A Class Act

I’ve had some good teachers in my life, a few I’d even say were great, but I’ve never had a teacher as wonderfully inspiring as the educator getting this custom quilt. It’s a group gift from over of her 50 current and past students – a thank you for the impact she’s had on their lives as she retires.

Teacher Appreciation Quilt

I love this kind of quilt, where every block has a special meaning. Here’s the actual request from her class –

“We want to tie [the quilt] in to her trademark pedagogy, which include a lot of references to ducks (she names them, gives them IDs and uses them as bathroom passes, sort of like an inanimate class pet, and also because she taught Catcher in the Rye for a number of years, the ducks holding symbolism or whatever). She also travels to Europe every year on the school trip, and considers it a life changing experience. She won an award last year that allowed her to attend a conference there. She also gives us an Italian word of the day EVERY day. We also study a lot of Charles Dickens, and the Victorian era, and the Romantic poets. She loves art. I know that’s a lot of things, and when juxtaposed they may look strange. We were also hoping to include a few quotes from past students on it … and a “from the Class of 2016″ on it. Your website is perfect, and [we] hope this is something that we’d be able to accomplish.”

How could I pass up that design challenge? 🙂

I tried to incorporate most everything they mentioned (and a bit more) in the quilt, including –

  • A machine appliqued Eiffel Tower for Paris and Big Ben for London which symbolizes both Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities” and her love of Europe;
  • Two shelves of books pieced from scrappy fabrics with machine-appliqued ducks displayed;
  • Five locations to include a class quote. These are simple blocks, so I added a machine-appliqued ink well and quill to bring in some of the Romantic poets;
  • A machine appliqued quote bubble that says “Ciao” to reflect her Italian word of the day habit as well as say ‘goodbye’ since she’s retiring;
  • Two school-related blocks – one that says “From the Class of 2016” and one that includes their school initials.
  • Then I filled in the space between the blocks with scrappy pieced triangles stacked on one another, or FLYING GEESE as their called in quilting circles, another nod to Catcher in the Rye’s duck pond!

    As a final touch, all the participating students signed a piece of fabric which I’m adding to the back of the quilt as a label. What a great group of kids! And what a great teacher. Everyone involved in this project is definitely ‘a class act’!


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