08 October 2013

The Real Thing

Maroon Bells

This year's annual pilgrimage to Maroon Lake for sunrise was highlighted by about four inches of snow and about 4,000 other photographers seeking to get the very same shot. Maroon Bells often are hailed as the most photographed mountain peaks in North America.

The Masses at Maroon Lake

I'd experienced similar conditions during my fall leaf photo adventure once before, many years ago, only that time, the sun never came up. Still, I loved the resulting photo so much, I printed it on fabric bigger than any other photo I've ever printed on fabric. I divided the original photo into a tic tac toe grid and printed the photo in nine segments!

Maroon Bells

I'd made some smaller fabric prints of the 14ers for a vest a few months earlier, and I thought the leftovers, which all happened to be winter shots or taken in winter conditions, might make an awesome sashing for the new Maroon Bells quilt.

14er Vest

The only problem is I'm no mathematician!

With The Lizard's skillful assistance, I created a faux denim sashing with the winter 14ers evenly spaced, and then I appliqued crocheted snowflakes in between each mountain peak.

The 48-inch by 40-inch wintery collage was quilted by hand, then stored for many years. I had no room in my teeny apartment for a wall quilt of that size. The big 14er quilt also was packed away all that time.

Winter 14ers

When we moved into our new (used and short sale) house five and a half years ago, I rejoiced at wall space big enough to hang wall quilts. Yet cycling, gardening and snowflakes always seemed to keep me from unpacking the multitude of boxes of stuff that still populates our basement.

Before we bought our house, almost all the quilting projects I began were wall quilts. I didn't have room for anything else. When we bought the house, The Lizard requested I begin focusing on full-size quilts. "No More Wall Quilts" became my mantra. (Quilts are for beds, not walls, The Lizard reasons.)

This summer, we had guests three times, so I had an excuse (REASON!) to finally dress up the guest bedroom. Three walls with no sunlight featured "Spindrift", "Running Out" and "Winter 14ers" all summer long. I think my house guests all approved.

Winter 14ers

Last month, I learned the 2014 fundraising drive for the Colorado/Wyoming Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society would be ending at the end of September instead of during the holidays this year. I was a mere $233 away from High Roller status, which means, in essence, special porta potties during next summer's MS-150 and no waiting in line for anyone who raised $2,000 or more the previous year.

I had less than three weeks' notice to raise the $233 and achieve High Roller status. This was a real thorn in my side because last year I was just $5 away from High Roller status for 2013 when event sponsorship changed and the annual fundrasising drive was brought to an immediate halt with no advance notice. I'd reached High Roller Status for the first time ever for the 2012 ride but then was unable to ride due to back injury. I didn't get to take advantage of those special porta potties! I cried so hard. Mostly because my back hurt, but also because it had taken me nearly 11 years to finally hit High Roller. And then I didn't get to use the special potties!

The only thing I could think of to raise the $233 so quickly was to make my wall quilts and snow-dyed yarn available to donors who had already been so generous. I offered "Running Out" for a donation, and it was gone within an hour. I couldn't believe it!

Even more unbelievable, I received another equal donation after updating the call for help to announce the quilt was gone. I asked the donor if one of my other wall quilts might suffice. This particular donor did not make the donation to receive anything in return (as did two other later donors), but drooled at the chance to adopt one of my quilts. "Winter 14ers" was selected. A quilt sleeve was installed on the back (because I made this quilt long before I ever began entering competitions, and I had no clue wall quilts needed a way to be hung other than with stick pins), the quilt was shipped, and three days later I received the most wonderful email thanking me for the gift.

Pyramid and Sherman

Not only did I reach High Roller status within eight hours of my plea for donations, I also had the extreme boost of confidence that someone besides me likes my wall quilts. Talk about warm fuzzies!!!

So, "Running Out" and "Winter 14ers" have been re-homed now, both after just a brief exhibition at my own home. "My Guy" initially replaced "Running Out" in the guest room, but both The Lizard and I decided the 3D effect of the sunflowers is more emphasized in the hallway. So two guest bedroom walls are once again empty.

Do you know what this means?!?

I get to make more wall quilts! (They go faster than full-size quilts; nearly immediate gratification!)

Maroon Bells


  1. Wow, all trying to get the same shot at once, sure quite the sight

    1. Yes, watching all the other photographers vie for footing along the lakeshore is as entertaining as any wildlife I've seen, Pat!

  2. Wow! What an awesome quilt! :) I can't believe all those photographers lined up there!

    1. Thanks, Marigold! Yes, the photographers are quite the sight. After the sun comes up, most of them go back to their cars, and they have no idea what they miss out on by leaving without exploring!

  3. That last photo - what a knockout!

    I can tell you that THIS houseguest definitely approves of your wall quilts. :)

    Lucky recipient! (She loves it. I heard all about in an email.)

    P.S. I can picture you at Bike MS 2014, sauntering casually (but proudly) up to the special potties, while your friends wait in the long line and look on with envy.... ;)

    1. Awww, shucks, Sue, THANK YOU! I think maybe that last photo might be destined for another wall quilt... ;)

  4. Gorgeous photos! And why have i never thought to have photo's printed on fabric?! You're photo quilts are stunning!
    I've designed and printed my own fabric from spoonflower before, but never thought to do this. Genius!

  5. Way to go, High Roller! I'm not surprised at the support. Your photo quilts are incredible.

    That last photo is beyond belief!


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