Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Quilt Files, Episode 12

Maybe it's because I'm officially old (just ask Boy), or it's because I can't get enough of playing with fabric, but when any occasion calls for a gift I start thinking about quilting. Babies are easy, of course; I've mentioned before how I love a quick baby quilt project, even if I end up with the wrong color. So when I got the little card inviting me to the graduation party of one of my wonderful coaches at Olympian, who has been showing me how to be a good martial artist since he was 12, I couldn't help thinking: is there a quilt for that?

I recently mentioned how hard I'd been working to get ready for the National Taekwondo Championships this year, and this young gentleman was a big part of that, keeping our weekly workouts challenging and interesting, and never making fun of the crazy old lady running around with all the kids. So I wanted to make something special to commemorate this season, which could be his last with us for a while, depending on where he goes to school. I thought it would be nice if everyone could contribute, and after a little brainstorming I came up with the idea for a pillow cover where each teammate could write something on a piece of fabric. I got some fabric markers, wrote down some ideas for the kids, and—most challenging of all—managed to corner all 18 of my teammates and get them to write something down without anyone from the family noticing.

It was easy enough to assemble the pieces into a pillow cover, complete with everyone's signature and the team logo (printable fabrics are so cool!)*, but I also wanted something just from me. That's where the quilt comes in: I find my little lap quilt so handy for sitting at the computer (I'm even using it today, the house is so cool and breezy), I thought it might make a good addition to the pillow: small enough to travel, but big enough to be useful. I already had some reds and light blues, and found some coordinating dark blues in patterns that seemed suitable for a young man. Just because it's a quilt doesn't mean it has to be girly, right?

So I assembled a simple quilt top, and machine quilted by starting with the circular yin-yang symbol that is on Korea's flag and thus on our uniforms, and continuing the circle all around. I thought it made a striking contrast to the squares of fabric, and it certainly makes the quilting stand out, much more than in your usual stitch-in-the-ditch technique. I think it turned out pretty well, and the young man in question really appreciated it. Not bad for a couple weeks' worth of work, don't you think?

*Unfortunately, I thought I'd taken a picture of the pillow, but I didn't. It was just squares and posts, and no quilting involved anyway, so you can just use your imagination.

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