Journey of Hope Quilt Nears Finishing.

Ten days into the new year, I shared a photo with you of the beginnings of a anew quilt I am making: Journey of Hope is the name of the quilt, and of the MS Walk for which it is being made. The quilt will be used as a fundraiser, to benefit the MS Center at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Brighton.

I planned it as a lap quilt, and usually can finish one of those in a week … sometimes in a weekend (“What is a weekend?” asked the dowager countess in Downton Abbey. I’m realizing now that all days run together when one doesn’t have to report to work on a schedule of Monday through Friday.)

But this quilt grew in complexity and size ~ or length, really. I normally sell lap-quilts by the length: $1.00 per inch. Most are forty-five inches long, and take about 8 hours to complete, using about $15.00 in materials. So I would ordinarily earn $30 above cost, which is standard pricing for small businesses such as mine. It’s not really a salary, nor an hourly rate. Some hours are productive, and some are spent ripping out errors. It’s just twice the cost, and it works for me, and for customers.

But this quilt is different – I’m donating it, and so can spend as little or as much time on it as I wish. That post that introduced the quilt to you was over a month ago, and I have worked in fits and starts each day on this quilt both before and since that date. The design was inspired by a colorful spiral I saw on Facebook. The design of the image, the shopping for the fabric (which happened a few years ago, and has sat patiently waiting for me to be so inspired,) and the cutting of carefully calculated strips and blocks is time unseen to the customer. I am not able to total the number of hours spent on this quilt, for the thought processes is undocumented, and the ripping slowly or quickly is inconsistent. My best guess is that, since it’s inception late last year, I must have about 80 to 100 hours of time involved in this project. Now, it is nearly done.

bound and quilted

The finishing steps involve hiding the remnant threads at the end of each row of stitches. Most of that is done during the work … only the ends of the last quilting sections remain. Some of them will hide easily, threaded into a needle and drawn horizontally through the inner batting and snipped off and pulled into the quilt. The challenge will be to do so with the short pieces left when I skipped over a small section (the silhouettes at the bottom) and forgot to pull a longer strand of thread before beginning the row on the other side of the obstacle. I’ve gone to My Quilt Place and left a message there, asking fellow quilters for ideas on burying threads that are too short to tie off before sinking. Someone will respond to my request for information; perhaps they will know of a sticky spray that will permanently anchor the threads in the batting.

While working on this quilt, I’ve been steadily aware of how far removed I am from my original response to the diagnosis of relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis. I’m making this quilt for those who cannot distance themselves from their condition. While my back does ache if I sew too long, and my fingers do drop the thread, or the needle, or a pin now and then, and my eyes do tire trying to thread those needles, I have very little in the way of true disability. I am fortunate in that way. But there is always “the other shoe” waiting to drop.

One day I will no doubt make a quilt for a melanoma fundraiser – there is an annual walk for that cause that starts right in front of the school near our house, and Rick and I sometimes join the walkers, and sometimes stay to cheer them on as they pass by. I’m sure a lap-quilt would draw some speculative donators to buy raffle tickets for that cause, too. I’m not sure it will be as complicated as this one has been, but it will be made with care, and purpose.

I don’t know of any fundraising for depression or mental illness research and treatment, but if I learn of one, I will make a quilt for that cause as well.

100_3586

The back carries messages of encouragement and enjoyment.

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