Tuesday, January 25, 2022

The pandemic quilt is finished!

 A year ago I started working on a new project: memorializing the 2,662 coronavirus deaths in Kentucky in 2020.  I went to my stash of polka dot fabrics, the floating circles calling to mind the mysterious virus particles floating around in our air.  I made 2,660 tiny postage stamp quilts, each measuring approximately 1 3/4" by 1 1/4".  I counted them over and over as I bundled and packed them into cigar boxes, putting them away until I got around to stitching the whole thing into a huge grid.

I worked on other projects for the rest of the year, but brought the postage stamps back to be stitched together in November.  That turned out to be bad timing, because I had barely begun the process of sorting, counting and stitching than I realized I had to put them away and work on my annual Christmas ornaments.  

After the New Year I hauled the project out again, determined to finish.  To my dismay I realized that somewhere along the way, 70 bits had gone AWOL.  I know I counted them at least ten times along the way, but they were not there when it was time to get serious.  I looked on the floor.  I looked under things on my work table.  I looked on the shelves where the project had been stowed during the holidays.  No bits.  I cussed, I fretted.  Finally I sewed 70 new bits (thus ensuring that someday in the near future I will find the missing ones...) and finished the quilt.

Last night I triumphantly hauled the quilt up from the studio and spread it out on the living room floor to show my husband.  And could hardly  believe how huge the damn thing is!!!

What you see in the picture is not the full expanse -- many of the columns are folded back on top of others.  I realize that the full width, if the columns are pulled flat, will be something like ten feet.  That's a lot of quilt; I may have to buy a new hanging rod, because the brass rods I usually use for postage stamp quilts aren't that wide. 

Now the only step remaining is to sew loops across the top of the quilt, so it can be hung from the rod.  And to disassemble the work surface that I constructed for this project, an old vinyl tablecloth spread across my entire sewing machine surround so the bits didn't get caught in any tiny gaps between surfaces.  

Then I think I'm done with the sewing machine for a while.  Back to hand stitching.  I have lots of ideas that I need to get going on!


  1. reminds me of when I made a hanging to commemorate those killed in the troubles in N ireland, I threaded my bundles onto a strong threads because like you I was neurotic about not having the correct number in the finished piece. I look forward to seeing it hanging. Did you put any names on any of the pieces ie if you knew someone or someone you wanted to be thought about in years to come. Irene in N Ireland

    1. No, I have been so fortunate that I have only known a half dozen people who even got sick with covid (most of them just in the last month) and none who have died. So all these deaths are anonymous.

  2. Whoo boy can I empathize with your puzzling over missing pieces you KNOW were there but now nowhere to be found no matter how many logical and illogical places you look! And of course the process of replacing while you secretly know those missing pieces will show up later, laughing at you. ;-)