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  • Writer's pictureGail Abbey

R.O.Y. G. B.I.V.

My family calls this one my "panic quilt". I started work on it to distract me from my anxiety when my daughter was hospitalized at the end of her otherwise relatively easy pregnancy. These were scary times, and after attempting to appear calm for her, I needed a way to deal with my own fears. Thankfully, all's well that ends well, and she was eventually sent home with a beautiful, healthy baby girl. During their 10 day hospitalization, I worked on this quilt every moment that I wasn't at the hospital visiting, including some long sleepless nights. Also weighing on my mind were the tiny grandbaby twins that were born prematurely a week earlier, 3,000 miles away in California.

I'd been collecting fabric in the colors of the rainbow with the goal of creating my third bargello quilt. I chose the black background to make the bright colors of the rainbow stand out. After constructing the rainbow itself, I needed a way to fill the empty space around it. Breaking up the colors into smaller groups gives the impression of the rainbow coming together gradually. I softened the curve of the rainbow's lines with decorative stitching in contrasting colors.

In the upper corners of the quilt, rays of blue, indigo and violet shoot off in right angles. The bottom of the quilt is grounded with a base of long lines of grouped colors. I think it almost gives the look of a landing strip. I used intersecting curved quilting lines above and below the rainbow to soften and bring it all together.

Little did I know that soon after this project was dubbed the "panic quilt", the whole world would be thrown into a panic over the Covid-19 pandemic. I will never be able to look at this quilt without thinking of how lucky we were that our beautiful grandbabies were born early, but healthy, and sent home before the hospitals were inundated with virus patients. I am so looking forward to meeting the twins when the danger of travel is past. I haven't done any quilting since the panic quilt because my time has been happily filled with helping out with the grandbaby who's birth inspired it. Our family has been truly blessed, and I am forever grateful.

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