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The Story Behind The Driver's Footsteps Quilt

People often ask what do we do with all the quilts and quilted projects that we make.  90% of them have a home other than ours going into the project.  This is two-fold, we would run out of room at our house and designing a project for someone else gives you all a wider variety of looks.  To be honest I would stick with a lot of yellow and black colorways.  That would get boring.  The quilt was something we'd been wanting to do for awhile.  We get asked about quilts for men all the time and most people want a balance between manly and still wanting it to be seen in the living room.

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When we found out that Fred would be heading to Mayo for treatment we wanted to send him with something that would let him know how much he was loved back home.  This would be the perfect person for a quilt that was for a guy but not so over the top that his wife would shun his quilt to the backroom when he got home.  I know this happens.  Paul made a quilt for his son and it's pretty but I wouldn't want it in my living room.  It's a log cabin quilt made with camos and big game prints.  It's very much Paul and his son but it's not what most women would want to accent their common living spaces.

I started playing around with my design software with basic blocks, I wanted this to be a quick project since we didn't know when he was going to leave.  If you want to make the quilt you can check out our pattern for The Driver's Footsteps Quilt.  Most fabric manufacturers allow you to download pictures of their fabrics to use in quilt design software.  Honestly, this is my favorite part.  I love browsing through all of the fabrics out on the net to find what I want.  In an odd turn, all of the fabrics ended up being from QT Fabrics.  I love their fabrics and tend to use them often but usually, a whole quilt doesn't come from one source.

Here's where things get really odd, at least from my perspective.  The next week I start talking with QT Fabrics about working together.  We had talked before about them using some of my stuff because I had used their fabrics in the projects but I had never designed anything for them or with them.  As we were talking they offered to send me some fabric for a project.  I went out on a limb and sent over the quilt.  They loved it and they shipped the fabric off to us in a few days.  I seldom design a quilt from one manufacturer and I haven't had too many fabric companies just offer to send me that much fabric.  Paul was floored as well and we felt something bigger than us was really behind all of this.  Somebody knew this quilt needed to be made and was making it as easy as possible for us to do it.  I didn't have to track down the fabrics, didn't have to wait for special orders, or pray that what I ordered was what I would get.

Fred is a WalMart truck driver and part of the program Trucker Buddies.  Each year a teddy bear comes to the local elementary school, gets named and starts his or her adventure.  The program is really neat, as drivers swap teddy bears, write letters, and take photos for the kids.  The teddy bear this year was named Katie.  Paul thought it would be really neat if Katie's first adventure was helping to make Fred's quilt.  So after a few phone calls, Katie was at our house.  Katie helped Paul cut, sew, and press the quilt.  When they were almost done Katie headed back to the school with the quilt back and a pack of fabric markers so all the kids could sign the back of the quilt.

Our focus has been on this quilt.  He has been waiting for a bone marrow donor.  We knew that he could get the call at any time to go to Mayo for the transplant.  It's one of the reasons I went with two simple units so the piecing would go quickly. He had actually gotten a call telling him that they thought they had a donor while Paul was still doing the binding.  I don't know if we've every bound, washed, and photographed a quilt in the time we did this one.  We wanted him to be able to take it with him that badly.  We gave it to him last Sunday and he told us that donor fell through so it was back to the waiting list.  As of this writing, he has two possible donors and a date to be at Mayo.

Paul thought I should explain why we did this.  If I even attempted to explain how Fred fits into our lives and that's impossible.  We live in a town of just over 400, his family and my family have lived here forever.  There are too many connections from going to school with his kids, his parents and my grandparents being friends, and Paul working with his wife now.

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Would you like to comment?

  1. Beautiful quilt, touching story about Fred. I hope he gets a donor soon. My brother was diagnosed with leukemia back in 1996. My younger sister and I had our bone marrow tested for a match. Mine was an exact match. My brother is alive today. I would donate again in a heartbeat, but I have aged off the donor registry.