Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The story of Kate's Plaids quilt

This is the story of Kate's Plaids quilt. 
Kate is my co-worker. We live in and work at 2 different offices but in the same department of one company.  Kate is a person I escalate job related issues to when an additional approval is needed or when a particular negotiation needs another's expertise. She's my "go to" person and has been for a few years.

Normally, I have work acquantainces, a professional relationship that once we go our seperate ways, we aren't likely to chat with each other again.  Kate is more than that.  She has become a work friend and confidant. Kate has helped me through personal issues on the job, has been a good ear when I'm babbling on about family and has been a wonderful cheerleader to my quilting (and fitness) efforts.

Kate is, in short, a wonderful person and I've long wanted to tell her how much she is appreciated. I hope I've done that by returning the favor of being a friend, as much as she's wanted me to be, but I also wanted her to have a tangible reminder and thus, the idea of creating a quilt for her was born.

For many months, I pondered what to make her. I thought it would be great to surprise her but I could never quite settle on colors or design. Instead, I asked her. I told her I wanted to make her a quilt and she let me know her color and style preferences. Then it was on!

One night, after a guild meeting, several guild members and I set about to find the perfect fabrics to compliment the pattern I chose, "Plaid Parade" by Jaybird Quilts. Cutting and piecing went together fairly quickly.

I pieced the back to give her two minkee colors instead of just one and since this was to allow for lounging the AC in the summer, I did not include batting. Just the top and the minkee for a soft and lightweight quilt.

Then came the quilting.  What to do, what to do?  I initially thought to quilt in all the negative space but thankfully, common sense stepped in and reminded me I'd lose the specific kind of cuddly feel I wanted out of the minkee if I did that.   Instead, I quilted diamond ropes in the white sashing of the blocks and just an orange peel type of curve in the colored squares.

 I am more proud of how this quilting looks on the back of the quilt than the front.  I love it when a minkee has a quilted design within it!

Finally, I tried a new technique to label it. I took a leftover piece of binding and machine stitched "Handmade by" on one side and my name on the other.  Then I sewed it into the binding.  I like this method a lot. Simple and inexpensive.

There are numerous errors in my quilting (so much so I thought maybe I should rip them out and redo it all). I pushed myself to a perfectionist expectation because I wanted Kate to be blown away but that was (is) just foolish.  I'm not a professional and I don't mark up my quilts to quilt on them (well, maybe for the custom paid quilts). I also free motion everything. My quilting is always tied to my mood, how relaxed or distracted (or not) I am. So, I've had to remind myself a lot during this one why I quilt in the first place. I quilt to provide a gift that brings comfort and I send them with the sentiment to use them and feel the love and happiness that existed in creating them.  So, I sent it on as is. I'm not perfect and I know I will never have a quilt that is either. That's what makes them unique and special.

So, here is Kate's Plaids. I hope she enjoys it and I truly hope she knows, how much she is appreciated every day, even when we haven't chatted in a while. 

And Kate, if you are reading this. Thank you for being you.



Shay said...

What a lovely tribute to your friendship with Kate. I'm sure she is going to love both the quilt and the sentiments that inspired you to make it for her.

PS. The quilt is beautiful Beck.

Kate said...

It's a beautiful quilt. It would be hard not to love it.

Anonymous said...

This comment is from the happy and glowing Kate who is now the proud owner of the Kate's Plaids Quilt. Becky is not only a valued colleague, she is a cherished friend. Our interactions are the bright spots in my work week and over the years I have teasingly asked her to make me a quilt. I was over the moon with excitement when she told me she was actually going to do it! I want to share with you some of the message I sent to Becky upon receiving this extraordinary gift: Becky- Your beautiful quilt- along with the message accompanying it- is so heartfelt and came at a low point when I really needed a smile. You will never know how very much it means to me. You were already an amazing friend and now you are the amazing friend who has made me a quilt. And not just any quilt. You made me the most beautiful quilt in the world- a quilt that was custom-made to my specific tastes and especially intended to make me feel happy and safe. I never really understood how special quilts were until I met you. I think they are a physical manifestation of the "labor of love" concept. They require an enormous amount of patience, time and dedication and they also require a keen and thoughtful insight into the potential quilt recipient. When I am cold or feeling sad, I will wrap myself in my beautiful blue and yellow ocean quilt and not only will I be physically warm- I will also know in my heart that there is at least one person in this world who cared so much about me that she made me this quilt. That, like your friendship, is a priceless gift and one that I will forever treasure. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

SewLindaAnn said...

A beautiful quilt, and a beautiful tribute from one to another. The quilt and the comment from Kate.