Sebastian, Literally

>> Sunday, December 30, 2012

Barring some radical shifts in the US population's naming preferences, my name is never going to crack the top 1000 baby names, as measured by the Social Security Name Database (a fascinating dataset, for those statistically inclined or trend curious). Which I rather like. At least now -- there was the crushing childhood realization that I would never find my name plastered on magnets or keychains or the like (which my siblings could, in fact, purchase). But I've recovered from that discovery and rather enjoy possessing an unusual (in the US) name, even if it sometimes causes pronunciation consternation (in others; I know how to say my name, though some native Hebrew speakers might dispute my Americanized version) and gender confusion (theoretically this could be explained by the fact that my name in Hindi denotes a male, but somehow I don't think that's why I get emails sent to Mr...).

Sebastian, in contrast, has enjoyed a popularity curve worthy of a roller coast ride. One hundred years ago, it rested at 567, but by 1950, it fell out of the top 1000 names. A decade later, it poked its way back in, and then, for about a quarter century, toggled between the mid-700s and the mid-500s. By 1986, it started its upward climb and, at the turn of the 21st century, it jumped into the top 100. For the past 2 years, Sebastian has rested comfortably as the 68th most popular boy's name in the US. But when asked to make a quilt for a baby named Sebastian, I knew nothing of this history.

I simply knew that the baby was named for a family friend's deceased father and they wanted a quilt that reflected this meaningful name choice. I chose to be literal, and I made the name the visual centerpiece of the quilt. I paper-pieced the letters (3"x4") from templates I made (inspired by these). The "a" turned out to be my favorite, though whether that's because of the shape or the fabrics used, I'm not sure. I used blues and greens from my scrap bin and stash, and arrayed the letters on a dark-light-dark spectrum, all set against Kona Mustard.

To add some visual interest, I pieced some squares and rectangles together, and added them above Sebastian. As is my habit, I improvised as I pieced -- adding, trimming, debating, selecting, rejecting (aka seam-ripping), and adding some more. The crinkling derives from unevenly spaced straight-line quilting. The back of the quilt is Michael Miller flannel (Zoology in Sea), which is delightfully soft. Whether or not Sebastian has made its way on to magnets and keychains, but this Sebastian has at least one thing with his name labeled with his name.


Karissa December 30, 2012 at 8:56 PM  

Aww, this is great! What a lucky little boy already!

sews1128 December 30, 2012 at 9:37 PM  

Reminds me of the quilt we made for Katherine a few years ago, but Sebastian's is much more creative.

felicity December 31, 2012 at 12:44 AM  

Beautiful - I love the fabric placement in the letters - extra zing! I feel your "never going to find a keychain with my name on it" pain. I considered going by my (far less unusual) middle name when I started high school, when being different isn't such a great thing, but I never got around to it and I'm now very glad. Not going to lie, though, the TV show Felicity was a boon for me - far fewer befuddled looks when I told people my name!

Lee January 20, 2013 at 5:54 PM  

Beautiful quilt, what a lucky boy! And by the way, I had a good friend growing up who had your first name. : )

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