Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Karma Quilt

A co-worker of mine was recently diagnosed with cancer.  We've been working together for over 20 years.  The news has been a shock to all of us.  Having just finished the Fading Charms quilt top (that went together so quickly), I was inspired to make a quilt for my co-worker.  It's a basic 6x4' throw quilt that I hope will be physical reminder of what he means to all of us at work as he fights his cancer. 

It was an insane project to start at Thanksgiving.  But I was driven:  I wished to give him the quilt soon after his surgery and prior to any other therapy.  I started by bouncing ideas off of a few co-workers, then announced it to the office so I was committed to making it.

As I began designing and calculating yardage, I realized many of my colleagues probably felt as helpless as I did about the whole situation.  I decided to add sashing after the initial design, so I could personalize the quilt with the names of people who work with him closely.  I invited co-workers, including those no longer with the company, to send me their signatures or give me permission to embroider their names into the quilt.

Embroidering names
The feedback has been tremendous.  A friend of mine helped find the material.  Another co-worker brainstormed with me to plan the layout.  I had a group of friends/ex-co-workers arrange and help embroider the names.  (Can you tell we're a tight-knit group?)  Several people generously chipped in for supplies.  There were more offers of help than I knew what to do with.

As much as I tried to keep it simple, this quilt was more of a challenge than I had anticipated.  I was delayed when the backing material I wanted had to be special ordered.  I fought with my printer to get the correct colors on my custom squares.  I tried a new quilting style (which looks great!) but it was way more time-intensive than I had anticipated.  Embroidering the names had a steep learning curve and it took a few attempts to get it right.  I stressed over meeting my deadlines.

All of the material was selected with my co-worker in mind, based on his interests and our favorite things about him.  In addition, each block has one custom printed square:  the PMC logo, a Noon Hill trail map, the Buddha, our company logos, a Sunday River trail map, and his own PMC team logo, Team Kinetic Karma.  The cornerstones and backing were also in the Team Kinetic Karma colors.

The quilting shows up best on the back
Every friend and co-worker who has seen the quilt immediately reaches out to touch some part of it and says "This is because he does... " or "This is from when he went to... ."  (All except for the Mardi Gras/Carnival masks, which have confused the hell out of everyone - sorry about that.)

I delivered the quilt to him on Saturday.  He was so surprised and thrilled.  (He also did the reach-out-and-touch, and confirmed that the Noon Hill square included the spot where he had taken the infamous tumble from his bike.)  There are full-sized, detailed photos of the quilt here.

I wish to thank everyone who was involved in this project.  I swear I could feel everyone's good wishes each time I worked on the quilt.

1 comment :

  1. Sally, thank you so much for posting bigger pictures. From Dave's post on caring bridge, I could tell how touched he was by this, but didn't really get a sense of the scale and scope of the quilt from his pictures. My name is there in my heart, this is an amazing gift of love for an amazing man.

    Tanya

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