Back in the 60’s, Nancy Sinatra, the daughter of song legend Frank Sinatra, recorded a song named, “These Boots Are Made for Walking.” It was actually the only real ‘song hit’ that she made. Now days, everyone is wearing boots and walking everywhere in the world. There are big boots, ankle boots, toeless boots, heelless boots, knee boots, thigh boots, cowboy boots, etc. and the list goes on and on.
I got my first pair of boots in Texas at the age of 50! I joined the Sister City program in Ft. Worth, and went to Trier, Germany with the city officials as an Ambassador of Education. All of us went in full “western dress,” as the Germans thought all Americans dressed like JR on the TV series, “Dallas.” It was hilarious seeing the Mayor and all of us in cowboy boots, cowboy hats, big belts, etc. after seeing most of us in very professional dress. My cowgirl boots were white and I had a beautiful white cowgirl hat. It was like playing “dress-up.”
The Sister City programs are wonderful. We visited the city officials and Sister City members in Germany and then they came over and visited with us. They were so surprised when they came over to see us and we were in professional clothes and everyone else was, too. I got to return to Germany several times with this program, and always stayed with a lovely lady named Agnes, and her mother. Agnes loved my white hat. The last time I was there, I left my hat on the dresser in the bedroom so that she would find it when I was gone. Later, she wrote and told me that she wore it to the bakery to pick up the loaf of bread that they have for breakfast every morning. We have remained friends through all these years.
It was while I was on these overseas trips that I began hand quilting. It was about an eleven hour flight over and back. I took quilt blocks all cut out and hand pieced them on the plane. This was before 9/11, of course.
In about 1989, the Houston International Quilt group, headed up by Karey Bresenham and her cousin, Nancy, organized the first “Quilt Expo” in Europe. There were about ninety of us who flew to Salzburg, Austria to teach classes at this first Exhibit. This is actually when quilting in Europe took off like ‘gangbusters.’ It was attended by ladies who had never seen quilts much less how to make them. It was great fun. I attended all of the Quilt Expos until 2009. My favorite one was when it was held in 1991 in Odense, Denmark, the home of Hans Christian Andersen. I had always loved his stories so it was wonderful seeing his home, etc. The quilters there were awesome.
A funny story about this trip: I was sitting in the hotel lobby in Odense visiting with some of the group of quilters from America. A nice lady was sitting next to me; when I saw her nametag, it was Bonnie. I turned to her and said that my name was Bonnie, too. I had taken little squares of fabric with me to get the group to sign a square for me to make a little memory quilt. It turned out that the lady named Bonnie was “Bonnie Lehman” who started the magazine, “Quilters’ Newsletter!” Another famous quilter in the group was Elly Sienkiewicz, the awesome Baltimore Album quilter. I met her in a park there in Odense one day and asked her to sign one of my little squares. She did, with her beautiful calligraphy handwriting. I treasure having that.
When I returned home to Ft. Worth, I made the memory quilt, and it was featured in the next Houston International Quilt Show. It is pictured here. The ladies that were on the trip enjoyed seeing all of the autographs that I had gotten. Memory quilts are great fun to make!