The Patchwork Kimono.

posted in: Art, Day In The Life, Quilting 1
In the tree. Photo: Me
Quilt kimono in tree. Photo: Me

I was almost going to break my “one image per post” rule, but if you don’t stand for something, you’ll post anything.

When it was certain I would come on this road trip, I had a matter of days to get everything together. I immediately made a mental list of all the thousands of items I would need to go out and get (e.g., leather jacket, campsite hand-wash detergent, a carton of Gauloises, etc.) but I decided to buy nothing that wasn’t absolutely, positively necessary. I’ve been making a lot of purchases recently — a gal’s gotta watch her pocketbook.

But one of the things that seemed absolutely, positively necessary was a robe. I have a robe, but it’s big and fluffy. “Big” and “fluffy” are not words welcome when you’re driving across Death Valley in a Subaru. I was having fun with the “buy nothing” preparation tip I was on, so I decided to make myself a packable, pretty kimono. And so I did.

Quilters have “unfinished objects” (UFOs). UFOs are portions of patchwork that have not yet been turned into a quilt and therefore sit on a table or in a tupperware container, waiting to get their day in the sun. Patchwork is much happier in a quilt, so I keep my UFOs to a minimum; still, I have a modest collection of orphan piecing. So I took blocks and patchwork units from my UFO bag and incorporated them into my kimono — and by the way, cutting into finished patchwork is horrifying and exhilarating and every quilter should try it once. The “pattern” for this thing was just figuring out how to make a back and two front pieces. Then I double-lined it for softness/durability and voila! The patchwork kimono. I made an obi, too.

I cannot express to you how perfect this thing is. I mean, in general, it’s perfect to me because I made it with my hands and my brain. But on this trip in particular it has been astonishingly useful. It’s a picnic blanket. It’s a robe. It’s a towel. It’s a blanket for the car. It’s padding for a seat. It provides shade and wind cover. And it’s a quilt, of course; many women (and men, and children) have traveled this westward route over the centuries with a quilt at their side. So there’s some kinship going on.

If you’d like to see more pictures of my kimono (including several with me actually inside the thing) please visit my Facebook page.