I taught middle school for a number of years, and I made fast friends with many of the parents of my students. They welcomed me - a Michigander living in the Chicago suburbs - into their community with open arms. I taught and coached their children, and they folded me into their lives. One of these wonderful families asked me to make a black and white and red quilt. (They're Bulls fans if you hadn't guessed.) The Oates family is thoughtful and warm and takes time to sit and chat. When I see them, I feel immediately encouraged, like the world is sunnier than what I had noticed before. They are not just parents or patrons - they are friends. I love how this quilt turned out, and am so very thankful for these lovely people.