I have been malingering over my Tony Danza quilt for quilt a while now. The ladies at the shop never did fully believe that it would ever see the light of day, but I was sure it could happen. I took my fabrics to Palm Springs earlier this year and cut out all my teensy little squares, and when both Heather Ross and Denyse Schmidt got out their camera phones and took pictures of my work-in-progress I darn near peed my pants and died a little right there, I was so excited.
But when I got home from California, there was a book to write and kids to wrangle and a house to move into, things that had hard and firm deadlines. And poor Tony got pushed to the back of the Future Quilt Projects That Have Been Cut But Not Sewn Just Yet shelf. Yes, I have such a shelf. You’re saying you don’t? Fibber.
And then on Twitter this week, I noticed some hash tags referencing Ron Swanson, and wondered what THAT was all about. So I followed the links back to Happy Zombie, one of the funniest ladies in my Twitter stream, and saw that she was working on a Ron Swanson-along:
Image via Happy Zombie
Isn’t it magical? Also: she totally beat me to the punch on the whimsical portrait quilt thing. And it’s awesome. Super motivating to see a finished project that’s along the same lines as something you’ve envisioned–makes you realize it CAN be done!
Then, today, as if the universe is conspiring against me, this arrived in the mail:
He’s coming!! Tony Danza is COMING! A dear friend of mine, Kim, went for a trip to North Carolina recently (I swear this is relevant and I’ll totally get to the point in just a second). Along the way, she stopped at a local book store and got me a copy of Tony Danza’s new book:
Yes, his book. It’s about how he spent a year teaching drama in high school, and it’s actually really good, especially if you’ve ever taught in any capacity. Kim saw it and thought immediately of me, and asked the shop owner if she could bring it back for me to read. We all laughed and have been joking at the shop that if I could finish the quilt in time, we could tell Tony’s People about it and have them arrange for him to come visit the quilt, like an in-store appearance. We could do a book signing and everything, we said.
And now he’s totally going to be in Atlanta ANYWAY! Which gives me a deadline: Tony’s event is Saturday, November 17 at 8 pm. I have until then to get this quilt put together and ready to display so I can call His People and ask them to send him on over. Can we even talk about how awesome it would be if he would AUTOGRAPH IT??? I can hardly stand it.
So today, the Ready To Be Pieced bag came back out, and I’m working on mocking up the layout:
All the pixellated bits are pre-cut and ready to sew, although I have been fiddling a bit with the HST bits to get the shading just right. Monica’s quilt makes me think it won’t matter as much as I think it will, and since that’s been a big part of what was slowing me down, I expect I’ll ease up on myself some as I get to really sewing. Having been watching Flossie’s progress on her Liberty postage stamp quilt (and knowing that not only did I have Tony to get to, but also my pink-and-orange postage stamp quilt that turned into TWO MATCHING quilts now that the littler girls share a room), I feel emboldened by the Interwebs at large to finally sink my teeth into this project where I have possibly bitten off more than I can chew. It’s a pretty big undertaking, but I think I’m hoping that it will be SO COOL that I won’t even notice later. The text I’m expecting to hand-applique in place, after all the piecing is done–and if I can work it right, will have solid-ish sections of fabric beneath the lettering to save me a smidgen of work. I’m still looking for the perfect 80s font to reference the title card on the show, so if you have suggestions, I’d love to hear them.*
And AUTOGRAPHED??? I think we need to start a Twitter campaign to have Tony come by Whipstitch and visit the quilt, do a photo op, maybe a book signing. And a QUILT signing. I mean, he’s going to be here already, right? I smell #tonydanzaquilt , y’all. Somebody start a countdown clock, because this baby’s about to ROLL.
*I suppose at some point someone will ask so I’ll go ahead and share this now: I didn’t really watch the show as a kid. I’ve seen episodes, naturally, and was particularly fond of that one where Mona comes home from a date and is worried she’s lost the antique/heirloom brooch she was wearing on the front of her sweater, searches all over for it, and then Jonathan finds it–on her back. Oooooh!! says the audience. But I wasn’t permitted to watch TV on week nights growing up, so I’m not really making this quilt because I’m a dedicated fan of 80s sitcom television. The quilt grew out of the Power Phrases I use in Stitch by Stitch and in my classes, where I tell students, “YOU’RE the Boss! Not the machine, not Tony, not Angela, YOU.” I always thought it would be fun to have a quilted image of Tony re-iterating that from the classroom wall, like a friendly and familiar childhood companion who is there to ease them through the transition of learning a new and sometimes intimidating skill. So, this book of his is really a wild coincidence, and adds a Whole ‘Nother Level to the quilt. (Tony, if you’re reading this, Whipstitch does not want to pigeon-hole you as an 80s TV star. We want to embrace you as a totem for lifelong learning. Come visit! We’re friendly!!)