On my big secret I spent two long years from start to finish. During this period I raised one baby and gave birth to another one. My pregnancy was not so easy because I had to stay in bed. My two girls are now one and three years old. These are just little excuses why the project took this long to finish.
Despite all this, I visited some countries in Europe, Japan and the USA. These are other reasons for lost time.
I tried to make 40 blocks for my husband's 40th birthday, but I could not give him his present on that day because I was already eight months pregnant. I did not want (or to be precise he did not want) to surprise him with a little girl prematurely!
Unfortunately, on his next birthday he still did not receive his previous birthday present. Because I had been too busy with our new little girl who was always sick since her birth. Another little excuse.
Finally, in the first week of December, I wrapped my husband's present and gave it to him on a rainy evening, so that he could have his big present before his Christmas presents.
Below you can see a big kimono-shaped wall hanging quilt. I am behind the quilt, standing on the chair holding it for the photo. My hands can't even reach the edges. The sleeves of the kimono are separate, like real kimonos. I ended up making 41 blocks instead of 40 because the shape which I was making did not accept even numbers. Ironically, he received it aged 41 (and two months).
He was very surprised at the quilt and the thought behind it as he hadn't had any clue what I was doing in my little sewing room or during quilt group meetings. Of course he cannot wear it!
When our first baby girl was six months old we went to France and I started collecting fabrics with Japanese patterns. At that time I did not know what I would do but I just bought them because I really liked them.
When I visited Japan in April, 2007, I bought some fabrics to add to my collection.
Later in August that year we went to Seattle and I found a quilt shop, where I bought more fabrics with Asian motifs.
Most importantly, I found Susan Briscoe's books on sashiko and Japanese quilting. These gave me ideas to make a quilt of kimono blocks, and slowly the idea then developed to assemble them in a kimono shape; something original, I think. I was a bit nervous about my idea because quilts are mainly given as presents to women and babies but not often to men, even though there are many famous men quilters in the world.
As you can see, I collected my fabrics from around the world but the sewing was done in Portugal while juggling the upbringing of two little children. This purple and yellow fabric was Angela's present while I was in bed waiting for my second little girl.
Thank you Angela for helping me to figure out how to make the patterns fit neatly in block using paper piercing. Many thanks also to Arabella, Irene and Ursula, my quilting buddies, shortening my two days work of stitching the binding into two hours.
Photos Husband and Wife