Congratulations June Member of the Month, Laura Hamilton!
Keep reading for Laura's inspirational, heart-felt and informational story!
“My name is Laura Taivalkoski Hamilton. I began quilting in 1992 when I had repaired a cheap, commercially made quilt once too many times and decided that I could do a much better job. Before I go on, I have to back up because until then, I was an avid counted cross stitcher; I did crewel embroidery, needlepoint, knitting, crochet, and anything that didn’t involve a sewing machine. In 1987, I lost the vision in my left eye as the result of retinal damage that was caused during an assault at age 14. Undetected and untreatable, the scar tissue that was left behind began to shrink and within two months I went from 20/15 vision to seeing only light and dark. I had other eye issues that had caused my brain to only use my left eye and suddenly vision was very difficult. Surgery was able to restore vision in that eye, but it is distorted and obscured. It took 5 years to relearn to see using my right eye, but working on those hand embroidery type projects was no longer something I was able to do.
Determined to make my first quilt, I found a book called “Learn to Make a Quilt” by Leisure Arts that is actually still in print today! I didn’t know there were such things as quilt shops or quilting guilds, just that it was a traditional form of the needle arts that was typically handed down mother to daughter. My mother specialized in fine tailoring and had no interest in a quilt unless it was given as a gift!! LOL!! I can honestly say that clothing is not my cup of tea either. : ) I picked that quilt because it was a sampler quilt and had a variety of blocks, building from easy to more difficult and it would give me an idea of what I liked and didn’t once I finished. I didn’t once even consider having it quilted professionally as I wanted to know if I liked that part or not. I learned that I loved the whole process, machine piecing, appliqué by machine or by hand, planning the actual quilting, quilting by hand and by machine, and even find the binding a satisfying process. I have learned to make nice labels that are designed custom for each quilt and nearly all of my quilts have been given as gifts or donated.
Late last year, I was honored to coordinate a Nation-Wide collection of quilts to donate to a specific NICU in the name of a lady that is our guild president. She has worked tirelessly to make the group accessible, safe, and a place where we can get opinions, celebrate our triumphs, and cry on each others shoulders. Her son spent 5 weeks in the NICU and was nearing his 1 year birthday. I told the ladies that if they filled my trunk up with quilts, I would drive them up to her, a 5 hour drive. Well guess what? They did. I took 86 quilts up to her and with the help of my friends that were in on it, we were able to make sure she was home and waiting on her surprise. We drove them over to the NICU after she took the gravity of the outpouring from the group and we were able to present them in person. As it turns out, the NICU was running short and knowing that there were several multiple births coming before Christmas, were afraid that they’d run out. It seems that people focus on gifts for family and friends in December and the donations of quilts to those in need drop dramatically. Receiving 86 quilts was absolutely appreciated and one of the most gratifying projects I have been involved with.
What I have taken away from my experience with quilts is how much they enrich the life of the person who receives it. It is a comfort, it is beautiful, and it makes a statement like no other gift could. A quilt can make a difference in a premature baby’s survival and it can warm a cancer ravished body. A quilt says “I care about you.” A quilt makes a house a home. A quilt is a vehicle for an artist to create. There is no other single craft that can be described so universally as a quilt. I am proud to call myself a quilting artist.”
Congratulations Laura, from everyone at Quilter's Club of America!
Wow, Laura, I'm in awe! Congratulations on being selected as July Member of the Month!
Congratulations Laura. You definitely deserve this recognition.
Congrats on be July member of the month good luck in all that you do Happy
Congrads Laura!!!!! great job and wow I'm impressed too
Ok wonders if Judy is the voice in my head.....umm have to ask that voice what her name is lol
I'm a material girl....Want to see my fabric collection?
First, thank you for selecting me as your member of the month. I am absolutely honored. I never dreamed that you would pick me, but thank you again!
Today I received my gift box and I have to say, Wow! Another thank you! Lots of great tools and patterns and tips to take me to the next level! Wonderful!
This is an awesome group and I hope that I can contribute in some small way. I am speechless which is something rare for me!
Happy quilting everyone!
What a wonderful and worthy cause to donate
to. NICUs are near and dear to my heart, so thank you so much and
again, congratulations on the well-deserved recognition.
T Lynn - SW Idaho
Life is like a quilt...bits & pieces, joy & sorrow, stitched with love
Congratulations Laura! You are an inspiration. I love your story. You are in a great group - the MOMs.
WOW!! You are truly inspiring. I only hope to make such a positive impact on others.
congratulations laura, gini
gini in north idaho
congratulations. You are truly an inspiration. Keep up the good works. Thank you for sharing your story.
Congratulations!!!!!!! In giving we always recieve 10 fold......... Enjoy your goodies :-)
You have all been so kind and I thank you for such a wonderful gift by selecting me as your July Member of the Month. Today I take my quilts in to the State Fair and I hope that I'm judged to be worthy of that selection. I just this morning put the finishing touches on a quilt that I have worked on for 3 years and will be one that is going. It is a Lori Smith design with a few border modifications:
I quilted it myself on my long arm, using 2600 yards of thread. Here is a close up of my work:
This is absolutely my best work to date (and this is probably my worst section that I'm showing!) and I am so excited that I actually made this. The reason it took 3 years is because this is what I worked on when I was riding in the car, waiting for Doctors, or visiting relatives. This is what one can accomplish by taking those 10 minutes here, 30 min there that you would have been sitting and doing nothing. All those little drips and drabs add up over time and instead of lost time, you have something to show for it! It got to be a disappointment when I didn't have to wait for the Doctor as I came to look forward to the 10 or 15 minutes I could sit and focus on nothing but my quilt block.
PS I have a new project for those take alongs from the March/April 2009 For the Love of Quilting magazine called "Daisy Dance." I now have 5 appliqued blocks finished of 20 that I need. Since each block is much simpler, Daisy Dance should not take nearly as long to finish...unless, of course, I decide to embellish it with a fancier border or something crazy like that!
Good luck to all of you with what ever is your passion and dream!
You have created a spectacular work of art. Absolutely breath-taking and a sure-fire winner.