"And Then She Woke Up"

The (now somewhat infamous) Sandman Quilt

On Neil Gaiman's 42nd birthday he received the gift of a quilt from a fan (me!), based on Sandman artwork by Vince Locke. It seemed only appropriate, being a Douglas Adams admirer, that the answer to life, the universe and everything should be so honored (that, and I didn't have anything nearly presentable for his 40th birthday, which would seem the more obvious milestone).

Now, I like to think of myself as a friend of Neil's, but it still sits a bit awkwardly to give such an enormous gift to someone I'd only see a couple of times a year. It's not like we had grown up together, or gone to the same schools, or hung out in the same neighborhood. He was the writer, and I was a great admirer of his work (and he seemed like such a nice bloke). But I did make this quilt, with the full intention to give it to him. This is how I reconciled the situation (paraphrased for brevity):

me: "Neil, here's a quilt for your 42nd birthday"

someone else: "um, I think it's upside down"

(quilt is righted)

neil: <stunned expression> <muttered words of appreciation, I think>

me: "I was thinking it would be a cool idea to auction it off for the CBLDF" **

After some months at Neil's house, on Neil's bed, being sat on by Neil's cats, the quilt made its way to San Diego for Comic-Con International, where it was auctioned off for the CBLDF**. The $2,600 bid was awarded to Miss Heather Henson (yes, of those Hensons), to whom I am eternally grateful for a story she told me of a quilt given to her father by a fan. It was the best payment I could have wished for.

More photos from Comic-Con will be posted as I get them developed. In the meantime, here's what Heather got (with an apology for blurred images, though the impressionist style of the quilt really makes the blurs a plus for viewing):

"And then she woke up" I got the name of the quilt from the final pages of the second story arc of the Sandman books The Doll House. In the quilt, I stitched it not only at the bottom of the quilt (as seen at the top of the page), but also in the sky, where it's much harder to see.

The ravens were a bit of a challenge, as there was a lot of dark grey overlapping slightly darker grey and it made it difficult to distinguish where one wing ended and another body began. I was always pretty satisfied with how the moon turned out though.

Just some detail on the stitchwork outlining some of the stuff that's much more visible on the original art than on the quilt. While the pieces are all machined together, the front is stitched to the back by hand. If any one is curious, it probably took around 100 different patterns of fabric to put this together, and it wasn't nearly as many as I should have had.

The angel was proof that I didn't have enough different shades of white to work with when I started it but I really like the way the stitching emphasizes the details of the picture, so I don't mind the too-grey wings.

The final result:

Any questions, comments, requests for your own quilt (avg. waiting time is about 5 yrs); email me.

** for the uninitiated, CBLDF stands for Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, an organization which protects the First Amendment rights of comics, comic book artists and writers, and which deserves your patronage. Go visit their website and learn more about them.

For more on what makes Michelle tick, check out the rest of her website here.