Monday, May 16, 2011

Remembering Cindy...Part #3: Free to Be Cindy

In the quilt for Cindy's son, we all experienced what it was to be free to be Cindy.  A hard working and studious student, farm girl and employee, Cindy's diligence was admirable.  She was dependable and quiet about her diligence.  However, it was clearly obvious in all that she did.  People tend to worry about hard-workers, thinking their diligence could be their undoing.  Yet, just as she was diligent, this woman knew how to be free to be Cindy!  She embraced choices and lived abundantly.  Work was work and fun was fun.  And even for Cindy work could be fun. 
Her son's quilt and his choices show that living on in his life. 
The t-shirts and knit polo shirts and other knits became the base goods for the quilts for the kids.  Her son's quilt was primarily made of the graphics of the t-shirts.  He'd chosen his particular favorites.  Then Keith, his father, added ones that would depict Cindy's life that her son could know more about her work, her interests and the things she really loved.  Of course, those well-loved t-shirts were faded, making them all that much more favored and serving as powerful reminders.  
Stories passed about the times she wore those shirts in her work on the farm as a teen and young adult on into the shirts she wore for activities like a softball team gathered from her co-workers.   The t-shirts with graphics were built into quilted segments by family members.  I'd gathered a backing and backing fabric from her son's favorite fabric color choice.  #1 on his list was orange.  I'd also asked him to tell me what color he absolutely did not want.  That was pink....easy to avoid.   
Watching the sisters build these segments was magical.  It was fascinating to me that they very much wanted to do this.  Giving them a rectangle approximately 20" x 30", they would sift through the t-shirts and figure out a way of putting several together to fill the space.  Then Therese and I would coach them on how to order the piecing to make all the elements fit.  Sometimes it was a process like building a log cabin block, other times it was row work and sometimes it looked akin to paper piecing a BIG block. Whatever the process, they didn't really know they were doing something incredibly complex....designing a quilt on the fly is tough work, especially when one needs to meld it together with elements being built by others. 
To bring together the units, I used a process of flat locking  seams together with a dense zig zag stitch and then sealing them on the back with a bias strip (made from orange fabric, of course).  Stitching on the left and right side, the stitching was revealed on the top of the quilt.  Then working on the top of the quilt, I made another bias strip 1/2' wider than the back and top stitched that to conceal the top seaming.  This process consumed three yards of fabric for all the bias strips and more than 1000 yards of YLI variations thread (in orange--of course) for the stitch together process.   The binding was the same bias-cut as the joining strips and sewn on with machine. 

One sister who resides in Kentucky was unable to make the weekend event.  She had asked that we send something to her to sew together.  It quickly became obvious what that project would be when both kids clung to t-shirts that made them chuckle.  
Her son's favorite showed Mt Rushmore on the front and the bared behinds of the statues on the back of the t-shirt.  The t-shirts were even hard to pry out of the kids' hands when we told them we were going to prepare them for making into pillows.   We sent the shirts and elements to Ruth.  There was some concern that she might use editorial privilege on t-shirts.  
While she DID do some editing, it was done as a temporary edit by adding briefs to the presidential bare behinds and in good humor.  Nice touch!   Everybody should be able to get mooned by a president!

This project was originally slated for two weekends.  But as, one could imagine, it is tough to get all these people for two weekends.  That we were able to finish these projects in one weekend was really because WORK CAN BE FUN!

And what of the remainder of the clothes?  Surely there were leftovers.  Indeed there were, and Therese and I had a plan for them that is still going on.  
The last of Remembering Cindy through our inspiration and creations will be in my next post, the last of this series.

All the Best to You, 

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