I finished a quilt –for myself!!– last month. It’s been on my to-make list for years, but in my life somehow for much longer.
Let’s start back in 1999. Despite the amazing Prince song that most people are reminded of, there was no partying happening. It was the year I got divorced and embarked on a road that I have stayed on for the next 17 years…solo parenting. (Long story short, their father is not a part of their lives.) I grew up in a religious family that holds tight the conservative ideas of American life: birth, school, marriage, work (til you have kids), buy a house, play it safe. Getting divorced and all that it entailed for me and my two kids made me rethink everything I’d believed in. I knew I could either feel bad about the path my life was on or I could embrace it fully and that’s when I came across the Helen Keller quote that inspired this: Life is a daring adventure or nothing.
You’ll notice in the mock-up I have the quote with an additional “at all.” That’s how I originally knew the quote, but before I got to cutting out letters, I did a bunch of searching for the original. From what I can gather, that part just got tacked on by someone, somewhere along the line and suddenly there were two versions of the quote. From what I could find, the shorter version is actually what she said (but I could be wrong!)
Anyway, this quote has long-guided me in my choices, both as a mom and as a person. We get one shot at this, I figure, we might as well make it interesting (hence college in my 30s, living in SE Asia, making a hodgepodge career, random road trips, etc).
I wanted a quilt that would exemplify that idea, so I started with a big box of scraps from work. I cut dozens and dozens of strips, divvied up by color intensity. Then started sewing them together.
I used my handy Strip Tube Ruler to cut out a ton of triangles, then laid them out. Then chain-pieced like a crazy person. Soon enough, the top was done . Then came the scary part–the letters.
I made templates out of file folders and traced around each, hoping to spell out the quote correctly. I worried about that a lot.
I stitched around each letter, then carefully cut out the patchwork to reveal the Grunge (Moda) that I’d backed the quilt with. It headed off to the quilter (Kazumi Peterson) and came a few weeks later looking just as good as I’d imagined when I first came up with this crazy idea. I love love love the way “or nothing.” just fades away, giving it a bleach-dipped look.
I’m happy to announce that the quilt will be hanging at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show in Sisters, Oregon on July 9, 2016.