Who are Lallyquilters - 
and what is Scottish Weekend 2000!!!???

The "Lallyquilters" group began in late summer of 1999. As Niki recalls it: 

Somebody asked for a quilt pattern on the board.  It made me think about doing a quilt "block swap" with all of the blocks somehow being based on the books.  I posted and told interested hosers to e-mail me, and that is how we got started.  Once we had our little group, I sent an e-mail explaining how everything would work and we went from there.  We have ladies from all over the US and one from Canada participating. We have such a good time exchanging e-mail and chatting, and of course doing our blocks and sharing ideas, we decided it would be fun to stay together as a group after our project was finished and do more projects. 

We decided our first project would be a "MacHoser Friendship Quilt". Each of the 25 or so ladies in the group made 12 blocks to exchange with other ladies so they could each put together their quilt. Many of the ladies made an extra block or two to be made into a quilt and pillow for Diana. The ladies sent in money, I purchased fabric, and my mom Linda and I put the quilt together. It turned out beautifully. 

However, somewhere along the way we were in the process of getting the quilt squares exchanged when Nancy decided she wanted to attend the Scottish Weekend 2000 in Moultrie, Georgia, where Diana was being presented with an award. Nancy thought it would be fun to give Diana the quilt while she was there.

Never expecting anything more than just meeting with DG and giving her the quilt, the next thing you know the LOL Quilters are on the program and making the presentation in front of 300+ people!  Well, that is, NANCY is making the presentation in front of over 300 people! *g*

Perhaps it’s best if I let Nancy tell you in her own trademark style *g*:

My friend Mary (now Lady Mary of LOL *g*) was planning to go to Moultrie for the Scottish Weekend 2000, as she has been a member of the Family Tree group for a long time. I kinda made wanting-to-go noises, because I really wanted to just meet Diana Gabaldon, and Mary wanted company for the drive. Then Niki and I were chatting one night, and we kinda tossed around the idea of how cool it would be to be able to present the quilt at this event. Dame Judie then helped me to get in contact with Lady Beth and to get a ticket! Next thing you know, I’M GOING!

The downside was that Niki and her wonderful mother had very little time to get the quilt quilted ..... fortunately for me, Niki is a dear sweet lass, and has forgiven Lady Nancy (fingers crossed, eyes cast upwards!!). Niki's mother is a saint and a very talented lady!!!!! It came out on time and is beautiful!!! That is no overstatement, quite literally it is a work of art!!!! 

But I digress …. 

We arrived in Valdosta, Georgia, on Friday. Lady Mary has friends there and we were able to spend the night with the most gracious couple of people!!! Lovely folks!!!! I don't think a more comfortable night is possible, and a more gracious welcome either! Thank you to the Barnettes.

There was a Ceilidh that night that Lady Mary and I attended. I met the lovely Lady Beth, who was the brains behind Scottish Weekend 2000 (and is also a long-time friend of McFreditor, who introduced her to us, and she’s also now a Lady of Lallybroch *g*), and as I was going to step outside to kill myself (I really AM going to quit smoking) there was Diana sitting there at her table!!!!  All excited I was!!!!! So I said hello and pleased to meet you, and gotta go (so she could eat in peace). 

Then I went outside and hyperventilated. After taking time to compose myself I went inside, sat down and grinned like a fiend!!!! I had been so afraid she wouldn't be able to make it at the last minute or something. So things were looking good.

Jump to Saturday morning. Beth had told me to be ready at 12:45 p.m. and I was!

Nancy being piped in - you can just see part of her head - 
carrying the box that has the quilt in it. 

Just prior to my presentation, Diana had given a wee talk about how everyone mispronounces her name. She said it right twice (two different ways, mind you) and then gave about six different commonly mispronounced versions! Then it was my turn at bat ..... and I was nervous anyway, had to negotiate between wires and displays and I was concentrating on holding up the kilt Mary had lent me, and although Mary is a wee tiny thing, I am not exactly curvy in the hip department ... I was hiking it up routinely (verra distracting) … so I get up there and look at the speech and think OMG!!!!!! I can't say her name!!!!!!! I am giving her a quilt, and I’ve got her name written here at least 3 times and I can't say her name!!!!!! 

