remembering our angels
by Patricia Belyea
Over five decades ago, Maurine graduated with a home economics degree from the University of Oregon. Her passion was sewing and she loved to teach. When a sewing machine store asked her to teach a quilting class, Maurine figured out how to stitch a quilt sandwich on a domestic sewing machine. So Maurine became a pioneer in freemotion quilting when only hand-stitching was acceptable.
Maurine attended my church and started a quilting group there. When I decided to make a baby quilt for my creativity club, I went to her for some advice. Helpful and generous, Maurine gave me a few hours of her time and a rotary cutter. Once finished with my creation, I hurried back to show Maurine. Maurine did what every encouraging teacher does: she showed incredulity at my beginner project.
It was this gentle woman who sparked my passion for quilting. Over the following six years, Maurine and I shared our lives—spending lovely hours chatting about anything and everything; cleaning Maurine’s busy sewing room; traveling to Quilt National and visiting Nancy Crow’s farm in Ohio; watching Project Runway and only talking during the commercials. It was a friendship filled with fun and love.
Last July Maurine passed from this life and became my angel. I told her husband Ed that instead of driving half an hour to visit, the commute is much shorter now.
We all have someone who has touched our lives specially. Hopefully this person is alive; perhaps a fond memory. All the same, we can thank our lucky stars for the angels who have nudged and nurtured us to become the best we can be.
P.S. Yes, Maurine is Elin Noble’s mother. Elin, internationally renowned for her dyeing expertise, is an artist, author, and natural teacher just like her mom.