New Pieces Quilt Stories... about the people behind the quilts!
Hamlin School Quilt
We were contacted in January 2011...to make a quilt for the Hamlin school . Last year we made 2 quilts for them...that looked sort of like this drawing.
This year, we worked with two room moms who are not quilters, but they are clever, creative ladies! It’s a fundraiser for the school.
So, this idea of profiles of students from photos of students in kindergarten came from one of the teachers who IS a quilter. Great idea, so we stepped in to help! Our job was a little teaching – guiding the room moms through the process of wonderundering, cutting, etc.
We also were with them while they selected fabrics – batik for the foreground, muslin for the background and in the middle, one of the room mom's daughter's old school uniform. Next, they delivered 44 cut out photos on batik. We helped finish the rest.
Here and the earlier photos to show how we placed the girls. We wanted to find the design that would lead them to fit in a nice way.
Each of these girls (from an all girl school) had written their name, so those were also placed on the quilt. Don’t those add a great personal touch?
We loved making this quilt! In fact, we loved making it so much, whenever we could, we’d steal customers off of the floor and sneak them into the back room with the long-arm machine so they could oooh and aaaah over the concept and the materials!
It was December of 1996. I was coming up on my second anniversary of owning New Pieces and my first anniversary of having quilting as a service for my customers. I received a call from Andrea of San Rafael, California.
She said she was interested to have 2 identical quilts made for her two girls who were 7 and 5 years old. She was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer and was given 6 months to live. She was an accomplished artist and wished to design 24 pictoral blocks presenting events or loved ones and wanted us to commit the blocks to fabric and make the two quilts.
Up to this time I had only quilted quilts and done simple piecing. This was a big step for me. But I knew I had to do this for her and I told her yes immediately. Within a couple of weeks, she had produced 8 pictures and picked out the fabric for each one. I pulled together a team of eight women and we started to work. News spread of the project and people volunteered to help with the project. By mid-February we had completed sixteen different blocks, and had the designs for five more and I was to pick up the final three block designs.
Sadly, she passed away the night before I was to get them. Her sister, an OB/GYN who was at her side in her final days, designed the Tree of Life block, and we used her wedding invitation as another and moved the label to the front as the last block. We finished these quilt and gave them to the girls in April of '97.
I will never forget Andrea or some of the things she said to me, like, "When you get to this point in life, you brush aside the hang-ups and bad feelings and just get down to the real living." She also told me she thought we could have been great friends. She was a little wrong about that. We will always be great friends.
Mayor Willie Brown's Quilt
Angie Woolman received a commission in June 1999 from Willie Brown, Jr, Mayor of San Francisco, to produce a quilt depicting twelve monuments and structures having Irish heritage and the San Francisco City Hall, as a present for the President of Ireland, Mary MacAlleese, who is also a quilter.
The Office of Protocol gave Angie pictures of the different structures and she drafted them into 12" blocks, then made the fabric selections for each block, all while she was on a family vacation back East.
Oh, did I forget to tell you? She had three weeks to produce this, so she enlisted New Pieces' help. Well, that quilt got done on time, which was no minor feat. We logged 514 hours in three weeks among eleven people and took the art of applique and piecing to a new level!
Look closely at the details on all the blocks... you'll see what I mean!
The Oprah Winfrey Quilt
New Pieces received a call on Tuesday, August 24, 2000, from Judy of Judy & Company, a vendor of ours, who asked if we did or knew anyone who could make a quilt in short order for The Oprah Winfrey Show.
I didn't receive the call myself, but Marcia, the person who did, said "You wanna take this one!"
I think my comment was something stupid like "Well I don't know if I can afford to do one more free anything even if it's for some talk show host."
In a half-hour I got brought up to date on exactly how stupid that comment was, and returned the call to Judy. She put me in contact with one of the producers who explained that the subject of an upcoming show was "Problem and Project Solving" and figured it was next to impossible for me to make a quilt in a week and a half. I told her I could do it, while I was crossing my fingers.
She explained that this was a finish job for Vicki of Illinois who had started it three and a half years ago for her daughter who was going away to college, and who was now graduating in spring 2001.
The producers called me back on Wednesday and said it was a go, and that they would FedEx the quilt to me on Thursday for delivery on Friday and I would have to get the finished project back to her by the following Wednesday! Yeah, not quite one and a half weeks, huh!
We sped up delivery time and got it on Thursday, took it apart that day, had a "block party" that night with eight quilters, then spent three more days on it. Smeeks (that's short for Sally Meeks - we had 3 Sally's here at the time), who has been on all the above projects, remarked "Well, this is our worst deadline and it looks like we'll be on time!" And she was right! We knocked that quilt out it 4 days, logging 70 hours among 10 people.
People ask how I got the job, and my only answer is an angel was sitting on our roof and beamed the phone line to us!
The next story! Is this your story?
If we make or finish your quilt, and give us your story, we will publish it here along with your finished quilt!