My PhD research started 9 years ago. It has been a long journey, but the good news is: the journey is finally coming to an end. The research is all about the experiences of stem cell donors and aspects of donor care management and the unrelated donor search. The results of the investigations are reported in scientific journals and all papers together will be published in my dissertation book. From the beginning it was clear to me that there should be a picture of a quilt on the cover of my book. First I thought a ‘Dear Jane’ quilt would be nice, but it will take at least another 10 years to finish such a project I’m afraid. I came to the conclusion that a newly designed quilt was the best; but the design had to connect with stem cell donation. I have made a quilt with stem cells before at the occasion of Europdonor Foundation, the Dutch National Stem Cell Donor Registry, moving to a new building: the quilt is hanging in the main entrance hall of the Registry. The main color of this wall hanging is blue, since blue has always been the main color of Europdonor’s logo, and annual report etc. A couple of years ago, changes were made, an a nice red accent was added to the logo, house-style and website. All the rooms have blue carpet tiles, but you can find one red floor tile in each room.
Although anyone who knows me would expect the cover of my thesis to be purple, I have to disappoint you. I decided to use neutral colors with warm red and blue applications. Although I had only thought about the design and no decisions made yet, I was really surprised when I opened my Christmas present: Jack picked out the ‘Moda Mid Winter Reds‘ fat quarters selection – exactly what I had in mind! Completed with blue scraps from my stash, I was ready to give it a go!
The title of the quilt is ‘Crossing Borders‘.
The first idea was for the background was apparently not exactly what our cats had in mind: and Tommy ‘helped’ me to reorganize the squares. And I must admit: the little red cat was right, my first lay out was not what I had in mind. I was thinking about the stem cells migrating from the marrow to the periphery, but also about donors, who are donating their stem cells over borders, to a patient anywhere in the world in need of a stem cell transplantation.
After piecing the top, the’stem cells/donors’ were placed and appliqued by hand to the top. This was a fun part of the project. The little figures were cut out scraps of blue fabric and with fusible web and iron glued to the top, and with silk thread stitched to the top. Further and further it became ‘alive’. I never make a design on paper, I always start with some vague idea that becomes more and more reality while working on it. After finishing the applique, I had to decided on the quilting. I always quilt by hand, and I really like that the best. I compare it to traveling by plane or train; sometimes it is better to travel by train (especially in the Netherlands and Europe we are used to it with extensive railway tracks) – you can adjust to your new destination over time, no need for stress, very relaxing. I decided to use a free motion template (Dritz 3713, Allover Stipple Stencil) and brought the pattern with water soluble pencils on the top, and used red 100% cotton quilting thread (Güterman color 2074). And I am very happy with the result!
Update December 25th, 2014: The book is finished, and I am finally able to share the result with you. Public defense will take place on January 28th, 2015 in the Leiden University. If you are interested in the content, please visit focusonthedonor.nl