Monday, May 27, 2013

May project 2: "Walking with Jane" zebra quilt

This is a real first - two quilts in one month. This one is for "Walking with Jane", an organization that creates awareness and does fundraising for neuroendocrine cancer. I help out occasionally by copy editing the website, but I thought I'd offer my support in a more tangible this time. The group is run by one of my teachers from high school - Jane was his wife, who died from the disease in 2010.  Neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) and the resulting cancer are slow-developing, rare, and often misdiagnosed. A patient can go for years thinking they have IBS, when in reality, they have a tumor causing those symptoms. And if an NET is left undetected and untreated for many years, the patient is left with very few options for treatment.

The medical community has an aphorism, "When you hear hoofbeats, think horses, not zebras." The thought behind this is that a doctor should first think of common ailments when making a diagnosis, and avoid assuming that the presenting symptoms are that of a rare disease. NET cancer is thought to be a "zebra", since NETs are so rare and so many patients are originally given a wrong diagnosis.

The zebra has become the mascot of NET groups, so that was my anchor point when designing this quilt. I was lucky to find a great zebra fabric, and it gave me a chance to try making a pattern described in the book "Wonderful 1-Fabric Quilts". The idea is pretty simple - take a striped fabric, cut it into triangles, rearrange it, and you've designed a quilt that looks complex but is made up of nothing more than large half-square triangles.

I was impressed by how little effort it took to create something that looks great. I'll definitely be making more one-fabric quilts in the future. It'll be a fast and painless way to rid myself of any yardage of stripes.

So the kaleidoscope-pieced zebra fabric quilt was great and all, but the quilt wasn't complete that way. I had more to say, so I made that into the back.

The front has a lot of negative space, except for a callback to the zebra aphorism, and Walking with Jane's logo in a modified log cabin block. For the logo, I ordered a swatch from Spoonflower. For the letters, I used Elizabeth Hartman's "Refrigerator Magnets" pattern, and was able to make them almost completely from black and white scraps. For the negative space...I made a mistake. Can you see it? I can't unsee it. I ran out of white and when I went back to buy more, I bought a different brand. The whites are ever-so-slightly different. I really hope the difference is just more noticeable in the photo, in the bright sun.

I finished the quilt off with all-over loopy free-motion quilting and a blue binding. The finished project ended up being 65"X65". I really should make up a map for all the places these quilts are going - this one is headed to Fall River, Massachusetts, where Walking with Jane is hosting a yard and craft sale on June 2.

And since I did two quilts in one month, I think I've earned myself a little bit of time off. My husband asked me recently, "Are you really having fun doing all this?", and I admit that I'm a little burned out. So for June, maybe I'll do a couple of small projects, but I'm not going to put too much pressure on myself. I need to dedicate myself to something else, like schlepping the baby around the house, and maybe painting a few walls before my mother-in-law comes to visit.

1 comment:

  1. Nice job, my friend. Can't wait to have it in my hand. This will be very difficult to let go.