The Aaron Patriot “Organic” Quilt
When Aaron was born, of course I’d given deep thought to making a quilt to commemorate his birth. Having had a beautiful, planned homebirth added another element to it, and I couldn’t quite figure out a way to properly honor this day and all that made it complete. It was easily one of the most beautiful, romantic and empowering days ever, when we were given this perfect gift.
Needless to say, the project has been on hold indefinitely until the right idea struck. And it finally did in the most unexpected way.
You might remember a few months ago when my life was unhinged with a trip to the hospital right in the midst to hit the deadline for the Project Modern Monochromatic Challenge. Just days after the deadline for submitting quilts, Project Modern released the details of the next challenge. With Pokey Bolton (host of Quilting Arts) as the guest judge, the challenge was to create a quilt centered around one word: organic.
There are many organic things in my life, but one thing stood out in my mind, and I couldn’t think of anything more organic than Aaron’s birth and our life since then. My pregnancy and preparation for our birth really put us on an “organic” path. I finally had some direction and thoughts on this quilt.
Here’s the quilt I finally came up with (click the images to make them larger):
The quilt top was pieced using only Aaron’s old flat-fold cloth diapers (yes, that makes me an old-school cloth diaperer!). I wanted to dye them in a red, white and blue theme, which has followed Aaron since before he was born. But it felt wrong to dip the diapers into commercial dye. So I got inventive and learned how to dye fabric using only fruits and vegetables.
It worked beautifully for the most part. I tried a range of fruits and vegetables and ended up with red beets, red cabbage, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries.
The downside to dying with only natural items is that the colors are somewhat muted and they came out looking more pink and gray than red and blue. So I quilted the top with red, white and blue threads to accentuate them.
I selected several photos surrounding Aaron’s birth and printed them on fabric to sew on to the quilt. I took some recycled, organic tea bags (which I always have an abundance of) and made use of them. My midwives, Beth and Joy, kept a labor and birth flow chart the entire time I was in labor. This is something that is so important and sentimental. My labor and birth were somewhat of a blur to me, so to be able to go back and read exactly what happened when (including a few funny moments!), is amazing. I shrunk them down about 60% and printed them onto the tea bags and sewed them on to the quilt in the four corners.
In the center, I hand stitched his name using Size 8 pearl cotton. Below that, I sewed the information that was in his birth announcements to his little organic cotton cap he wore when he was first born.
The backing was made using a variety of patriotic print scraps I have from other projects. I haven’t done it yet, but I’m going to use some of the homemade cloth wipes I made before he was born as a background when I attach my quilt labels. I also feel like I wasn’t really able to tell the story of Aaron’s birth, so I am going to create a cloth pocket for the back, and print his entire birth story on fabric and put it in the envelope. This way if it accidentally gets washed, it’ll still be intact and readable. This is an heirloom quilt I want him to have his whole life that he can pass on to his kids, grandkids, etc.
One of the mottos of my business is that I can make a quilt out of anything, and I think this just about proves it!
The quilt was entered into Project Modern’s Challenge last week (with 48 hours to spare!), and might also make an appearance in the East Cobb Quilt Guild show, one of the largest in Georgia, should it be accepted. I’m excited, because it will be my first quilt show. The show is in September, and I’ll find out next month if it was accepted.