For Anita

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The story of this last quilt is pretty surprising in that I barely noticed I was doing it until I was in the last stage, the quilting. Anita's blue quilt turned out to be recognizable as a barn-raising pattern made up of over 200 squares composed of only 4 elements each. It is a study in value, I suppose, although technique didn't enter my mind as I was doing it. As I said before, this quilt took me by surprise.
A few months before, I reasoned that I should put away all quilts and thoughts of sewing until I had completed the 3-month period during which I was leaving Elsevier and commencing a new job at the CHUV. Working both jobs was time-consuming at its easiest. At the outset of this period I had imagined there would be no time whatsoever for quilts. Then after about six weeks I had such a craving to do something with my hands and working with color that I sat down with Anita and Bertrand to talk about their new quilt. Days later I was cutting and piecing. Even now that it is finished, I can't recall when I did all of the piecing. It seemed suddenly to be finished. Realistically, if I try to remember when I was working, I have to admit to indulging in weekend binges. The weather was crummy for nearly the whole time, so there were no excursions into the countryside, and paths we normally like to stroll along were often too muddy to follow. The result of the effortless work is quite nice, though. I was surprised to see that it turned out as luminous as it did. I worried that there were too many dull blues. Anita had expressed a wish to have it not too dark and I only saw the effect of all of the squares together once they were arranged on the bed. The borders are a calming element in the whole composition. I did a series of bands to enclose the frenzy of triangles and squares that make up the center. Each corner is a square of the same deep violet-blue that Anita loves. It gives it a kind of continuity. The quilting design features three lines of soft swirls or waves going all around the borders and the center has the steps that trace the smaller squares. The relief effect is striking, and the swirls give it a kind of movement that relaxes the angles of the steps. I think another reason why I didn't realize the progress I was making through the whole process was that it was a backdrop to all the changes taking place in my life at the time. I am grateful that some friendships continue through all of life's changes.