Friday, January 25, 2013

A Blip on the Radar

Finished Quilt
Since being diagnosed with breast cancer almost six years ago, I had not yet had a friend diagnosed until now.  She's a newer friend and we didn't know each other when I went through treatment.  Finding out her diagnosis along with her certainly brought back many memories.  The decision making, the waiting, and how cancer related appointments and recoveries seem to gobble up more and more of your schedule.

A quilt started to take form in my mind.  I wanted to have some pink ribbon fabric symbolizing the pieces of the breast cancer journey.  As the ideas were coming to me, I thought of how cancer is almost always on our radar.  Usually it's just a blip, maybe a friend, a family member or a friend of a friend.  When someone is diagnosed, the blips come more regularly.  There are many appointments, decisions to be made, more appointments, and recovery.  Eventually, hopefully, it all becomes a distant memory and the blips are spaced out further and further apart.  Perhaps a blip might be your own cancerversary or something in the news, or someone's new diagnosis.

First layout
My first lay out of this idea didn't come out as I expected.  After looking at many quilt ideas, I decided I just needed to add more fabrics to the mix.  Fortunately I had some coordinating colors on hand.  Using a disappearing nine square design sounded like a good idea.  The squares I had cut were 6.5".  I added six more printed fabrics and decided to try to make all my "nine square blocks" fairly random with the exception of the top and sides.  I used pink on the sides of every block and green on the top and bottom.  This would give the whole quilt a bit of pattern mixed in with the more random large and small squares.

I've done quilts with the disappearing nine square pattern before, but never tried a more random pattern.  Once I had about a third of the blocks done, I figured out that I needed to start planning the future blocks in order to keep the randomness going. 
Disappearing Nine Square

Nine Square

A nine square block turns into four new blocks.  Alternating the colors for the middle square and outside four squares creates new patterns and randomness.

Pieced Back of Quilt
For the back, I had already purchased the striped fabric that seemed to match the pink, green, and brown so well. Because of the pattern I chose to do with the alternating pinks and greens on my quilt front, I had extra Disappearing Nine Square blocks with the pink rectangles on "top."  I decided to use these along with extra pink and green for a pieced back.  Because I wasn't able to work on it all in one day, I had time to consider other options.  I thought a heart block would be neat to include.  I had never made one before.  I found a nice tutorial from Tallgrass Prairie Studio for a heart block.  Had I worked on the back all at once, I might have chosen a new color for the heart, such as pink.  But then I wouldn't have made a heart block at all.  Another consideration which occurred to me later was to have the blocks and pink and green sections a bit away from the outside edges.  Had I forgotten this step, I would have cut some of it off after quilting it.
Close Up

Free motion squiggles are still one of my favorite quilting designs to make and goes fairly quickly.  I used more of the striped fabric for the binding and had just enough fabric left.

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