How does one know when a quilt is beyond mending? For me it is when both sides are not repairable. I made this quilt before my younger son was born, before I graduated from college, nearly 18 years ago. At the time I was short on money so I chose a polyester blend for the back. This has worn so well that it has no holes at all.
The front, however, is not so well-preserved. I made several samples with indigo in college using Japanese style stitched resists. These were made with new muslin. After that, I made took two of my skirts over and dipped them in the indigo. I knew it would be a long time before I had access to a vat of indigo. These skirts were already worn, one I had since high school and the other was a cheap cotton chambray. In any case, these have worn away.
I have two strategies for mending this quilt, the addition of the fish. These worked pretty well until it became clear that soon I would no longer have fish, but a red border. Then I took some pieces from another indigo piece I had and sewed them on in the style of slow cloth. This has been an interesting study for the front of the quilt.
But I was looking at this quilt today from the back and it is even more interesting. The white on blue works well in the context of this Japanese-influence quilt referencing back to sashiko stitching.
It is definitely one of those times when serendipity happens.