I gamely started my speech and I got to the first Diana “Gabaldon”, and I thought I was talking quietly to myself (forgetting about the microphone) and said, "I ain't even going there” and 300 people laughed, so I carried on and thankfully nobody was insulted!!! 

Here is the speech I wrote with the help of Ladies Valerie, CF, Niki, Judie and Mary (Mary kept insisting I breathe), written on cards at the Pizza Hut over a Supreme pan pizza, which I prayed would remain in the stomach cause I was nervous .... but Mary insisted I eat, and she is generally right:


Hello my name is Nancy Varn and I am pleased to be here today as a representative of The Ladies Of Lallybroch.

Lallybroch is a special place. The focus of our group is the Outlander series written by the author we are all honoring today, Diana Gabaldon.

Ms. Gabaldon's work has inspired a great many like-minded people to take an interest in the truly amazing history of Scotland.  Many wonderfully inspiring friendships have come of association with this amazing group, much information has been learned and shared as well.

The Lallyquilters' Guild is one of the many activities offered to the membership at Lallybroch. Lady Nikole Gill kindly organized those members who have an interest in quilting, to form the cyber-space equivalent to the quilters circles of the past. Let me assure you all that a more wonderful experience of friends gathering to create a quilt together, is simply not possible. So to honor the lady…


And then I gave up and said, “Diana, it’s your box, come open it.”  And so Diana hustled up to the box and fiddled with the latches. (Upon reflection, I hope she had no trouble getting the chest home on the plane!!) I also know that Diana holds a Degree as a doctor, I should have addressed her as Dr. Diana, she certainly earned it...but my mind is failing me!!!


There's Nancy, this time hiding behind the microphone *g*,
and Diana opening the quilt box.

Diana got those latches open and lifted the lid!!!!  I had Lady Jo Woods’ pillow on top...and she was pleased as can be with it...her whole face smiled!!! I had a lavender bud sachet in the pillow, because I bought a bunch of lavender buds for another purpose (another story there), but anyway no heather buds and the box smelled like a box so I thought some scent would be a plus! 

Well, now we can see a bit more of Nancy, and her kilt hasn't
even fallen off yet. *g*  Open that quilt, ladies. 

Anyway, she removed the pillow and then saw the quilt. She said “Oh my God”, I'm sure of it. Being she doesn't use the Lord’s name in vain, I took this to be a prayer!! She was so moved, her voice cracked, and trust me here, I heard Diana speak a good bit and it doesn't crack or even wobble - she was deeply touched. Diana's husband was unavailable so we were *forced* to hold it up, and we are both height deficient, but the murmurs, exclamations and applause were not for my great speech or our lack of height - this is one gorgeous quilt, all the Lallyquilters should be so proud!!!!! 

This is another time when Jamie would come in handy. 
Besides the usual, ya ken? *g*

Diana was anxious to hear of the quilters and all of that and so we agreed to try to talk at 3:30 p.m. when her book signing was over. I arrived and we had a lovely chat, she is very gracious. I told her how much fun we had making the quilt, and about the friendships formed during the project.  I tried to explain how much her books mean to all of us, and how much we appreciate her work.  Mostly, I tried to convey how the magic of her novels has brought a group of wonderful people together, and there’s no way we could thank her enough for that.

She inquired after Dame Judie's health and welfare and I replied that she was as wonderful as ever, and a blessing to me (very truthful here ... Judie has helped me many times, I am a walking poster child for Murphy’s Law). Dame Judie had also put together a wonderful color book of all the bios for the Lallyquilters!!!! Diana was very interested in this, and must have begun reading it, because I was asked about our next project, and I told her all about the quilted tote bag project, and she seemed most excited, and I told her we would LOVE to make one for her.

Diana Gabaldon is a truly gracious lady, a pleasure to chat with, and SHE LOVED THE QUILT!!!!!

Lady Anna and her Dear Husband got some photos of the group of us all before it began to rain too hard for any further notions along those lines, and Diana then said she would bring the Quilt for pictures that night at the Ceilidh, so I was able to get photos of her standing in front of the quilt finally that night!!! WOW!!!!! 

