schamber came to town!  That, in and of itself, is a happening.  She stayed in my home, I got to drive her to all her appointments and of course, attend all her workshops!  It was wonderful.  Sharon is the most giving Quilt Queen I've ever met.  She shared many of her wonderful techniques.  The one that really made an impression was how to cut circles in fabric and glue in new pieces.  This was an epiphany!
Guess in what I decided to cut holes!  You guessed it - the poor little, chopped up "Pagoda Block" Quilt top.
It was time for AWOL - Arkansas Women On the Loose & Jim - and the Quilt top is the thing I decided that, at last, must be whipped into something I could love.  I spent the entire three days making "Jibbles & Bits", cutting holes in the Quilt top and inserting my work.  I thought, "At last, something to 'love' about this top!"  But, alas; even this didn't do it for me.  Sharon had also shown us how to really curve a bias strip and even the addition of a winding, orange ribbon, cruising through the holes of "Jibbles & Bits" just didn't make me love it.
Again, time passed.  Years! 
One day, recently, EC asked me "why", since "Pagoda Blocks" are not my thing, "would I keep on trying to make something that was someone else's, into something that was mine"  The light bulb finally came on.  Isn't EC the smartest thing?!  I grabbed both the "Pagoda Block" tops (yes, over the years I had made another) and my rotary cutter and cut them up, removing all the parts that were me, my "Jibbles & Bits", and tossed the remains into a basket.
Suddenly, I knew exactly what I wanted to make - a Quilt of all my "Jibbles & Bits" with no trace of that silly "Pagoda Block".  I have been really focused, since before Christmas, on making that happen and I am loving the results!
My friend, Jim comes to my house for 2nd Saturday Sew Days. Jim is a majician with all left-over scraps and I love to see what he can do with pieces that I can no longer find a use.  Jim was the lucky recipiant of the poor, misbegotten, wacked up, (three large holes in the middle) "Pagoda Block" Quilt top.
Today, while checking my Facebook account and reading my e-mails, I read one from Jim.  He has a suprise for me tomorrow when I go to his place for a sew day.  However; posted on Facebook were the photos!
You guessed it!  The green, pitiful "Pagoda Block" is finally at rest.  Jim cut it up, removed the boarder and reperposed the top.  Then he re-applied the boarder, added touches that only Jim can imagine - a crow sitting on a watermelon - and called it 'finished'!  It is wonderful now and just simply proves "There is always someone that will love it"! 
I have no moral for this story - just thought it needed telling.
We'll talk later,
Carol Ann

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