Saturday, December 4, 2010

Rahel's Quilt

When Rahel moved from the toddler bed to a twin size bed, she got a big blanket. This was not one I made, but one from the store. However, the following year, I decided to change this. I wanted to make her a blanket that suited her, and included the colors she liked at the time, but also one that would stay relevant as she grew older. At the time she really liked pink (shocking, now, to anybody who knows her) and dark red. I found a great twisty pattern in a photograph and proceeded to figure out how to make it. This usually involves doodles on graph paper, and little bits of cut paper moved about the design comes together. This takes math, especially geometry.
When I was younger I was not very successful in math. I struggled with it in high school and college, had tutoring, and had to take the HS exit exam 3 times before I passed, barely. I remember the day I realized I am using math and geometry in my quilting, and how easy it comes to me in that context. I guess I was not just "bad" at math. Rather, I had no relevant context in which to use and understand it. Now I do.
The pattern for Rahel's quilt involved triangles and squares, with colors intertwining and the pieces forming diamond shapes. I worked hard on it. Here it is spread out on my bed, with the cat getting involved:

And a detail:

I quilted this top onto her blanket, using it as batting, and bound them together to make the whole. The quilting technique here is "knotting" as opposed to sewing. I used white yarn sewn through all layers, looped, and knotted. I did this in the center of each cream colored square. I find this technique useful when the quilt is too thick to fit comfortably in my little sewing machine. If the knots are close enough to each other, the quilting works well in holding the piece together.

I gave it to Rahel for a birthday and she loved it. She used it for many years as her main blanket and now, though she's got another, bigger one, she still wraps herself in this regularly, and keeps it in her room, using it sometimes in addition to her other blanket.

1 comment:

  1. I am dead impressed that you worked it all out instead of just posting the block online and asking people to identify it. You effectively invented the Friendship Star! Which is what it is, it's a fairly popular block and a lovely one. I like the way you've done it around the edges, it has a Celtic knot feel to it. Your daughter is one lucky lady. And hey, it's great to develop your maths skills like that as well. I really feel proud when I figure out something basic involving geometry for a quilt, and engage with it far more than I did with abstract maths problems at school. Actually, I quite enjoyed maths, I was good at it and would have algebra races with two friends in the class (thus driving our poor teacher mad - everyone else was chatting away, we kept on asking for the next set of exercises), but once it got more complicated I completely lost interest, and now I still struggle a certain amount with switching back and forth between metric and imperial (I'm in the UK, we use metric including for cutting fabric, although quilting remains imperial due to the strong American influence) and working out how much fabric to cut and so forth.