I recently had the unique privilege of helping OLFA celebrate the 35th anniversary of their rotary cutter!
What quilter doesn't love their rotary cutter, and doesn't love the OLFA company?! I still remember purchasing my first OLFA cutter, mat, and O'Lipfa ruler in the late 80's - it totally revolutionized my quilting! My original OLFA mat needs to be put out to pasture, but I can't bear to part with it because of all the memories embedded in it (yes, Robin, I can hear you saying "Let it go, let it go!")! So, when this opportunity presented itself, I immediately responded, "I'm in!!" I could picture myself hobnobbing with the celebrities of the quilt world! :)
Thirty-six quilters/designers/authors were invited by OLFA to submit a quilt block.
The only requirements were that the block needed to contain yellow and needed to finish at 6 1/2" square. Each participant featured their block on their blogs, along with an OLFA give-away for their readers. It was fun receiving their blocks, then reading their blog posts (you can read some of them here, here, here, here, here, here, and my favorite one here.) And, it was especially fun receiving blocks from many quilters whose blogs I already follow and love! It was fun, too, learning of some new blogs and personalities in the quilt world. (OK, I know I used the world "fun" too many times in this paragraph, but no other word suffices!)
After receiving the blocks in the mail from each participant, my job was to photograph each block along with the accompanying card, log their comments, then assemble the quilt top. It was the dream Administrative Assistant job combined with quilting! :) It was so much fun opening the mail box each day with an envelope from a well-known quilter. And, I so enjoyed reading their comments; there was so much love and appreciation for the OLFA company in their words - you could feel the love!
After the top was completed, I shipped it off to Kathy to do her magic. Then, Kathy returned the quilted top to me, and I added the binding and sleeve, as well as a label on the back documenting the names of each participant.
I didn't think to add Kathy's and my names to the label. :(
I have to admit, when it came time to assemble the quilt top, the stressing began!! It was a challenge to find a way to put the blocks together in such a way that showcased each quilter's distinct style, while at the same time tying all the blocks together in a cohesive design. We wanted to keep the style modern and keep the focus on the blocks.
And, we wanted to incorporate the bold yellow of the OLFA cutter.
Finding the perfect shade of yellow was a challenge!
As I was assembling the top, I kept thinking of each participant, wanting so much for them to be pleased when they saw their block in the finished quilt, displayed at the International Quilt Market in Houston. I wanted them to say, "that's exactly what I envisioned!" (Totally unrealistic expectations, I realize!!) When I sent the quilt top off to Kathy for longarming, I wasn't even sure I was happy with what I had come up with, but we had a deadline to meet, and we needed to keep the project moving along. (If it had been a personal project for me, I probably would have folded it away and come back to it several years later!)
But, when the quilt came back from Kathy, I almost cried! Her quilting tied everything together beautifully....
So, how did I get in on such a cool project? As we all know, it always comes down to who you know! When I was exploring the possibility of launching a longarm quilting business last year, I stumbled across Kathy O. of Stitch by Stitch on line. I had consulted with her about the feasibility of a longarm business for me. My longarm dream never materialized, but we became kindred-spirit friends as a result. Kathy is well-known in the longarm quilting world, so it was no surprise that OLFA would contact her about the project. However, she was too busy for tackling the entire project, so she then invited me to join in. Kathy and I had worked on a quilt together earlier in the year, so I knew I would enjoy collaborating with her on this project. We even set up a secret Pinterest board that Kathy, Robin from OLFA, and I could view/pin together with our ideas for the quilt.
When it came time to ship the finished quilt back to the OLFA headquarters outside Chicago, I hated to part with it. (Unlike most quilters, I've parted with very few of my quilts over the years....) So, with the help of my friend Phyllis, I took it out for a final photo shoot on a lovely fall day.
The quilt will be showcased in the OLFA booth at the International Quilt Market/Quilt Show in Houston this week, then will make its way to the OLFA headquarters in Japan. I would have loved to been a fly on the wall at Quilt Market!
Thank you, OLFA, for allowing each one of us to celebrate this milestone with you!
I was thrilled to learn that Kumiko Fujita's "318 Patchwork Patterns" has finally been released in English!
Ever since viewing a picture of this quilt on Pinterest, I have been searching in vain for a copy of the book. It was in Japanese and out of print, and was nowhere to be found - not on eBay, not from the library (I even had my local library search for it - there is not a single library in the United States that has it in their possession!) - nowhere! The only copy I could locate was from Amazon Japan; the webpage was in Japanese, and it was way out of my price range!
I have been collecting patterns and pinning images to my "Alphabet Quilt" Pinterest board, eager to make my own version, but I wasn't sure how I would pull it off without the book, especially when it came to the letters.