Unfortunately I have never been to Paris, the city. I'm talking about one of the quilts that is very dear to my heart. Let's start with the background story.
I started quilting when I was 20, the college I was attending offered a quiltmaking class. During the course of the semester we had to make a sampler quilt. It was amazing! As soon as I finished my second block I was hooked (the first block was a disaster)! By the end of the semester I finished the top, received an A (when I look at that quilt the professor was pretty lenient with her grading) and had already started another quilt. After my husband saw how much I enjoyed quilting he gave me a sewing machine for Christmas. I could say the rest is history but there are many steps in my quilting adventure. For the next few years I sewed and started different quilts, a few baby quilts for my kids and others, but nothing really made me grow as a quilter. My father had his quilt business and we would travel with them whenever we could. My quilting perspective changed when one weekend we went to Henderson, NV.
You've got to understand quilt shows are fun and exciting, but you have to be there all weekend and sometimes business is slow. We use that time by visiting other booths and visiting the shop owners. That weekend I met John'aLee from The Scrappy Appleyard. She had the most amazing quilt, Meet me in Paris, you can read about it here (she has much better pics than I do). The quilt just spoke to me and I loved everything about it, the dresden plates, the center on point and the scalloped edge! She had her original there and also a few kits made up in different color ways. John'aLee was so nice and easy to talk to, and I could tell how much she loved quilting. She said she had just started making kits in different colors and was anxious to see how they turned out. I probably went back to that booth 10 times. I'm sure she kept thinking, just buy it already I know you are going to. I was drawn to the green/pink and cream kit, but it was waaay out of my budget since I had just finished school, had student loans and was not in a full time job yet. I can't remember if I was still pregnant with my second child or if she was a month old, but to say the least money was tight at that moment. I kept trying to push the thought of this kit out of my mind.
My mother was with us and she could tell how much I wanted to make that quilt. She took my dad aside and asked if I could work it off through the store. Of course he said yes and he went with me, credit card in hand, to grab the kit. I have to admit I think his eyes bulged a little when she told us how much it was, he wasn't used to seeing the prices for kits and plus it was over 100 inches square so there was a lot of fabric to it. I walked away, actually floated away, with stars in my eyes and a little apprehensive. I had never tackled a project that big before, and it was on point! AHHH! That was scary to me also, but I was determined to get it finished.
I was working a little at the school at the time and I knew I wouldn't have any time to start while school was in session so the kit sat for about 2 months. In that time I would read through the instructions and reread them, look through the fabrics and pet them and then start the whole process over again.
Finally school was out and I could start. I had Big L, who was 3 and Little K, who was 3 months old and lots of time on my hands! I loved every minute of it and before 2 weeks were up I had the top completed! Big L played at my feet with the little scraps that fell down and Little K slept in her swing or talked to me from the bouncer. John'aLee was amazing at putting kits together, everything was labeled to where it was supposed to go so there was no guess work when it came time to sew. It really felt like nothing.
It was hard to get a great pic in my living room, but this is my Meet Me in Paris quilt. I still love this quilt, it brings back so many great memories of my life at that time. Most of all, after I made this quilt my quilting life took a turn for the better. I was no longer afraid to try patterns that looked complicated. I figured if I could finish this in two weeks with two little kids around I could accomplish pretty much anything.
A few weeks after I finished the top I saw John'aLee at another quilt show and I showed her the top. She was so excited about the way it turned out, and she kept showing everyone at the show. John'aLee has since moved across the country and I don't see her anymore.
Thanks John'aLee for inspiring and supporting a young quilter just when I was ready to take my quilting to another level! I will always consider you a wonderful quilting friend.