Opioids and Y-Seams

Last Year our county was awarded one of twelve grants by the California Opioid Safety Commission to help educate the public and medical community on the increasing use and danger of both prescription and street narcotics.  The Commission got wind of my 5/325 quilt and invited me for an interview.  The results of that interview can be found here (you can find the link below my picture): Placer Nevada County Medical Society – Just another WordPress site

The fact that this statement piece is getting recognition in the medical community is pretty satisfying.  Even more exciting is the fact that it is getting the word out about the narcotic dependence and addiction issues in the general community.  (It was on display in Houston at the International Quilt Festival, will be shown next month at Quiltcon in LA and will be featured in the Quiltcon Magazine).  I am scheduled to speak (with my quilt if it is available) in April at our hospital medical staff meeting and there are some other venues pending.  Who knew that my crazy idea would get so much play?



Working in an Emergency Department sometimes feels like being at ground zero of a community’s addiction issues and my medical career thus far can be classified by the locations and eras I have practiced and favored drugs of abuse: Seattle – Heroin, Cleveland – Crack Cocaine, Sacramento – Methamphetamine and now in Northern California – Prescription Narcotics.  Wanting to portray the mixed blessing of prescription narcotics and inspired by the modern painter Cecil Touchon, I dreamed up a statement quilt.  5/325 stands for the most common dose of hydrocone/acetaminophen my colleagues and I prescribe. I have long admired the hand dyed fabrics of Kim Eichler-Messmer and am a huge fan of her book.  This quilt and a few others I have planned call for these kinds of special fabrics.  With limited time to make my own, I went straight to the source with my kooky ideas.  Although Kim didn’t know I was planning to make a quilt specific to prescription narcotics, amazingly she was willing to play along and hand dyed fabric for me on commission.  (If you ever get a chance to see or purchase her quilts, fabric or book do it!)


To start this piece, I grabbed my laptop and projector, found a bold font I liked and traced 5/325 onto the white fabric.


I then hand basted the it to Kim’s beautiful blue fabric.  Channeling Touchon, I cut up the fabric randomly and then needle turn appliquéd each wonky piece.



Finally, I put together the pieces like a mixed up puzzle and machine sewed them together again.  I got to try out Y seams for the first time with some luck.  Finger pressing the seams as I wanted them to lay then sewing on the folds I had formed seemed to work.




I’m hoping to hand quilt this piece and would like to explore finishing the edges without binding.

Wish me luck.