Now, doesn't Diana look like a happy camp- ... er ... hoser? :-)

The quilt was a big hit with all the attendees at the Ceilidh!!!!! I did my very best to be as gracious as Diana Gabaldon, and hope I was equal to the task as many people were very interested in the Lallyquilters and Ladies Of Lallybroch!!!! What a pleasure though to meet so many lovers of The Outlander series!!! 

Lady Beth Gay is a marvel at organization!!!!! She is also a dear lady, very patient, kind, and admired by all I spoke to at the event!!!! Applause to Lady Beth!!!!!! The festivities were perfectly arranged, and the setting gorgeous!!!!! I thank her most sincerely for allowing the Lallyquilters to be a part of this event!!!!!!!!

Click here to watch the Video

(L-R) Ladies Beth and Nancy - couple of cuties!

I gotta say the Bonny Knees contest was about the funniest thing!!!!!! I included a picture of Diana feeling up the knees of a Mr. Weems (a Scottish bookseller) and the lass next to Diana Gabaldon is Mrs. Weems ..... ain't it a great bit of luck the lass knows her Dear Husband’s knees!!!! Mr. Weems won the bonny knees contest and I have included a picture of the lovely cypress knee he got as a prize!!! 

Lady Beth (pointing), Judges Weems and Gabaldon (seated).

DG checking what a Scotsman has under his kilt -
hopefully some bonny knees!

Mr. Weems also pronounced Diana's name right in the next presentation, a fact for which I wanted to kick him in the bonny knees .... heheheee!!!! I still would mess it up ... but thankfully ... Diana said to just call her Diana.

Diana, Mr. Weems, Bonny Knees Winner, and Mrs. Weems.
Do you think it was rigged? :-)

A bit of further truthfulness here .... I was so nervous because all of the ladies involved did such a wonderful job, and I mean that so sincerely, that I wanted my presentation to be perfect. I felt so honored and lucky to be the Lady doing the giving to Diana Gabaldon, but I felt all my fellow quilters, and the LOL as a whole there with me, and I wanted to be worthy of the honor. I am no public speaker, besides being no writer of speeches or anything else (so this isn't likely to be anything extraordinary either), but I gotta say with this quilt, if I had just said, “Have a nice day,” Diana would have had to have been impressed. And since I didn't say anything wonderful, and I know she was so touched, moved and pleased, it was indeed the quilt that affected her so much! Trust me on this ladies, Diana Gabaldon is very touched by this gift! ~ Nancy Varn

Having seen a video of the event, I can honestly say that Nancy did a great job with the presentation. She was funny and sweet and did herself and the Lallyquilters proud! I was also honored that Diana thought enough of the quilt to be excited about the idea of a tote bag - which will certainly be forthcoming!!! 

Congratulations, Lallyquilters on a job well done. And thank you, Nancy, for the time and effort you put into such a nice presentation. LOL rules! ~ Niki Gill

The finished quilt. - Well done, Lallyquilters!
(click on the quilt to see a larger photo)

This is what Diana Gabaldon, Herself, posted on the LOL Social Board about the quilt:


Re: Moultrie!
Monday, 28-Feb-2000 12:00:57 writes:

    Dear Lallyquilters--

    Just wanted to pop by in person to RAVE and carry on about what a wonderful thing your beautiful quilt is! I was _so_ moved by it--to say nothing of flabbergasted by its sudden appearance in Moultrie--I just can't tell you.

    It's one of the most wonderful things I've ever seen, and I can't thank Mary and Nancy enough for bringing it, or y'all for making it.

    Thanks SO much! 


    Diana Gabaldon


For the record, the Lallyquilters for this project were:

Adele E, Amy H, Bev F, Catherine F, Cheri H, Christina S, Daintry, Deb M, Eponine, Miss Helen, Kathleen C, Kell, Lady Khelli, Kristi, LisaB, Lori F, Lady Lott, Nancy, Niki, Lady Shamie, Sharon M, Stacy G, Sues, Valerie L, and Niki's mom, Linda, who did all the machine quilting!  And Jo W, who made the pillow.  Well done, ladies - you rule!

Read more about The Scottish Weekend 2000

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