The Quilt's Home
St. Louis is pretty much home, since I moved there when I was 18. St. Louis is home to the Quilt Idea, too. While living in St. Louis In the 1980's, I started teaching "Magic Quilt" classes for kids. When my husband and I decided to make St. Louis one of our fall road trip stops, I was eager to take the Quilt back home!
My Old College Buddy!
Setting up a "Quilt Connection" when I'm traveling, is usually pretty tricky. I call up a school, center or a nursing home and share a little about what I do. There's often lots of red tape, which is understandable. And eventually if all is cleared, I arrive and volunteer.
How wonderful that I was able to connect with my dear college friend, Karen who had recently taken a new position as Activity Director at The Sarah Community in St. Louis! We set up a day and time...
I'm used to "winging it" with new groups. I don't know what kind of space I'll be able to use. I don't know how many will be in my group or what the abilities or interests will be. Improvising with a new group is part of the fun.
Karen's energy and confidence masked the fact that she was still somewhat new to her job, She didn't act like someone who was still learning names and routines. She certainly was beyond "winging it", but it was nice to team up once again and "improvise" with Karen. Improvising was something Karen and I did a lot of, years ago!
This and That
Karen and I found a cozy spot and settled in with a small group. Suddenly I was enjoying this relaxed, informal gathering. I shared a little about quilts... some stories, some props. But it was different than past groups, where I've "presented" a program, or felt like a teacher. It just felt like a group of women gathering around a quilt years ago.
Working with Hands
I tossed a collection of wooden shapes on the quilt and it was fun watching hands... fiddle with designs and patterns. Most of these hands probably did a lot with needles and thread, in the past. Just like long ago, sharing is often easier when the hands are busy.
At one point, Karen took one of the women back to her room to gert a quilt that she wanted to share. I took that moment to brag to the others about my friend. "What! You didn't know Karen was a singer?" I quickly informed the group.
Then I told them about how I first heard Karen's voice nearly 40 years ago. "We were in Theatre Conservatory together..." I even and told them about some of our crazy performances.
Around Another Quilt
The two returned and spread out the other quilt to share. After we admired the new quilt, the focus changed! Suddenly everyone wanted to know about Karen's work with the Bob Kuban Band. They wanted to know when she would be performing for them! And then they were back to more questions about her time with the band. Look what I started! But it was fun having these women, sharing in this fun reunion between 2 old college friends.
For the New Quilt
Before ending, we brainstormed some words that came to mind when we thought about quilts. Comfort, Memories, Sleep, Dreams... Karen and I jotted their words onto fabric squares that will be added to the quilt I'm building from all the friends I've connected with in new places. One of the women suggested we call our new group, "Gathering of the Eagles". I liked the bold title. I'll always think of these women when I look at these new patches on the quilt.
What Did I Learn?
I've used this quilt to connect with new people and to help others connect with each other. But this time, the quilt helped me connect with my old friend! Thanks, Karen!
For 20+ years children have called it the Magic Quilt. They've danced and pretended all over these colorful squares. I've dragged it to schools, shelters and studios where children have climbed on top to hear Magic Quilt Stories and to act them out.