Sunday, January 26, 2014

Collage Tribute Quilt from Novelty Fabric

Do you have a trainer? I didn't, for most of my life. Until, 3 years ago, I met Wendy.

Before, I looked like this:

Now I look like this:
Just kidding. I still look a lot more like the ladies on the first fabric. But I kinda feel like the second one. After three years of training, I am pretty darn strong (relative to me). Yesterday morning, shlepping my 1950s-era boat-anchor Supermatic sewing machine (here's one, not mine) out of the house, through the 25-foot long backyard, and out to the car, and then the 15 feet from the car trunk into the repair shop, was easier than it's ever been in my life. Grocery bags are a snap. 

And not only do I lift things much more easily, but most importantly, I FEEL a lot better. 

Much of this is thank to Wendy, a good-humored angel who is funnier than she is merciful. I do a circuit class with a bunch of other women my age, and Wendy cheer-leads, commands and jokes us through, burdening us with the right amount of weights and reps, periodically chirping "Good times!" as we  kvetch our way along.  

So I wanted to make her something special for Christmas.

My favorite part of making a birthday, anniversary, holiday, or other tribute quilt - whether for someone I like, or as a commission for someone I probably would like if I met them - is digging through my stash (or the LQS's stash) for fabrics that speak to the interests, pets, pet peeves, of the honoree. For Wendy, I had a lot of material to work with (literally), because she and her husband co-own the gym, where there's always a lot going on. Here's an overall shot of the collage quilt:
Specifically, I used:

An out-of-print Lunn/Red Ant Studios black-and-white fabric panel
(If this looks familiar, it's because I also used it in a coffee quilt, here.) 
The gym draws a significant crowd of (male) high school football players who heave Pluto-sized barbells around (the planet + the dog), grunting to beat the band. (Howcome the women clients never grunt? Complain, yes; grunt, never.)

Speaking of women, I threw on a shapely brunette who bears a vague resemblance to Wendy:

To her right are pictures of a heart ('el corazon,' from Spanish tarot fabric), and a before-and-after  illustration from an anti-smoking fabric. Underneath are three women doing Rockette kicks, a variation of which our circuit class also performs on occasion.

Then there's another large figure, a guy who bears a eerie resemblance to Wendy's husband. He came off a novelty fabric panel designed for making muscleman-themed boxer shorts, believe it or not. (I'm glad to get that out of my stash!)

There's a lady doing laundry (because Wendy washes all the complementary towels):
Then there's a fabric that someone gave me years ago that shows an ethnically-diverse group of women quilters, one holding a sign that said, "Will Work for Fabric." I covered "fabric," and replaced it with "Wendy." 
Because I do work a lot harder when she's around.

The gym is decorated with superhero posters, not to mention some exceptionally fit clients, so I threw in some cartoon characters:
To offset them, there's that Terrie Mangat fabric showing more zaftig people, who also abound at the gym: 
I strewed measuring tape fabric all about, not because I'm about to start measuring my muscles or my so-called waist but because there is an awful lot of counting involved in being a gym rat (reps and weights and such ), and, as mentioned before, having a trainer and compatriots makes it all much less boring and painful than I had always believed it had to be. 

So in conclusion: Go to the gym, find a trainer with compassion and a good sense of humor, sign up for her class, let her remake you, buy a lot of novelty fabric, and make her a quilt. She'll thank you. You'll thank her. And maybe me. 

By the way, if you live in the San Gabriel Valley of Southern California and are thinking about joining a gym, Wendy's is here. Highly recommended. Exceptional trainers. Loads of clean towels.

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