Thursday, March 24, 2011

You Go Pat!

I get to meet a lot of fun people in my work as a long arm quilter.  Most of them are happy and excited about their quilt getting finished.  Some of them are excited about the new baby or wedding or significant person in their life who is about to get an awesome gift of a quilt. Once in a while I meet someone who is just tickled that they have accomplished something new.  Their joy is invigorating.  Pat is one of those people.

Happiness is...Quilting, McKinney, TX

Pat was sent to me by my best friend.  Kelli and I have known each other since our kids were little.  We've been through a lot together.  I often tease that if God had given me a little sister I would want her to be just like Kelli.  Then I laugh and say, "Oh, I forgot.  He did!"  We don't have the same mother, but our Father in heaven seals the deal.  My sweat friend now works in a wonderful quilt shop. (Happiness is Quilting in McKinney TX).  She gets to meet lots of fun people too.  As they mill about the shop, auditioning fabrics and patterns they often arrive at the topic of quilting...that is to say longarm or hand or free motion.  My Kelli sends them to me, and they come, happy for the experience and excited about their project.  (I know she sent them because they are enchanted with "that red headed girl at the quilt shop.")

Pat's Quilt

Pat made a quilt.  The quilt measured 106"x106".  Pat made pillow shams to go with it...and a wall hanging...and a baby quilt with the scraps for a neighbor.  Pat had never quilted before.   We had a couple of weeks of bad weather and it seemed like a good thing to do with his time.   Pat is a 78 year old widower who spends most of his time golfing and fishing.  He tells me that he has better luck with the fish than the green.  He admired the quilts displayed in the eye doctor's office and attempted to con her out of one.  He was persistent, and she was firm.  No quilt for Pat!  She did, however, give him a few pointers on how to make one himself.  He found a book in the local library that gave him more directions.  Then he designed his first quilt.

Quilt for Jennifer's Baby

 I'm pretty sure he has never heard of Ghee's Bend.  Pat was just making something to celebrate the coming of a new neighbor.  If he was a 78 year old black woman living in a remote corner of Arkansas this quilt would be worth a fortune....but I don't think it would have any more love in it than it does right now.  We should all have neighbors like him.

Pat's Wall hanging

His wall hanging reminds me of my grandfather.  I remember his old hard hands, the skin wrinkled and callused and so thin that it was almost translucent.  When he was young he could crack walnuts just by giving them a squeeze in his fists.  I remember him gathering wild berries in the worst part of the woods - that's where the best berries always grow.  He wore leather gloves so that the brambles wouldn't catch.  Even with the clumsy leather gloves, and big hard hands, Pa brought back a buck of delicate, sweet berries.  On his way back to the house he would stop to pick wild flowers for Nanny.  Tiny little white cups, Lilly of the Valley - like fairy bells - and he would place them in a tiny china tea cup with water.  Pat's butterflies are just like those berries and wild flowers.

He says that he isn't going to quilt anymore.  I hope he is wrong.

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