Today’s featured quilt is Lucia’s “Trudy’s-Arse-Kicking-Quilt.” While this isn’t the result of a virtual quilting bee, it is a stellar example of collaboration within the modern quilting community. We found it in the Quilting Bee Quilts Flickr group and when we heard the story, we couldn’t help but want to share it with you. It’s a long story, but take some time to read it. You may be inspired!
Tell us about your quilt.
I have never in my life felt ‘called’ to do something, until the making of this quilt. In late summer 2010, we found out a friend from high school, Errick, was diagnosed with stage 4 colo-rectal cancer. He and his family were all I could think about after hearing the news. I knew I needed to do something for them. After reading how Errick appreciated the warm hospital blankets, I knew a quilt was the answer. I quickly realized that I needed help making the quilt because I have very little masculine fabric. (I am a mom to three little girls, ages 4, 2 ½, and 6 months at the time.) Once the idea of a collaborative quilt was formed, I knew it was the way to go because I wanted to show Errick how many people cared for him by the number of hands that went into making the quilt.
I put out a call for help on my blog and on flickr to anyone willing to help. I showed an example block and gave the collaborators instructions on block style, colors, size, the style of fabrics and a deadline. With some help from Flickr quilting friends and my guild, the Dallas Modern Quilt Guild, the word spread and the response was truly overwhelming. Within days, quilt blocks started showing up in my mailbox.
I knew I wanted to get the quilt to Errick as soon as possible so I did not give the collaborators a lot of turnaround time (less than a week, I think). Despite that, I ended up with 214 cross blocks made by 61 quilters from across the US, Canada and UK. Trudy’s Arse Kicking Quilt ended up being a large twin size quilt and I squeezed 117 cross blocks into it.
The quilt was a collaboration on many levels: making the blocks, donations for giveaway prizes to the block makers, donations of fabric and batting; a donation of the quilt label by Tula Pink; and a donation of the quilting by a longarm quilter near me.
In my mind, the making of this quilt was just as important of the finished piece. I put together a book to go along with the quilt care package going to Errick and his family. The book told the story of how the quilt came to be, highlighted some special blocks and listed the cities where everyone was from who sent in blocks.
This story doesn’t end with Trudy’s Arse Kicking Quilt. With the rest of the block trimmings from TAKQ, I made a mini quilt, Trudy Trimmings. I just couldn’t throw away the block trimmings; they somehow felt sacred to me, so I had to make something with them. I thought Errick’s young son could one day use this mini to tuck in his bears.
And then there were the extra cross blocks (nearly 100). I turned half of the extras plus some orange blocks I made into a small quilt, Trudy Too for Errick’s son. The other half of the blocks have yet to be put together and turned into a quilt (to be named Trudy Tres). I have already figured out block placement for Trudy Tres and would like to finish it this year.
Errick and his family truly appreciated the quilt and extras. He is continuing to fight the cancer (now in his lungs, adrenal gland and liver) and just this week celebrated his 34th birthday.
Tell us your thoughts on virtual quilting bees and about your bee experience.
I have participated in two virtual quilting bees (the last one ending more than a year ago). While I appreciated my time in them, I do not think I will be joining another any time soon. I am at a time in my life when I have very limited free time: my husband travels more than 50 percent of the time (and works long hours when home), we have three little girls (now almost 6, 4 and 2) and no family in-state.
I participated in a swap and two bees and realized that I did not have a lot of time left for sewing for me. In a later chapter in my life, I would consider joining a bee again, probably through my guild. That said, I have contributed/am contributing to some collaborative quilts when the opportunity presents itself. At this time, I much prefer helping with a collaborative quilt for a specific person or need, instead of participating in a virtual quilting bee.
Tell us a bit about you as a quilter.
I discovered the world of modern quilting in the spring of 2009 and was instantly hooked. Funny thing… I never thought I would make quilting a hobby after making a rag quilt for my daughter in 2006. Everything about the hobby seemed so tedious. I have a different point of view now, obviously.
I most enjoy designing and figuring out my own quilt patterns. I almost always sketch my quilts out before I begin (either by hand or digitally with Illustrator). I am lost without my sketches.
Lucia is a member of the Dallas Modern Quilt Guild and you can find her and her quilts on her blog, Lulubloom.