If you are unfortunate enough not to have a million ribbons from your childhood, a basic ribbon looks like this:
note the many purple in my quilt). I have had dozens of these ribbons adorning the walls of my room since I started showing horses in my early teens.
But don't get me wrong, I wasn't always good. Check out this vintage photo of my horse, Barney, & me (left) with my friend Tara & Doc circa 1995. Believe it or not, Tara was the height of style at that time. Me & Barn...not so much. (And Barney is a respectable horse name! His full name was "Condon's Bar Knot")
But I had lessons (thanks mum & dad!) and I got better. Much better. I won saddles, glasses, belt buckles, crystal, silver stirrups, and many, many ribbons. I started stapling the ribbons to the wall and a few turned into many. I ended up having 2 1/2 walls covered in ribbons with highpoint neck sashes hanging from the ceiling. I LOVED it.
Tolerant parents meant this montage to my horsey accomplishments remained through college, living in Seattle, my first trip to Berlin as an expat, coming back home & getting married, and nearly a year into my second stint as an expat. (yeah, they're great). Finally - they had enough of one room being dedicated the "Erin/Ribbon Room". They re-decorated. But what to do with my boxes of ribbons?
Mum had a genius idea. Completely unbeknownst to me, she went to work on a quilt. She had the idea, and the help of a wonderful sister who could help make it happen. When I did finally recieive the quilt, one of my first questions was - "You sewed this!?" She did. AND she ironed! These are two things, my mum just doesn't (usually) do.
It took two trips to California, working for 5 days, one Aunt Sue, only one major argument (a huge accomplishment in my eyes), a lifetime of ironing, and
|Mum at work|
|Literally hundreds of ribbons cut, ironed, and stitched together|
|Mum knew just how she wanted it to look|
|Serious color-coordinating. My mum worked hard to maintain the writing which I am so thankful for. Each show brings back some wonderful memories.|
|Center Square, complete with pics of my boys: Houston & Barney|
|The finished quilt is massive!|
"Erin Kelsey Florence Ball Porter
& Condon's Bar Knot
& Houston Texas
at Kelsey Greens Farm"
|Kelsey Greens Farm|
|My AMAZING mum & the Quilt|
This is one of the best gifts I've ever received. It always felt great going home & seeing my room awash in color from the multitude of ribbons plastering the wall. But it could never be permanent. I knew that someday, they would want their room back and all these web covered ribbons would need a place to go. Now I can take them with me, wherever home is. It can be a legacy of all that my boys & I accomplished and more. The ribbons are now more then just markers of placings, they have been given the additional attention of being crafted into a piece of pure, loving art . More than a quilt made of ribbons, this is our Quilt of Love.
For all the pictures of the epic quilt making, check out the slideshow.