I don't know about you, but I check my blogger stats a couple times a day. It's nice to see how readers find me, who has linked to me, and where they are. In the last week though, there's been a gap, a hole. I usually have at least a couple hits a week from readers in Japan, this week-- none. Of course with such tragedy, I can't expect them to take time out (and use valuable electricity) to check in on my little ol' blog here, but still, the absence makes me worry about them even more. I was thinking about how I can go back to posting more about quilts but still satisfy my need to talk about Japan..
Victoria took this great photo of me at her retreat last weekend and I've wanted to write a post about it, and then it clicked, "Oh Yeah~" let's go back to the quilt that started me off on my EPP obsession..
Here we go. Travel Quilt #1, aka "Ayane's Star"
See, I was going to Japan to visit friends (and bring back as much fabric as I could carry) in the spring of 2007, and a couple days before the trip I was struggling to decide on what quilt projects to bring with me. I had a great huge applique leaf thing started, but thought I needed something simpler and easier to pick up and put down quickly. I had the Quilt Patis templates, so I combed through my scraps and cut a bunch of diamonds. I started piecing stars on the flight to Tokyo and decided that I would make a baby quilt for whoever got pregnant first, me or Makiba. She won.
I pieced and pieced through the summer, taking it with me wherever I traveled. I was on a lot of planes that year and so I dubbed it my "Travel Quilt." Stitched into this quilt are memories of Atlanta (where the bright fabrics came from), Japan, Athens, Chicago, and Fall River, MA. It got me through months of infertility, the deaths of my sister and my father-in-law, and basically one of the worst summers of my entire life. I was grateful to have something to keep me busy that year, something beautiful to look at and to hold. In a way I was glad that it was Makiba who got pregnant first, because I was not just stitiching it for her baby, but also as a gift for a friend who helped me get through a very trying time.
I finished the top in October 2007 but I had a lot of diamonds left over. What to do? Start another of course.
And Travel Quilt #2 was born. I wanted to make something bigger, for myself. And though I've been working on it since October 2007, it's still not done yet. (In the first photo you'll see it has borders basted on the top and parts of the sides, but that's it).
Travel Quilt #1 did get finished however, right in time for Makiba's baby shower. Of course I didn't get to take a picture of the baby with the quilt, but M sent this one to me a few months ago:
Once Travel Q #2 was mostly pieced, I cut pieces for TQ #3.. started in July 2010, I've been working away at it steadily since then.
I set up a Quilt Along on Flickr and currently have 4 friends IRL working on similar epp star projects. It's nice to have company.
So, that's the history of my Travel Quilt collection, started because of a trip to Japan 4 years ago.. I never thought English Paper Piecing would take over my life like this, or that these quilts would end up shaping who I am as a quilter, but man, I do love them. Scrap quilts, every diamond tells a story. A fabric collection and display. I was tempted to cut into the new pile of scraps from Victoria to make more diamonds, but I think I might have enough cut already. Maybe I'll just throw in a few...
Do you have any quilts with a Japanese connection?