Sunday, November 27, 2011

Quilt Quest Redux 11-27-2011

Just when you thought our quilt quest story was over, it found a voice again. Last week, Mike Gordon from the Star Advertiser in Hawaii, contacted some of us to get an update on what happened. He couldn't keep his readers in limbo knowing if Alex received our gift or not. We told him the quest was complete and that Alex received the quilt. Read his article from today's Star Advertiser below.

Big Mahalo to Mike Gordon for a wonderful article and to our friends at for posting it for Alex's fans.

 In case you forgot what Alex's quilt looked like, here are pix of the front and back. Enjoy!

O'Loughlin fans' quilt quest wraps up with a warm note

POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Nov 27, 2011
Courtesy photo

Ellen Swedberg previously met Alex O'Loughlin at a gallery opening in Los Angeles in May. Swedberg came to Hawaii for the Sunset on the Beach premiere of "Hawaii Five-0" in September and hoped to get a quilt she made to the actor.

For nearly a week, the four women worried about what would happen if their quest failed. More than likely there would be tears, frustration and quiet flights back to their mainland homes.
They had come to Hawaii for the Sunset on the Beach premiere of "Hawaii Five-0" in September — a dream come true — but they all agreed they could not leave the islands without having given show star Alex O'Loughlin a handmade quilt.
He was busy, though. The demands of making a TV show kept him on set all day with barely a break. It reduced Ellen Swedberg to tears. She had worked on the quilt for seven months.
"I was a mess," said Swedberg, a 51-year-old government worker from Santa Rosa, Calif.
Swedberg and friends Stacey Jonson of Seattle, Madaline O'Connor of New Jersey and Deb Young of Illinois first met six months earlier on Twitter when they plugged into the show's social-media universe. They talked about everything in their lives, but whenever they talked about "Five-0" the discussion turned to O'Loughlin, the Australian hunk who plays Steve McGarrett.
The 5-by-5-foot quilt that Swedberg created had separate themes on each side. The front was a traditional Hawaiian design while the back contained squares of cloth that illustrated O'Loughlin's acting career.
The work was intense.
CBS representatives said they would accept the quilt on the actor's behalf, but the women resisted that idea. They wanted to see the look on O'Loughlin's face, in part because they had already shown it to him while he walked the red carpet at Sunset on the Beach.
"You made me a quilt?" the actor commented. "That's amazing."
And the women felt a sense of purpose that came from strangers who had heard of their story and stopped them on the street or approached them at restaurants.
"People were commenting the whole trip, which then made it even more important for us to have some closure to the story," said the 45-year-old Jonson.
The day before the end of their trip, the four friends had resigned themselves to failure. They were going sightseeing.
Then they learned that "Five-0" was shooting at Shokudo Japanese Restaurant & Bar on Kapiolani Boulevard. They arrived at Shokudo with nothing to lose.
"Ellen goes right up to the security guard and asks to speak to Alex's personal assistant about giving him a gift," O'Connor said. "He came over and said, ‘You are the girls with the quilt.'"
Better still, they were told the actor knew their story. But the actor's assistant said they would still have to leave it with someone else at the show's production offices — a leap of faith.
"There was something about him that was so genuine that I believed him immediately," Swedberg said. "He said, ‘If you trust me, I will make sure he gets it.'"
It was the end of an emotional week — a wild adventure, Jonson said.
"It kind of was the deep breath at the end of the story," she said.
But it wasn't the end of the story.
A month later, as Jonson watched TV on a Sunday afternoon, her phone buzzed: incoming email. In inboxes across the country, her three friends received the same message.
Jonson stared at the phone and screamed. She jumped off the couch. Her fingers shook but she still managed to dial her friends.
It was a personal email from O'Loughlin.
"Would like to sincerely thank you for the gift."
Mike Gordon is the Star-Advertiser’s film and television writer. Read his Outtakes Online blog at Reach him at 529-4803 or email


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