Thursday, November 5, 2020

Strings and Reflection

Another week and another batch of string quilts! These six were quilted by me, but some of them were pieced by Pam. She helped out by piecing two great big boxes of blocks I sent her into 8 tops and sending them back. Great big thanks to Pam, she did a lovely job of piecing and pressing nice flat seams!

Also obviously thanks to those who sent in cool backing fabrics for these quilts. Patients and families love to look at the backs and often connect to them. 

There have been quite a few of these string quilts so far, and there will be more, so instead of talking about them I wanted to talk about something - or rather someone - that was on my mind lately.

I was fortunate to have several exceptional teachers in my life. Sometimes I really recognized it at the time and sometimes it wasn't obvious until later, looking back.  My elementary art teacher from 1st-6th grade was a fabulous artist in her own right and also a wonderful teacher.

Even twenty years later I remember so many things that I learned in her class.  I think her approach to art and her passion influenced my own creativity and curiosity greatly.

Just one of example of how she taught, our unit on weaving didn't start with some yarn and a loom. It started with meeting her Angora Rabbits.  She brought fresh wool and cotton, too, but the bunnies came to class. She showed us how she sheared them, then we cleaned their fur and aligned it by brushing between two big wire paddle brushes. We tried spinning it into yarn on a drop spindle and a spinning wheel, then we dyed it.  And then we got out the looms and the Walmart yarn, because no one in their right mind wastes Angora on 3rd graders!

And that was just one thing. Before we did collages we learned to make our own paper.  And then from the paper we branched into papyrus and vellum and book binding. When we did clay we didn't just make ash trays, we learned how the Native Americans dug clay out of the ground and we made Storyteller Dolls and pinch pots.

Can you imagine how much work and mess that was with 15 or 20 little kids? And how little it must have seemed like we were getting out of it? But I remember the details of so much she taught me. We did do the usual arts as well, I definitely remember perspective drawing, pointillism and impressionism. I probably remember them less because even then I was terrible at drawing and painting.  But she never let art stop at traditional lines, art was any kind of visual expression, including crafts or handiworks.

I don't think I ever really realized how much that one teacher inspired my passion for all things creative, and for going beyond the surface.  She showed how art and creativity can tie together history and math and science.

I had an equally passionate and innovative science teacher throughout high school who I can largely credit for the reason I'm in healthcare today.  I realize that these women also shaped the teaching style I try to bring to my nursing students, and I'm really just lucky to have had them.  Since it's been on my mind lately I'm going to write them this week. I hope that if you had a special teacher in your life you can thank them, too.

Covered in Love is a 501(c)(3) charity that donates quilts to patients dying in the hospital, over 600 so far! The Nov/Dec drive is going on now.  Check out the main post HERE if you want to get involved. 


Linking to  Confessions of a Fabric Addict and Finished or Not Friday


  1. Thanks for sharing your teacher story, Kat. I'm glad you were inspired by those women. Thank you for all you do to make Covered in Love a reality!

  2. My special teacher was in my freshman year of high school as a "run away". She taught me to strong and to be true to myself

  3. How lucky we all are that you had an art teacher that led you into seeing creativity as a way of life. Without her, there would probably be no Covered in Love. Can we all send her a thank you note?

    I had many teachers over the years, since my family moved each year. Two in particular stand out. My pre-algebra teacher in 7th grade took such clear delight in my grasp of math when all around me were messages that math was not for girls. He treated me with such respect, I'll never forget him. He started me on my path to an engineering degree. And in high school, my typing teacher was the only adult who noticed I was struggling with my parents' divorce. She was so tuned into the rhythms of the typewriters' cadence and heard my fast, accurate typing slow down and stumble. And this was in a class of 20 students and their clacking machines! She took me aside and asked if something was wrong at home. Imagine being that observant and kind! Teacher who truly SEE their students can change the world.

  4. Love the story of your art teacher. How wonderful that she inspired you so much. Thank you for all that you do for others.

  5. Thanks to Pam for piecing all those wonderful quilts & for your fantastic quilting on them. I'm loving all those new backings that you've been receiving.
    Your story of your art teacher just warmed my heart today. I'm so glad she led you to the path of quilting before you ever knew anything about quilting. And a great science teacher who influenced you into your career today. To have not one, but two influential teachers in your life was a real blessing.

  6. Great team work with great results. Well done to you both.

  7. I especially love your comments about your art teacher. She sounds like an extraordinary person in how she dug deep into each subject. I love that you took the time to thank her in your blog. Whether she sees your comments or not, you helped us all to recall those great teachers who led us in discovering, creating and being curious. Great quilts and thanks for helping us to think about the great teachers we have had in our lives too.

  8. What wonderful teachers you all have mentioned! I especially love your art teacher, whom I have never met, but still LOVE her, because she started you with the basics of where does this stuff come from? How does it get to ... and then what do we do with it? That can be so very important! So glad you shared!