In 2004, I was selected to receive the Silver Star Award at the International Quilt Festival in Houston. I was very flattered to be chosen for such an honor. The award is presented annually "to a living person whose body of work has positively influenced, promoted, and developed the art of quilting." The banquet was attended by about 500 quilters, many of whom I've known throughout my career, and it was a wonderful evening.
What I did not know was that many of the people in attendance had also made a block or sent a signed a brick for a friendship quilt that was hanging to one side of the stage under black curtains. It was so dark in that corner, I didn't think there was anything there at all. Just when I thought the banquet was over, Richard went to the microphone and Patti and several others left their tables to go toward the side of the stage. As they wheeled out the quilt frame and removed the curtains to reveal the surprise, Richard talked about the friendship quilt and how happy everyone was that the secret was never found out! There were dozens and dozens of phone calls, letters and packages going back and forth for months - I never had a clue! Nor did I have a clue that Richard was making me a quilt, too - his first quilt!
We recently hung my Silver Star Friendship Quilt in the stairwell at our office and everyone stops to look at it, but not as often as I do. It's so special to me, for many reasons.
It was the best surprise ever. I was so happy my family and so many friends involved with the making of the quilt had attended the banquet. They were able to see the quilt in person and I was able to say hello and gather hugs and enjoy the evening even more. I was so touched by everyone's thoughtfulness in designing their blocks. There are blocks depicting book and pattern covers from our Yours Truly days, even blocks made with YT fabrics, and lots of my favorite colors and block patterns. I can't list everyone here who participated in making the quilt, but the whole story and many more close-ups will soon be on our Website. Click on each block for a larger view.
This is Sally Paul's block. Sally and I have enjoyed a long friendship and I miss spending time with her. She is a high school art teacher.
Gudfinna Helgesdotter, who doesn't prefer applique, made a beautiful depiction of Iceland's volcanic landscape. We have been friends with Gudfinna and her husband for many years. They have a lovely shop called Virka.
Rita Weiss and Linda Causee at American School of Needlework put the cover of "Quilting for People Who Still Don't Have Time to Quilt" on their block. I did a series of "...Don't Have Time to Quilt" books with ASN.
The quilt is large and we didn't have a place to hang it, but we took it out whenever we had visitors who wanted to see it. It has always been fascinating to look at! We recently relocated our offices and the stairwell was the perfect place to hang the quilt - the way the stairs are built, we have a wonderful view of the quilt from upstairs and downstairs. I see it whenever I walk out of the sewing studio, and the variety of block styles, techniques and colors makes it "new" over and over again. I <3 this quilt!
I hope you enjoy these pictures of my friendship quilt. And if you're in the Cedarburg, WI area, you can see the quilt in person at the Wisconsin Museum of Quilts & Fiber Arts, through July 19.
I just discovered an online quilt festival and posted this quilt there. To see over 400 quilts (!) visit Parkcitygirl's blog: