April 21, 2009

My Very Special Friendship Quilt

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!

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:


  1. I'm the first comment? Why lucky me! This quilt is museum quality. And what a tribute it is to someone who has done so much to promote quilting and to teach quilting.

  2. How special and such a great suprise!

  3. What a terrific surprise! and a truly beautiful quilt.

  4. That's an amazing piece of history and such a wonderful thing everyone did for you.

  5. What a beautiful story. Wonderful tribute to you. It is sure a beautiful quilt.

  6. This is just amazing! Thanks so much for sharing an amazing story and an amazing quilt. I'm sure it is highly valued and treasured.

  7. That quilt is truly a testament to you and everyone who worked on it. It is amazing to me to see such an amazingly detailed quilt worked on by so many people. Thank you for sharing as well as everything else you do.

  8. What a very special memory quilt. It is certainly amazing that it was a secret for so long. I know you will enjoy it for years to come, as you remember all the people that had a hand in making it.

  9. what a wonderful quilt.
    Did Faye Heyn put one in?? which one may i ask??

  10. Marti, this has got to be the best gift a girl could ever get and it's just beautiful. You'll be able to think of each and every friend every time you look at this beauty.

  11. Marti, I was reviewing the list of new entries to the Bloggers Quilt Festival and noticed your name, a real quilting celebrity! Thanks for joining in!

  12. What a treasure! All the love of your friends that went into your quilt, and a secret - quite fun! Thank you for sharing it with us :)

  13. Beautiful quilt. i am so happy that it is hung where you see it often

  14. Such an honor to have you here with us Marti. I have met you at the Europe Quilt Expo in Barcelona. I had my quilt in the America from the heart section in the Expo. Good to have your quilt here with us - Natima

  15. What a great quilt! You came and spoke to my guild here in Washington and it was wonderful. I bought your log cabin book and rulers and I love them!!