Ordinarily I am a pragmatic gal, feet firmly planted. I do not claim to create High Art, I take no sides in the Modern debate and I use fabric from any source that yields what feels like good quality. I do feel a strong drive to get my creative ya-yas out and I do exercise those muscles when I quilt, but I have no illusions about what I produce; DaVinci I ain’t.
Recently I realized I’d forgotten the most basic premise of my craft. I got all caught up in my bees and swaps and quiltalongs, cooing over gorgeous new fabric lines, agonizing over getting things finished by (mostly self-imposed) deadlines, taking classes, and all that jazz. I was on a social networking site one day and an acquaintance posted a photo of her first chemotherapy session. She was all wrapped up, neck to toe, and apparently the nurses had put a heater beneath the blanket to help keep her warm. I made some comment about it looking cozy.
Three days later my tiny mind achieved the basic math:
I make blankets. For fun.
Blankets are for keeping people warm.
I had started this top as part of an Old Red Barn Co quiltalong but I hadn’t finished it. It was humungous and I had a Plan for adding some bits but hadn’t done it yet. It looked right at me and said, in the way our quilts sometimes do, “I’m the one; finish me and make me useful.” I unpicked several blocks to bring it down to lap-sized. Added my extra bits (the smaller plates at the joins) and then bordered, backed, quilted and bound.
I frequently tell non-quilty folks that all quilters give to charity, it’s sort of built-in. Well, I can give a quilt to the hospital to go to complete strangers or I can bypass a piece of that process and give one to a woman who is not quite a stranger and who has an immediate need. Hopefully it will help keep her warm and comfortable during her therapy.
Blankets, after all, are for keeping folks warm. The art and science of making them beautiful is incidental.
Lesson learned, humility regained. For my atonement I have offered up the Waltzing Matilda I’ve been hoarding for ages, using it for the borders and backing. Hopefully it’s soft and lovely enough to make up for my transgression.
The technical details: final size 46 x 67. Large plates approximately 17” across, smaller plates approximately 6” across. Fabrics from stash. Quilted on my DSM using King Tut in a variegated turquoise.
postscript: the recipient loved the quilt, and sent me the most clever card as a thank you - she incorporated pics of the quilt into it! Isn't that neat?