aswim in knits

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

help! calling all creative sorts!

Thanks for your comments on yesterday's post about the how and the why of the ways in which we present ourselves online. Elisa put it nicely:
"reading blogs takes time, so there needs to be something compelling in the blog to keep us coming back. People who are real, and who post about their real lives, are much more compelling than those who stick to knitting, only knitting, just the knitting."

So, more on the coaching, sort of ...

This is G. She and I joined the team the same year, G. as a brand-new coach and me as a 10 year old swimmer.

Over the past two decades, G. has become not just my coach, but also a friend, a mentor, a sounding board and confidante, and the dispenser of sage advice and the occasional much-needed kick in the ass.

In one month, she will turn 50. G. is creative, and perhaps even a bit sentimental. She definitely appreciates the time and the thought that go into special gifts and recognitions. When her daughter graduated from high school she commissioned a friend of mine to make this quilt with photos and memories from her daughter's years on our team.

So, I'd like to do something special for her 50th birthday, which happens to coincide with her 20th anniversary of coaching. I'd also like to get our swimmers and other coaches (and perhaps even our alumni swimmers) involved.

• • • HELP! • • •

Here's where I need your help coming up with ideas! I can sew, I can do basic quilting, and I'm fairly handy with paper (I designed and made custom invitations for our wedding!). And of course I can knit and spin.

I would love in some way to incorporate the words of our swimmers, since that's sort of a team tradition. Our athletes are all ages, from elementary school through high school. I was thinking of asking them to respond to one or more of the following prompts:
  • why G. is a good coach
  • what you have learned from G.
  • an adjective to describe her, and why
  • a memory you have of a team activity that involves her
  • something special or unique about G.
I can then work some of those words into whatever I do. I'm leaning towards something quilt-y, but I'm not sure what. Probably not in the team colors, which are bright pink, white, and royal blue -- all of already us have so much in those colors, and they're not really colors that she would choose for her own style.

Oh, one more thing ... our swimmers' suits are all decorated with handsewn sequins, rhinestones, and beads, so a small amount of embellishment like that would make any quilt a "synchro" quilt.

Any ideas? Help me brainstorm in the comments!

P.S. This is me today, at the same age as G. was when I met her. I've learned so much from her in the past twenty years, and I only hope that someday I can return that favor to someone else.

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  • What about a photo album with one page per contributor - letters, pictures, answers to the questions you raised, etc? You could quilt a cover?

    OR, what about a quilt square per person? They write on their square in washable fabric pen and someone (you? a team?) embroider over it. Then each person has a square they've made.

    That's what I've got...

    By Blogger wenders, at 5:09 PM  

  • Did you ever see Stepmom? The Susan Sarandon character makes her kids a memory quilt, which includes photos on cloth. I completely forget how she manages to do this, but I think it's fairly easy to do these days. She also used meaningful pieces of cloth, like a square from their favorite baby blanket, from their favorite jeans when they were six, like that.

    For her wedding a friend of mine encouraged people to contribute to her wedding scrapbook. You could do a page with text, photos, collage, pretty much anything you could do in (mostly) two dimensions. (I just did text. Very boring. But at least I did it in her wedding colors.) So there's another idea.

    With either of these you could give people finite dimensions (one 10x10 square, one 8.5x11 page, etc.) and let them run with it.

    By Blogger Lucia, at 5:14 PM  

  • Geez, two minds with two identical thoughts. Never let it be said that I am original or unpredictable.

    By Blogger Lucia, at 5:16 PM  

  • i remember that quilt in stepmom. that scene made me cry.

    By Anonymous maryse, at 5:47 PM  

  • I can make things, but am so bad with creative ideas! It's very easy to print pictures/handwriting onto fabric though with iron on sheets and special fabric for printing. Sounds like you are a very good friend to tackle this project!!!

    By Anonymous Pat, at 6:20 PM  

  • Having the girls respond to the questions you posted is a great idea.

    You can then take their comments and use them to caption pictures that seem to embody the comment, then use iron on/transfer paper (or some such something that will be permanent) and then transfer to the fabric you'd like to use, get your quilting mojo on, and there you go!

    And what a great way to honor such a terrific mentor!

    By Anonymous elisa, at 7:52 PM  

  • I like the idea of a quilt made from written out quotes or pictures.

    By Blogger Chris, at 8:18 PM  

  • I like what ELisa proposed.

    By Blogger Laurie, at 8:24 PM  

  • I'm a fan of the scrapbook idea. Go buy a scrapbook and hand out pages to everyone to complete as they'd like. This takes the 'crafting' onus off of you and allows everyone to express themselves and their own feelings on G.

    You can focus on creating the cover for it.

    By Blogger Kat, at 3:05 PM  

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