Crossroads Quilt Along with Fat Quarter Shop

By Melissa LeRay

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In 2016, Fat Quarter Shop will be hosting another charity quilt-along, this time benefitting the March of Dimes – an incredible non-profit organization that focuses on helping and preventing premature births.  Their work is vast, and has included funding research to create a Polio vaccine, improved prenatal diagnosis of diseases such as sickle cell anemia, discovery of gene mutations of various syndromes, surfactant therapy to treat the tiny lungs of very premature infants (helping babies survive birth as early as 23 weeks gestation!), just to name a few.  Their work is profound, far reaching, and generous and I’m so excited to participate in a quilt-along designed to raise money and bring awareness to their incredible work.

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The theme of this quilt-along is “Crossroads”, and by definition, that means “a point at which a crucial decision must be made that will have far-reaching consequences.” I often like to think about how a crossroad dramatically impacts our lives, similar to the Choose Your Own Adventure books I’d read as a kid – do you remember those?

A particular crossroad in my life was when I decided to leave my job as an engineer and pursue a career in medicine.  I was working as a new grad for a major aeronautics company, and I was bored out of my mind.  I sat alone in a cubicle all day, reviewing and typing up technical documents.  There was nothing inspiring going on, no windows to the outside world, no excitement, and it was clear that no of my peers were in love with their work.  It seemed like a vacuum where people both began and ended their career, and no one seemed particularly happy to be there.  I also didn’t feel like I was contributing much to those around me, or to society as a whole.  Many people justified staying there because of the great benefits, flexible workweek, etc, but I knew that those reasons weren’t enough to keep me at a job/career 40+hrs a week that I wasn’t in love with. Its a long work day that is spent counting down the hours until you leave. Somehow, by a few chance conversations, I learned about being an anesthetist. And it just fit.  I took the few courses needed to complete the application requirements, and when I received my acceptance letter, I gave my notice.  I never looked back.  The fascination and joy I got from helping people in such an intimate way, at such a vulnerable time, was so perfectly suited to my interests.  Anesthesia is both science and art, ever-changing with no single correct answer.  And for someone with a terribly short attention span, I loved that I never had to take my work home and there was endless variety – everything from pediatrics to geriatrics, open heart to colonoscopies.  I’m certain that my engineering background helped me to be a better anesthetist, but I’m so happy I chose to pursue something more fulfilling when I knew that what I was doing wasn’t enough.

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As an anesthetist, I have cared for the very preemies that the March of Dimes helps to protect.  My smallest patient weighed a single pound.  He was born at 23 weeks.  At the time, I was 28 weeks pregnant with my oldest and it was an incredibly surreal feeling to be holding a baby that was smaller than the one growing within me.  I am so grateful for the work that March of Dimes does – so that hopefully these tiny babies get an ever longer stay where they are safest, until they are healthier to conquer the world on their own.

The back!

With each block that is released from Fat Quarter Shop, we hope that you will choose to make a $5 donation to the March of Dimes to help further their work for the use of each free pattern.

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So now let’s talk about this quilt-along!  Joanna Figueroa of Figtree Quilts has designed a gorgeous quilt, finishing at 66.5″ x 84.5″. Each block finishes at 7.5″. The block and finishing patterns will be available to download for free on the Fat Quarter Shop blog the 15th of each month from February 2016 to August 2016. The schedule is as follows:

February 2016 – House Blocks
March 2016 – Diamond Blocks
April 2016 – Flying Geese Blocks
May 2016 – Weathervane Blocks
June 2016 – Cross & Crown Blocks
July 2016 – Crossroads Blocks
August 2016 – Finishing
September 2016 – Backing

For my fabric picks, I’ll be using the almost-released Bonnie and Camille Vintage Picnic.  I can’t wait to see this come together!

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There are quilt kits available for preorder here, using Figtree Quilt’s much anticipated release of Strawberry Fields Revisted!  The coordinated quilt backing kits available here.

I’m so excited to get started, and really hope you’ll join us in creating this beautiful quilt benefitting a most deserving charity.

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