OK! I'm now officially "hooked" on quilt shows! I not only attended my 2nd quilt show this week-end, but since it was here in town, and since I've become a fixture at the local quilt shop, I volunteered to help out. I'm kicking myself for forgetting my camera during set-up though. I wish I could show you just how much work goes into these events!! I spent a good chunk of Friday helping set up all the frames that the quilts hang from, and carrying many, many quilts from car to auditorium, to quilt frame. It was quite a treat to pull each quilt out of its protective bag and see them. Kind of like unwrapping Christmas presents! And the care and attention that goes into handling these treasures is something I enjoyed begin part of. I also got to meet and became acquainted with some wonderful quilters here in Pendleton.
There were about 200 quilts in the show, including 2 sets of "challenge quilts". One set all had to use the same fabric in part of the quilt, the other set was the "Round-Up Quilts", making a quilt that celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Pendleton Rodeo, coming up in September. This time I wasn't quite as overwhelmed, got to go without kids, and really took the time to read the story that was attached to each quilt. Some were the result of classes taken, "block swaps" or "block of the month" clubs. Some were art quilts, the inspiration coming from countless places. Some were fun patterns, some were done during rehabilitation from illnesses. Many of the quilts were made as gifts, for birthdays, graduations, weddings, birth of babies, or for other special events. It reminded me of just how special these quilts are. I really can't think of any other item that is as useful and as beautiful as a quilt. It fulfills such a basic need: warmth. And to be wrapped up in a work of art that was made by a loved one is such a wonderful thing! Of course the recipient often doesn't know that it's just as much fun to make these quilts as it is to use them. When I make a quilt as a gift, it's such an incredible opportunity to reflect and meditate on that person as each stitch falls into place.
Because of this I was so incredibly moved by this quilt's story:
It was started as a 16th birthday present for this mother's son. The "boy" in a boy/girl twin pair. I have a twin brother, so immediately I felt a connection. Unfortunately her son died in a freak skate boarding accident before he reached his 16th birthday. He was wearing a helmet, but the impact injured his brain stem, and he died shortly after. It took this woman many years to be able to pick up this quilt again and finish it this year, what would have been his 21st. I was so incredibly touched by this story. I walked around with tears in my eyes for a good bit of the show, and still am in awe at how this mother was able to find the strength to finish such a quilt and how she was able to put it in a public show. I can only begin to imagine the tears that went into finishing this quilt, and hope that she was able to find some comfort, healing and peace as she completed it. I am so grateful for her sharing it at the show. It's a beautiful quilt, but its story made it my favorite.