Saturday, September 1, 2012

Allison's Umbrellas

When I decided to make Allison a quilt for her high school graduation, I thought about who she is and how I could best represent her in fabric. I also wanted to honor her Seattle roots. I pored through quilting books and browsed quilt shops, but nothing really grabbed me. It was evident that Allison’s quilt was going to be another Lyrel original. With the help of Pam at Quiltworks Northwest in Bellevue and Wendy at Material Girls Quilt Boutique in La Plata, I was able to pull together my various scraps of ideas into a cohesive pattern that tells the story of my girl. In the process, I also pulled together the two cities that I have been living in.

Allison’s Umbrellas is based on the theme of using eight-sectioned umbrellas as the basis of telling the story. Although Seattle natives rarely use umbrellas, the image works. The spotted blue and gray fabric (which I found in Maryland) signifies the raindrops. The gray field behind the umbrellas signifies our constant gray skies. I don’t want to sound dreary, but that’s the reality of weather in the Northwest through much of the year.

The twelve umbrellas each have a different theme: drama (with pictures describing the titles of some of the plays Allison has been in),


family (I won't divulge these, but Allison knows what represents who),


Maryland and DC (with fabrics found in Washington),

school (her high school mascot was the Totems; she was very active in Club Operation Smile),


Sammamish/Santa Clara,



Washington State,

and Coldstone (her employer).

The backing is made of solid dark blue minky fabric (found in Maryland). Allison has asked me for years to make her a minky quilt. This was a concession to her. If you’ve never felt it, suffice it to say that it’s the softest fabric ever made. Period.

The quilt had been put aside when I left Maryland in April because the sewing machine was also left there. I didn’t rush into working on it when I returned in July because of the chaos of the move and how warm the quilt would make me while I was working on it. Last weekend, Peter asked me to finish it by this weekend so Charles could take it to Allison. I finished it last night.


  1. What a treasure to have.. How convenient that Santa Clara is red and black as well! Was that part of the decision making?? I really love the "local" fabrics.. Well done, Lyrel! XOXO

    1. Technically, Santa Clara is red and white, but they often pair those up with black. I was relieved that she didn't chose the brown and white school. That would have made my job far more difficult! If she had chosen the red and gray school, it would have been a cinch as I already have preprinted fabrics from there.

  2. I didn't see any doctors, casts, x-rays, or broken bones. It's a nice job, but I think it's incomplete.

    1. I actually bought fabric that has all that on it, but I couldn't fit it into a theme. I suppose I could have made an entire umbrella on Allison's Injuries, but I was trying to keep a positive perspective on her life.