I suspect that all of us can think of an important teacher or mentor who made a difference in our lives. For my son, it was the High School teacher who when a year was challenging encouraged him to become her TA giving him much needed confidence. For my daughter it was the professor who invited her to join her research project opening up the prospect of new career possibilities. For me, there are countless educators for whom I am grateful. I will never forget the teachers who believed the skinny girl with a weird accent (on both sides of the North/South divide as we moved growing up) could excel in school and the female professor mentors who showed me how to navigate the world of Emergency Medicine when there were so few women in the field to be found.
In honor of all educators for whom the last several years have been particularly challenging, I wanted to make a special quilt. As I delve deeper into this practice of quilt making I find myself more in awe of the quilt makers before me. It felt right to pay homage to their traditional designs while adding my own modern spin. I have always admired the Schoolhouse block though have never made a quilt using it. For this piece in honor of teachers I combined three traditional designs, the Schoolhouse block, the Log Cabin block and Baptist Fan hand quilting. I even quilted it on my traditional Amish made quilting frame trying to mimic the “perfect” six stitches per inch that my foremothers somehow found so easy but which for me is still a work in progress.
For better or worse, I am not a computer quilt designer. These themes and images dance around in my head and go from idea to fabric with little fleshed out other than a partial sketch in between. Such was the case with this project. I realized that I would benefit from paper piecing some bits so hand drew out a few paper piecing blocks and incorporated them into the quilt design.
I hope when people see this quilt they can reflect on the teachers who have made a difference in their own lives and that all educators out there can feel the importance of what they do every day.
Log Cabin Schoolhouse Quilt 75×75″; hand quilted and completed in 2022