78'' by 62.5''

Finally, I can share this quilt with you. A year ago one of our awesome preschool teachers retired. She is a quilter and I offered to make a quilt for her. Alas, the Preschool Board had other plans. But a few months later they took me up on my offer after the other preschool teacher announced her retirement. She was presented with the quilt at the end of year party last week.

This quilt contains 120 signature blocks from present and former students. A simple layout, reminiscent of Plain Spoken by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr, is rounded out with Modern Solids II from Alissa Haight Carlton. The quilting is a very simple grid, 1/4'' from each seam line. I went with a white Aurifil thread so as not to take away from all the colourful signatures.

To get all the signatures we held two open houses at the preschool. Mailouts went to the local elementary, junior high, and high schools. Notices sent to the current preschool students. I spent some time cutting down Kona white into two sizes of rectangles. My girls helped me gather the fabric markers. Kids showed up, teenagers arrived, parents exclaimed.

To be honest, I'd seen previous teacher's gifts and wondered why people went to all that effort of making them a quilt. Sure, I've given many, many quilts as gifts and I know the value of the gift - to give and receive. But I couldn't fathom getting that excited by a signature quilt.

Was I ever wrong!

Let me tell you, it was actually pretty fun to do this! Seeing all the kids so excited to contribute, talking to the parents thrilled at being able to say thank-you for a good start to their kid's education, and getting pretty jazzed when putting the final quilt together. Not once did it feel like drudgery or did I ask myself what I got myself into. And I'm thrilled at the final result. I think our teacher is as well.

(And who could resist a buggy backing fabric? It was the perfect choice to remind us all of the mosquitoes keeping us company at the park after school everyday. Except these ones don't bite!)