Friday, April 19, 2019

Quilt 131 :: Coded Thank You

As I type this, I am sitting on the floor in the great room of the de Jong Dream House. A few days ago, movers came and took all the furniture away, so I have this week to pack up the last few things. It seems fitting to write this post about the last quilt I made in my craft room here at the dream house.

This quilt is being gifted to my son's tech teacher. I had hoped to finish all the school thank you quilts before school got out last week, but I didn't quite make it. It was a pretty ambitious goal, so I feel pretty happy that it's finished now!

The idea for this quilt came as D and I were talking about the relationship between art and science. It doesn't take long with D to see his passion for science. STEM pursuits were never my cup of tea in school. But God gave me an aspiring rocket scientist. So we talked about how much math I need to use when quilting and we talked about the beauty of the nebulae. We got talking about how QR codes reminded me of pixelated quilts and I started thinking about making a QR quilt. D suggested that his tech teacher would like a QR quilt because she teaches about codes (along with doing a lot of other important things for our school).

I made a QR code to link to this page, and used it as the pattern for the quilt. 

Like most pixelated quilt, the construction wasn't difficult. The challenge for me was twofold, 1) because mistakes in the blocks are not easily noticeable, and mistakes meant that the code wouldn't work, it was extra important to constantly check my work and note the same top left hand corner of each block, and 2) I was packing the dream house and making decisions about renovating the lake house the entire time I was working on this quilt, so I could only work in 10-15 minutes increments a day, often only cutting out or putting together a (partial) block per session. 

I was so relieved when the completed QR part of the quilt worked on my phone! (And led to this page in its placeholder form).

Mrs. Dodson's favorite color is hot pink so I knew I would use it for the border. D suggested that I include binary code, so the gray part of the border spells out THANKYOU. 

Finally, for the binding, I spent way too much time cutting the strips out in order to spell out thank you in Morse code. 

The message repeats 3.5 times, but if I didn't mention it here, I don't anyone would have noticed!

As is usually the case when I find myself with a (self-imposed) deadline, I never give myself enough time. Most sane people would say, "There's not enough time. I'll focus on moving, then I'll finish the quilt." I am clearly not sane when it comes to quilting or moving. (Can you see the quilt in that mess?)

On the other hand, one of the most brilliant decisions we made with the moving process is to hire some guys to move the big stuff. It turned to a long twelve-hour day of us packing things up before they were wrapped and hefted out to the truck. In the morning, we said we'd have them pack as much as they could. They were very efficient, but wow, we have more stuff than we thought!

On the morning of the move, I got up four hours before the guys arrived to quilt the top. I sewed for 20 minutes, then packed for 20 minutes. After they arrived, I sewed for 5 minutes, then packed for 20 minutes.  

I finished the binding the night before because I was trying to be done with my quilting table so it could be moved while I finished up the quilt. By early evening I was racing against the movers. 

There wasn't much left in my craft room when I finished, but it was fun for our tattooed young guys to see my progress and cheer me on. They even helped display it from the truck when it was done.

The thing I will remember when I think of this quilt is how symbolic it is of our life at this moment. It looks really chaotic, but when you step back, you can see that there is an order and a process. And the overall message is gratitude. And gratitude is why I made this quilt, and why D wrote this message for Mrs. Dobson.

Mrs. Dodson was never D's primary teacher in his six years at SCOPE Academy, but her work impacted all of the learners at our little school. In addition to teaching, at first her own class of fourth graders, and then tech to all the students, Mrs. Dodson spends countless hours writing grants and is our curriculum and assessment specialist. Our school is so much richer for her passion and dedication, so I wanted to include her in my list of thank you quilts. 

It's hard for me to believe that this sweet dream house season of life is over. It started when D was 3 and just starting preschool. It is ending as D is 10 and finished with elementary school. His love for all things space has stayed consistent the whole time. We could not have found a more perfect school at which to begin his academic career and will forever be grateful for the love and energy our small but mighty school poured into our boy. In fact, D made a second note:

As always, D slept with the quilt to add his love to it. This was extra special because it was our last night as a family in the Dream House.

I feel that anything I try to say failed to convey the depths of my gratitude, so I can only hope that what I say with my stitches will suffice. 

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