Wednesday, January 10, 2007

This is the Alden quilt that Keryn was talking about on her blog. I think I always wanted to make a copy of this because it was one of a pair, a twin if you like.

When my middle son Rob was 11 he became really ill and was diagnosed with type one diabetes, something that changed all our lives. He was taken to the Adelaide Childrens Hospital and spent over a week there being pricked and poked and eventually stabilised. Because it had all been so sudden I had only a few clothes that I'd managed to grab, but absolutely nothing to do. There were a lot of hours just sitting next to Rob, twiddling my thumbs.

Of course I mentioned this while I was talking on the phone to Keryn, and within a few days a hefty parcel arrived at the hospital, containing a kit for the first blocks of the Alden quilt; little baggies of the rosettes already cut out and a treasure of fabrics to fondle and gloat over.

Thinking of everything, she'd included a needle and thread and a template, but I decided it was too big and bought another daintier one. And seeing how big hers turned out, I'm glad I did.

I can't remember now if I got much sewn before we left hospital, but I know that I used to take my bundle of goodies down to the huge cafeteria, park myself next to the free coffee machine and revel in the delight of actually doing a long anticipated project. There's nothing like a new quilt to absorb the attention and the rather frightening future I'd been contemplating didn't seem quite so apalling. Just having something different to think about in the present pushed it far enough away to make it bearable.

Rob, bless him, saw the whole thing as a challenge and handled his condition wonderfully. The diabetes ward at the hospital was also the cystic fibrosis ward, and those childen were so much worse off that Rob decided to make the best of his troubles. He's now 22, did 4 years of Forensic Chemistry at Uni and has a job working in a laboratory for a mining company. I'm really proud of him and what he's achieved, and he's a lovely boy besides.

Like Keryn, this was my sewing for at least two Olympics and I never got sick of it. There were no deadlines and no pressure, because it was worth waiting to find the perfect fabric if I didn't have it in my stash. For years I carried around mental descriptions of what I was looking for..."An orange and red sprig of flowers on a chocolate background....a small mocha coloured geometric, not too dark...." Even now I sometimes think "Oh, that would be great for the Alden quilt!" and then realise that it's long over. I tend to keep buying for quilts that I've already finished, especially if I've been collecting specific fabrics for a long time.

I'm a bad girl, but I haven't quilted this yet.(sue me.) Like Keryn I want to handquilt this, even though she expresses such horror at how long it took her to do it and says a 'nice panto' would be the best thing. I think there's something special about this and the circumstances that brought it about, and I'm quite prepared to take another two Olympics to get it finished.

Besides, I like looking at all the little seams on the back of it too!

And now, some gratuitous puppy porn...
A dawg and his boy...


The Calico Cat January 10, 2007  

Thanks so much for showing the back.. I had only seen the back of English paper pieced grand mothers flower gardens...

quiltpixie January 11, 2007  

It is a beautiful quilt top -- well worth the time to hand quilt. What a wonderful treasure. And I lol when I got to the puppy porn :-)

Patti January 11, 2007  

What an incredible top and a wonderful story. Thank you so much for sharing! And I think you definitely need to hand quilt this one.

Catherine January 11, 2007  

The back is absolutely fascinating.

Shelina January 12, 2007  

What a nice quilt, and a sweet story to go with it. It definitely will be worth the time to hand quilt it.

YankeeQuilter January 15, 2007  

A great quilt and a wonderful story. I love English paperpiecing. The part about continuing to buy fabric for finished quilts really hits a nerve!!

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