3 quilts and a blanket for Kevin Sanders

Date made: late summer 2005

Quite a while ago .. like in 1995 ... I met a bunch of people in an online chat room, fans of a (then new) TV show, Space: Above & Beyond. (Fox Entertainment, *once again* screwed over us loyal fans and the show wasn't renewed for the 2nd season.) Even after the show's demise, we continued on our chat channel .... had real life get togethers, kept in touch with each other ... in fact, the group has had 3 marriages and we've all traveled to every one to help celebrate. Harold & Judy are part of that Internet group of friends and after 6 years of marriage, they had their first baby, their son Kevin.

In presenting my baby presents to them via the mail, I needed to enclose an explanatory letter as to why there were *so many*. Below is that letter, which explains better than I could paraphrase myself. [grin]

Dear Harold, Judy & Kevin,

Let me state right up front that I went overboard this time. I mean waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay overboard. Obsessively, compulsively over the top. It wasn't completely my fault, as I really hadn't intended for this entire event to play out like this and I really do have a good excuse, er .. reason. And, as usual with me, there is a backstory. So, sit back, you're in for a bit of a read. :-)

Long ago, in a galaxy far away .. no, wait. Wrong story. Sorry.

It actually began in 1999. You probably remember that year, huh? [note: that's when Harold & Judy got married] I figured that eventually I would be making a baby quilt for you guys, so I started collecting "appropriate" fabric. Whenever I went to a quilt show, store or whatever and I saw some fabric that fit in with your theme, I bought some. Unfortunately, without having a quilt layout in mind, it's doggone difficult to know how much of the fabric to buy. So, if I really, *really*, REALLY liked the fabric, or it looked like it would make a good backing, I bought a whole BUNCH of it. If the fabric was interesting and had potential, I bought a goodly amount. Otherwise, I bought a modest amount.

After every purchase, the fabric would get tucked away in the totebag that contained your supplies. I didn't keep track of what I was buying or how much; I just kept squirreling it away. I also perused all of my magazines, books and patterns for layouts that had potential; these designs got flagged with Post-it notes. You have no idea how many little flags ended up sticking out of my bookcase! My intent was to make a scrappy, WOW! quilt that would blow you guys away. Yeah, I really am that egotistical. :-)

So, when in late 2004, you announced your future family addition, I figured that after the holidays, I would get started on The Quilt. After all, I had until the following June ... *more* than enough time. You do remember the saying about the best laid plans of mice and men? Well, it applies to women too. Life really threw two unexpected monkey wrenches in the works with the death of Tom's mom and my Dad's 3rd stroke. It wasn't until June that I was able to even pull out the totebag of supplies to see what I had to work with.

As I unveiled the booty, I realized I was in deep weeds. The fabric was a true polyglot of colors, patterns, scale and design. There was no way Josť that they were ever going to play nicely with each other in one quilt. Oh.My.Gosh. What was I going to do???? Falling back on my tried and true modus operandi, I procrastinated. After sufficient contemplation, I realized that I could actually divide and conquer: it looked as though I could separate the fabrics into three distinct groupings. Now I had another quandry ... if I stuck with the One Quilt idea, I'd have all this other themed fabric on hand for which I had no ready recipient. On the other hand .... [Flash of Brilliance (tm)] ... I could make THREE Quilts! Oh yes, indeed! What a brainstorm! Or brain cramp. Sometimes they are the same thing.

I went back through all my magazines, patterns and books, now looking for three layouts that would properly showcase the chosen fabrics. Success ensued and two tops were quickly pieced together. The quilting for these two quilts was almost easy. The third top involved a bit more planning and revising, but eventually, it too was pieced. The quilting for the third quilt was agonizing and I procrastinated a great deal. Finally, though, it was also finished.

It was by this time that I was becoming more and more involved in my new interest, machine embroidery. I'd like to lay the blame for this at Judy's feet, as she was with me in Houston 2004 when I bought the machine, but alas and alack, the fault is all mine. ;-) I became a Download Junkie of embroidery designs. I soon collected more designs that I would ever be able to use in my lifetime ... or anyone else's lifetime. It's a terrible affliction .... much like scrapbooking. Judy will understand the analogy. :-)

It occurred to me that there were some Very Good Designs available that would tie in sooooo nicely with the themed quilts, that I began to actively search for appropriate designs. They fell into my lap like ripe fruit. (Only no fruit flies. That would have been disgusting.) Eventually, I ended up with a LOT of embroidery designs, about half of which I was able to successfully (some might even say "tastefully") incorporate into the quilts. I only regret that I still have all these really NEAT designs that I didn't use and couldn't exactly figure out what to put them on without going even MORE overboard than I already was. I figured enough was enough and left well enough alone. (but, boy, some of those designs are *really* neat!). Remind me to give you a printout of them.

A final, fourth item evolved simply because it was so terminally cute and apropos that I couldn't *not* do it. Tell Harold not to hog it. :-)

So, without further ado (at least in THIS letter), I present to Kevin his "real" baby gifts. I hope they are liked and, more importantly, USED.

hugs, love and affection,
Shelley

And with that as an introduction, here are the baby quilts and blanket that I ended up making for Kevin.

The first one is a fleece blanket (the item I cautioned Harold not to hog).

Then came quilt #1, the Bananas and California Poppies quilt.

Quilt #2 is the Internet Quilt and

quilt #3 is Kevin's Heritage quilt.

In an incredibly innovative move, they video-taped themselves (and Kevin) opening the packages so that it was as though I was there with them. This was incredibly awesome for me, as I did spent an awful lot of time on these quilts and did regret that I couldn't be there with them as the boxes were opened. The video tape, however, was absolutely priceless .. truly a one of a kind thank-you.

And yes .. they loved the blanket and all the quilts. :-)