Kim is a runner. That's her in the picture below wearing the green shirt at the Maine Corp marathon in WDC. She and her husband trained long and hard to be in that race and both finished! Now I have no idea what it's like to train for or run in a marathon but it's one of the many things admire about Kim.
It sounds like such a final declaration to say she's a runner because the truth is Kim is much more than a runner. Yes, she is an athlete but she is also a wife, a mom, a sister, an aunt, a grandmother, and a dear friend. On my visits to our home town, where she still lives, I'd see her running the route of hills and valleys that lead past her mom's place near where my sister lives. I typically wave but don't stop for fear of breaking her concentration. I never asked her about stopping during a run but I figure if it was me running (NOT!) it would take me every bit of concentration and determination to be running on such a rugged course that I wouldn't dare to stop!
I am always in awe of anyone with such physical strength and mental determination. I have never been much of an outdoor gal, even in my youth. I was always wanting to sit around reading a book. It was my friends (and my mother) who encouraged me to join in the biking, swimming, and skiing that kept us busy summer and winter. I'm so glad they did! I enjoyed it mostly because I was with them certainly not because of my grace or ability.
When Kim invited The Girls for an overnight stay it was the perfect time to deliver her quilt. Getting all of us together in one place can be a challenge but we try to do it once or twice a year. And there's usually one or two who just can't make it. In this case it was Audrey and Mary so Kim made these fun "big head" cut outs to make sure they were included. What a hoot! It seemed, as always, that we had just seen each other yesterday when in fact we hadn't seen each other in months! Catching up is easy because we do keep in touch with all the new fangled technology and occasionally a phone call or two.
During the summer before this get together I had been talking to Kim at a party. She was telling me about the next big running challenge she was training for and I got that old feeling of envy. Of how I wish I was more physically active and had the grace and beauty that comes from being tall, slim, and healthy. Let's face it, I'm never going to be tall but I'd love to be slim and healthy! And it's not envy in a bad way, it's more like inspiration, in a way that makes me want to do more. To be better at going to the gym, at sticking with healthy eating, at getting outside to enjoy the sun and the fresh air. While I love being inside working on my quilting there are days when I still feel like that 17 year old girl who'd just love to spend a day playing on the slopes with her friends!
I had so much fun making the disappearing 9 patch block for Betty's quilt I decided to use it again for Kim's. I just love the way you start out with these big blocks sewn together to get a huge 9 patch.
Then you cut the 9 patch up to produce four smaller blocks seen below. The one thing you need to consider when making this block is do you want any of the directional fabrics to stay in an upright position? In this case, I didn't mind if the leaves were tipped and turned but I wanted all the birds to be sitting on the branches right side up not dangling down like bats. :-) But that's just me, you may not care and I'm sure they would have been just a pretty, even upside down or sideways.
Then when you rotate the smaller blocks and sew them back together you end up with a totally different look. And this is just one of many options for turning the small blocks - again for me it was all about keeping the birds upright.
The overall effect of the disappearing 9 patch is a bit scrappy. Just enough for me to tolerate! And since I have a hard time mixing up different patterns and colors in the same quilt this type of block gives me the effect I'm looking for without the stress of losing control LOL! Maybe I'm a bit OCD. Here's the finished quilt.
I didn't realize it until after taking this picture but there's a secondary pattern. Can you see it? It looks like large pin wheels and gives it a nice energy to the peaceful colors.
For quilting I had Lorri do a large swirl that reminded me of blowing winds in the fall.
In the corners and borders there's an acorn and oak leaf motif.
As always for me one of the most fun parts of making a quilt for a gift is to watch the person opening it. Kim was totally surprised! Sorry for that bad picture Kim but I couldn't get one without the reflections beaming back from your running jacket! Love, love, love the backing fabric by the way!
Now all of the girls, including Kim, knew they were getting quilts but they had no idea what to expect or when it would arrive. I was just going to work on them and they'd get them when the got them. (I didn't need the stress of 6 quilt deadlines in my life!) In this case, I finished the quilt in December 2011 just before Kim's birthday but didn't get it delivered until February 2013. Oh yeah, and I'm just finishing writing about this one in 2014 . . . I know, I know but don't judge me!
While we were stating at Kim's that night nearly a year ago it snowed as we slept. In the morning we woke up to over a foot of new snow. The more hearty of the bunch went for an early morning walk. I would have loved to have joined them but I'm not crazy, I know my limits. When they returned we started digging out and preparing to head home. So I got that chance to spend some time outdoors with my friends! LOL! Mostly though, the guys did the shoveling and snow blowing, while the girls cleared off the cars.
And the get together at Kim's was just like all the other times The Girls get together; lots of food, fun, "remember when", and new memories. So when's the next get together for The Girls? Who knows, but I'm sure it will be a blast!