Productive with a capital P. Organized with a capital O. And happy whenever I see her. Let me introduce you to my special friend Alice. At 91, I can only hope to have a fraction of her spirit when I get there.
For our recent Quilt Show, Alice made this Challenge Quilt.
It is a Victorian Crazy Quilt Christmas wall hanging that she designed after being inspired by a 2 1/2″ photo of ‘The Night Before Christmas” by Patricia Eaton of McCrea, Arkansas that appeared in Quilter’s Newsletter Magazine.
When I phoned to tell Alice that my bid was the highest and I had received her wall hanging, she asked if she could add a beaded fringe to the quilt, similar to what was in the original picture. Two weeks later she was done. Let me add the point that these beads were not purchased prestrung. They were individual beads that she strung herself!
Take a look at some of the closeups. The variety of embroidery stitches, the beads added to the doilies, the thread details on the buttons…
She has been an active member of our Quilt Guild for almost 30 years. Even though she no longer leaves her house or is able to attend guild meetings, she eagerly awaits the newsletter so that she knows what it going on at the guild, and continues to contribute to most guild activities.
For example, the Challenge Quilt was not the only item Alice had in the Quilt Show. She also made several wall hangings which she donated to the Choice Auction baskets, and she had items for sale in the Boutique.
I was impressed from the first time I met Alice. She says that she never gets bored. Let me tell you why.
She makes 100 Touch Quilt tops every year. Touch Quilts are lap size quilts given to Alzheimer patients living in personal care homes. They are made with 6″ squares of textured fabrics, enhanced with items the patient can play with. Touching the different fabrics or playing with the items attached to the quilt can bring comfort, happiness, and sometimes reminds the patient of events earlier in their lives. The goal of the Alzheimers Association of Manitoba is to provide each of its 22,000 (and growing) patients with such a quilt.
One of the rooms in Alice’s house is set up ‘assembly line’ style. Trays of fabric squares are divided by fabric type and colour – cotton, denim, corduroy, velvet, polyester, satin etc.
Then the different types of squares are organized and sorted into the trays as they are made. Squares with pockets, keys, and beads …
Squares with thread spools, bears made of fleece, peek-a-boo pockets, zippers or other decorative items of interest…
50 quilt tops were just handed over in April. Here is the first one of the next batch:
Alice has two sewing machines. One is a Singer she purchased in 1952, but most of her sewing is done on an Elna Supermatic Sewing Machine which Alice purchased straight from the factory in Geneva Switzerland in 1956.
Elna was a technological leader in the sewing machine world with new inventions such as the free arm, reverse stitch and decorative stitches created through the use of cams.
Families affected by Alzheimers know better than I the impact a touch quilt has had on their loved one. We will never know all the stories but we can be sure that Alice has touched the lives of many.
I have only known Alice for a short time and I am proud to own one of her pieces.