The story of this quilt starts two years ago.
A customer had requested a Duke University-themed toddler quilt that I just happened to be working on during March – at the very same time the Blue Devils were advancing towards their 2015 NCAA Tournament Championship.
Now I’m not saying Whimzie Quiltz had anything to do with their win, but if my working on that quilt helped in any way… well, I wasn’t going to let that advantage slip by again.
So in 2016, I started a quilt celebrating my alma mater, the University of Kansas, during March Madness. And guess what?!? KU lost in the fourth round. So much for that theory…
The Kansas quilt was half-way finished, but I was too bummed to continue to work on it and carefully tucked it away.
As Selection Sunday rolled around again this year and the Jayhawks earned a #1 seed, I took the quilt out again, determined to finish it before this year’s tournament ended. And I did –
Ain’t she a beaut? That was a lot of appliqué work there in the center, but the oversized Jayhawk mascot came out great. And I love me some scrappy fabrics! My favorite part, though, is the asymmetry of the logo contrasted again the symmetry of the borders – it’s such a cool overall design. I crosshatch quilted the squares, with meander quilting in the logo and red border, and, for a little variety, added piano key quilting around the outside.
The basketball tournament structure has created a saying that college champions are “made in March”. Turns out this quilt was, too. It took two years – two tournaments, really – but by only working on it during March Madness, this quilt was truly “Made in March”, as well.
Rock Chalk, Jayhawk – Go KU!
Sadly, I’ve reached the point in my life when I can look back on “good ol’ days”.
It really hit me last year when my alma mater won another regular season men’s basketball title – in the Big 12 Conference. Not that I wasn’t proud (10 straight! Rock Chalk Jayhawks!) but the hoopla really drove home the fact that I could remember, and remember fondly, when our conference was the Big 8 – you know, back in the “good ol’ days”…
- Back when I road-tripped to Lincoln to root for the Jayhawks even though it was a lost cause
- Back when KU v. MU game days were another battleground in the War Between the States
- Back before my sister divided our family by attending that other Kansas college (and then my brother followed her there, the traitor!)
Back when rivalries were real.
Fortunately, as a quilter, I can not only remember the good ol’ days in my mind, I can recreate the feel of those times in fabric.
Each school in the former Big 8 is represented by their logo. Mostly I used logos from the 80s, but Iowa State’s original cyclone design was a bit too detailed, so theirs is more modern.
The remaining blocks are SQUARE IN A SQUARE blocks in each team’s colors – crimson and blue for Kansas, light and dark orange for OSU, etc – laid out in the shape of an “8”. I even cut the corners and sides of the actual quilt to further enhance the “8” design. (Lesson learned – binding inside corners is NOT easy!)
I found a wonderful text fabric for the backing on this quilt that featured lots of sports related words. However, it was black and white and looked a little stark next to the rich, warm colors on the quilt top. So I dyed it match the grey letters spelling out “BIG”.
Now when I’m watching the Jayhawks on TV and start to feel a little nostalgic, I have the perfect quilt to curl up in. Bring on March Madness 2015 – I’m ready to create some good new days!