This teaching opportunity is a sort of combination retreat/quilt class for a group of ladies who either work at a local hospital or are related to someone who works at that hospital. One of the ER nurses is the organizer of this event every year. (She's one of those petite women who have more energy than a pro football player!) Last month I wasn't feeling well even before I arrived at the retreat. One of the ladies had stopped at the mall earlier in the day, tried out a new hand lotion in the department store there, and then came to the retreat. There were other scents in the room too, and between them all I was useless in less than an hour. Fortunately I had chosen a very simple pattern for them to make and was able to give the more experineced quilters directions as to how they should proceed. I prayed myself home, went to bed, and checked in with them about noon the next day. They had done fine without me. (I'm not sure whether that's good or bad!)
I was concerned this month because I felt I really needed to be there to guide them through the project this time. We made sure to remind them of my chemical issues on the supply list; that was something I'd forgotten to do last time. Overall I felt stronger this time too. There was one farily significant hitch though: a first-time quilter brought in a big, brand new, cutting mat. Of course no-one else could smell anything but I could feel the fumes off-gassing from the mat going up my nose and into my sinus cavities right through two layers of carbon filters. I had to work very hard to give coherent directions as they began cutting into their fabric. I also made a poor choice when it came to doing my demonstration of the technique we were using. Nothinig insurmountable, but not what I would have done had I been unaffected by fumes.
Once they got started on their projects things went well and I was able to go home and go to bed early. When I arrived the next morning I found they had removed the new cutting mat from the building- hurray! There were still other fragrances in the air but nothing so bad that I couldn't stick around and see them to the completion of their quilt tops. I did not haul the camera to the retreat with me - although I did think of it! - so you won't get to see pictures of the tops they created but, trust me, they were wonderful. One was all in green and black and shamrock prints. Another was done in lovely spring colors. One was blue and yellow florals, one in very 'country' colors and prints. Let's see... there was also a cat theme and one in bright clear colors for a baby.
The blocks you see below that have the patches of yellow in them are the ones I made at the retreat. I was so happy to have made it through the retreat successfully that when I got home yesterday I cut and sewed up a second batch of blocks.
My original intention was to use the demonstration blocks to make another preemie quilt. Now I have a toddler size quilt to donate instead!
This top is actually very bright in person. I don't seem to have adjusted the colors correctly when I cropped the photo. The stripe I used for the border was one of the fabrics the newest quilter was using in her quilt. I just fell in love with it (with a lot of her choices actually!) when I saw it. At one point on Saturday two of the ladies made a run to the nearest quilt shop for more fabric so I had them bring some back for me too ;- ) Then I had to send my Dear Husband out later in the day for even more of the stripe so I would have enough to go around this quilt in the direction I wanted it to go!
I have very little energy today but I couldn't be happier with the way the weekend went. Well, I'd be happier if I didn't have to cope with these chemical issues but you know what I mean. I have a fabric picked out to back this top; it's one my mother bought and gave me years ago. I was surprised at how well it coordinates with the colors in the blocks. Mom is no longer with us so it means a lot to me to be able to include her in this project. Because she was a knitter I didn't often have a chance to 'collaborate' with her!