Last summer I had a total hip replacement due to a too-close encounter with our large (92 pound!) Lab mix. He meant well – I think he was genuinely trying to get out of my way, but instead he tripped me and the fall fractured my left hip. After my very first ambulance ride ever (and, yes, the EMTs were really strong), the doc described it as a “catastrophic fracture”, not repairable with pins, plates and screws. Thus, a total hip replacement. In this case, the procedure was Makoplasty, a robot-assisted surgery. When I saw the x-ray of my new hip, I thought the shape resembled a doll of sorts. Thus, in my painkiller-assisted recovery, I created this Super Makoplasti-Girl Doll.
When I went to my post-surgical follow-up visit, this is the image that was on my doctor’s computer screen. Now, maybe it was the pain meds talking, but I really visualized a head, neck and body. Or maybe it was the art dolls showing up on my Pinterest feed. Or both. In any event, I was on my way down the rabbit hole.
I needed focus and a deadline, and a group challenge fit. The assignment: Create a quilt (or something else) using complementary colors. An art doll fit the “something else” category. For complementary colors, I consulted Joen Wolfrom’s Ultimate 3-in-1 Color Tool. I chose a blue-green silk dupioni scrap for the hat, so I passed the appropriate tab from the color tool across my stash and pulled a range of complements for the body.
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Clearly, I had no commercial pattern to refer to, so I made my own by tracing a photocopy of the x-ray. Just add seam allowance!
I started with a muslin base and foundation pieced crazy quilt style to create the neck and body. Stitch, flip, press, repeat with bits of silk and hand-dyed cotton. The values range from light to dark, but all complement the blue-green silk hat. To carry the complement visually from the hat to the body, I couched loose threads that I pulled away from the edge of the silk scrap. A random criss-cross design worked well with the crazy piecing.
I stitched front and back together, right sides together, leaving a hole for turning. Every quilter has batting scraps, and I used some of mine to shape the body. She’s a little lumpy, but she represents me, so that works just fine!
Scrappy English paper pieced pentagons form the head, much like the soft stuffed balls we make for babies, but much smaller with 3/4-inch sides. The hat must fit over her head, so I used 1-inch pentagons. I made half of the “ball”, but twice, so that I could line the hat and finish the edges. To attach the hat, I added beads to the stitches.
But then the body needed beads, too. A factoid that may fall into the “too much information” category is that the surface of the prosthetic has a rough texture so that bone can grow onto it, securing it in place. The scattered beads on the body represent those little bits of bone, but much prettier!
Here she is, dancing in the rain!
When I showed Super Makoplasti-Girl to my surgeon, I thought he was going to fall out of his chair laughing! When I pulled her out of my bag, he said, “That looks just like your hip.” I replied, “Good! It’s supposed to!”
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