The Great Alaskan Quilt Out-Grandma Patt- Part II

My last post was all about my McCarthy neighbor Grandma Patt. We’ve been friends for close 15 years, and neighbors for five. We both own historical cabins in downtown McCarthy, Alaska. Here is a winter view of our two little places side by side.

Grandma Patt Part I Maria ShellPatt spends sleepless nights dreaming about her cabin, what color should she paint the walls, how to raise the foundation, where to put woodshed, and what art belongs in her outhouse. We talk about this ALOT.

I had two old time quilt tops in my stash, and I knew they would make great additions to her cabin decor. They are nothing fancy, so my hope is that Patt would use them up. That was five years ago.

All I needed to do was quilt them. Finally, that happened this week!

I wanted something simple but personal. Because Patt and I met at Wrangell Mountains Center writing workshop, it seemed appropriate that I write on the quilts. I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time, just write with my long arm.

The Great Alaska Quilt Out Maria ShellI decided that I would put famous people’s quotes on the quilts. Both Patt and I aspire to agents of positive social change, so I started with a quote about peace written by Lyndon B. Johnson. Here is the quote.

“Peace is a journey of a thousand miles and it must be taken one step at a time.”

IMG_4980As I was writing/quilting, I started thinking that I just now put LBJ in bed with Grandma Patt. What if she doesn’t like President Johnson. He is kind of an acquired taste. This bugged me a little bit. I could see her preferring George Clooney, but I’m pretty sure he’s never said anything philosophical about the human condition that someone else didn’t write.

Then I thought, well, I should just ask Grandma Patt who she wants on her quilt. It is kind of personal who you get in bed with. This may have been a good idea, but anyone who knows Patt knows she would be on her deathbed sending me Facebook posts saying, “Gilda Radner is definitely in, John Lennon is out, I still on the fence about Hilary.” I do believe she made her granddaughters paint her window trim at least six times before the color was just right for all the light of all the seasons. I wanted this project done.

The Great Alaska Quilt Out Maria ShellThen I began to think about it as curated slumber party. You know that question–if you could invite anyone to dinner dead or alive who would it be? Well, this is a version of that.

I knew guest number one was LBJ so that covered the old dead political guy. From there, I decided a poet would be a good choice. Here is something from Maya Angelou.

“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”

The Great Alaska Quilt Out Maria ShellHow about Andy Warhol? He was always up for a party. This his contribution to the quilts.

“If you are not trying to be real, you don’t have to get it right. That’s art.”

The Great Alaska Quilt Out Maria ShellSo now, I’ve got LBJ, Maya Angelou, Andy Warhol, and Grandma Patt all in one bed. This is getting fun, right?

I add the greatest fighter of all time next–here is what Muhammad Ali added to the conversation.

“It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wears you out, it’s the pebble in your shoe.”

The Great Alaska Quilt Out Maria ShellEleanor Roosevelt is an entirely different type of fighter. Here is what she has to say.

“A woman is like a teabag–you can’t tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water.”

Picking the right quote, that was the right length to fill the space, and make sense for a slumber party and Patt’s personality and life philosophy was challenging and fun. I tried not to take to seriously. That’s why Mae West is next. She says.

“Between two Evils, I always pick the one I never picked before.”

The Great Alaska Quilt Out Maria ShellI added a personal favorite because if this party were to happen, I live next door, and I might get invited. Besides Mae West and Tom Waits might have good chemistry. AND this is a great quote for a writer, and Grandma Patt is one mighty fine writer. Tom says.

“When you are writing, you are conjuring. It’s a ritual, and you need to be brave and respectful and sometimes get out of the way of whatever it is that you invited into the room.”

The Great Alaska Quilt Out Maria ShellAnd finally, for fun, and because I love his words and the fact that he did not give up–Dr. Seuss was invited to the party.

“Today you are you! That is truer that true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!

The Great Alaska Quilt Out Maria ShellThere you have it. Grandma Patt’s slumber party featuring the words of Lyndon B. Johnson, Maya Angelou, Andy Warhol, Muhammad Ali, Eleanor Roosevelt, Mae West, Tom Waits, Dr. Seuss and my dear friend Patt Garrett.

I know my lettering looks like a beginner’s because I am. But you know what? I think I’m going to do it again and get better.

This entry was published on December 19, 2014 at 7:37 PM. It’s filed under Just Plain Stories, Quilt Stories and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

34 thoughts on “The Great Alaskan Quilt Out-Grandma Patt- Part II

  1. pam butcher on said:

    Brilliant! What a thoughtful gift. And fun project!

  2. best blog post yet, really lets us in on your creativity. what a gift.

  3. What a great idea to quilt the quotes in!

  4. omg, I just love the slumber party you made for Patt. I wanna get in there too!

  5. Amazing good fun…love this and so will Grandma Patt! You are one good friend, Maria Shell!

  6. I’ve quilted words and phrases before: songs, cheers, names, etc. But I never thought of a slumber party. What a fabulous idea. Thanks.

  7. What a fun idea!I am sure she will love it.All of your talents are merging.I’m anxious to see what’s next.

  8. You gave my morning a smile with my coffee! Thank you for sharing ! ! !
    …from another Granma Pat on Galveston Island, TX.. 🙂

  9. What a fabulous idea and thoughtful gift!

  10. Sherry Eckrich on said:

    Maria, This is delightful–and so thoughtful and intelligent. Knowng both of you enriches my life. What a gift for the holidays! Sherry

  11. Lila Vogt on said:

    The quilts are beautiful and I’m loving your posts! xxx

  12. Wonderful idea and what a great gift for Grandma Patt.

  13. What a great idea, and makes the gift even more meaningful and special for her.

  14. Nicely done. I’ve known Patt a long time. You captured her “specialness” very well. Thank you. Denise

  15. Sally Gibert on said:

    Touching. Beautiful. Great selection of slumber party guests.Shows you love for Patt! Thanks so much for sharing!

  16. Sewing Machine embroidery classes with Barbara Smith yielded a sampler from we, her students who embroidered it with “Barbara Smith’s an old SEW-AND-SEW” on it. She loved seeing how we learned from her how to write our names and sign it on her gift. AND I am sure Grandma Pat will likewise love your gift. Your voice (and others’) comes through for her with this wonderful project.

  17. donaleek on said:

    Maria, We are in a Lisa Call class together….. Love your writing style…. and your quilting style! This slumber party idea is a great one!!

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