Friday, November 16, 2018

Sunshine and Silver Linings

Last November, as soon as Gautam and Kim shared the news of their pregnancy, my mind started thinking of a baby quilt.

Will it be for a boy or a girl? What pattern will I choose? What theme would they choose for their baby's room?

All I knew, I wanted this quilt to be very special. I wanted this quilt to be an heirloom. It was going to be hand quilted. It had to be soft and cozy for mother and child. Yes, I wanted it to be big enough so  both parents can use it and snuggle in with baby. The baby would be able to use the quilt for couple of years before growing out.

I went straight to work, looked for any and all of my husband's shirts I could find in my stash. All I could find were white-ish shirts. My husband wears very few colors.  The fabrics had to come from washed and worn old clothing. It was very common in India to make baby quilts from used clothing  lined with used clothing so they are washable. As I was collecting his shirt, I thought - Why not add grandpa Thomas's shirts too?  I got on the phone and requested few of his shirts for the mix.

Before leaving for India in January, I had everything I needed to make a quilt, except for accent colors. During the first half of  2018, I was also quite busy traveling and teaching. The quilt had to wait. I had a window of later half of May and entire June to make a baby quilt. How difficult can that be? I deconstructed the shirts and left them in a box.

Time passed quickly, month of May rolled in, the fabrics were still in the tub! In the beginning of the month, I had to travel again for three different workshops and couple of presentations in Seattle area.
That's when I panicked.

The best thing happened when I was in Seattle. My son asked me if I could fix one of his ripped shirts. I looked at the shirt with a L shaped whole at least 2" long. Oh darn!
In past I had asked Kim to save all Gautam's shirts for a quilt. She right away suggested that I should take that shirt home. Although she had no idea I was cooking up a quilt in my head. I happily accepted the offer. I had just hit the jackpot! I got to add a "papa" shirt in the mix!

When I came back home, all I knew was I was going to use them with bunch of blues. We were having a grandson! Kim wanted fluffy clouds and stars in baby's room with everything else as a clean canvas (not too many colors) because there will be plenty colors with additions of toys, books, and other things once the baby was here.

Start of the Process

On 21st May, I started the process. With time constraint in mind, I thought a simple quilt will be nice. After all that is what I make - Simple quilts. The question was how to fit the clouds and stars theme in my quilt. Did I need to do it? I couldn't see myself making a representational quilt. I heard my daughter's voice in my head. "Make what you like" an advise I often give my own students. It is an often forgotten voice when we make something for someone else.

I didn't need to worry what they would like. As long as I love making it, the end result will be beautiful and giving that with whole heart was going to be enough.

So I let loose and trusted that anything I made will be perfect for this little guy.

Moving on from there was easy. I cut pieces and pieced them together into strips.

Then arranged them on the design wall in few different ways.

When I arranged the strips in next arrangement, I knew that was the way I wanted to go.

I kept sewing patches into strips. It took few days and the strips were overflowing. Pretty soon I ran out of the design wall. The quilt had to be good lap size so Kim and the baby could cozy up together.

It took me five weeks to complete the quilt. I took it with me in July before his birth and gifted it to my son and daughter in law. The quilt contains three shirts of grandpa Thomas and many of my husband.

Kai's Quilt - Sunshine and Silver Linings

It has got Seattle's days and nights and fluffy clouds as well as water logged clouds.

It has built in dappled sunlight and mix of rain and frost.

If you have ever lived in Seattle, you know you could experience all the elements of weather in one day.

The quilt has lovely, soft curved, uneven edges..bound with what else but all of the shirts!

I used up most of the leftover material from shirts to make the backing.
How did he match so well with the quilt?
 When it is folded in quarters, it is quite comfortable.

He loves looking at the trees and sky out the window and I love watching him!

"Tummy Time"

Every picture I see of him, there is the quilt!

It is hand quilted with loads of Grandma love.

Grandma! I love the sound of that!

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!