Shibori Quilt

As you may recall, I held a socially distanced shibori birthday party back in January with friends participating from five time zones across four countries. We each had shibori (indigo) dye kits and dyed quilt squares, which were then mailed back to me so I could create a community-made quilt, like a warm hug from everyone in a time where we couldn’t actually hug each other. I finished sewing the quilt back in March, but then I never did the follow-up post to share it with everyone. So here we are! First, a look back at all the wonderful friends with their quilt squares in their various locations.

I waited several weeks to receive all of the squares, and sadly we lost two to the postal service, but I substituted two extra squares that I had made, so the friends could still be represented. Then I arranged all of the grids on the floor, with the cute little name tags I made everyone. Here’s the before and after of the layout, and all sewn together!

The trimming stage, which happened between the two photos above. All of the squares got cut down to match with clean edges.

Sewing the front together was relatively quick and easy after keeping the stack in order and all organized. Then it was time to sew on the batting and backing, and to quilt across the squares with invisible thread. I opted for a self-binding quilt, which means the border on the front is just made with the backing fabric itself.

I could have sewn the borders with the invisible machine quilting as well, but I decided to add a bit more of a handmade touch, with hand stitching inspired by the Japanese sashiko technique. 

And then I debated for a while what to do about the back of the quilt, but I started by tracing the quilted grid and ultimately decided to continue with a bunch of longitudinal lines all hand-stitched across the back.

I even brought the quilt to work on during our Tahoe trip and finished it there!

Et voila. The finished quilt, which now lives on my bed and reminds me of the love of my community!

Thank you so much to all of my friends who participated in this birthday project and helped to make me this most wonderful gift. I hope you all get to come and visit the quilt in person some time!

Anna Wu is a wedding and portrait photographer based in San Francisco. She creates beautiful, soft, and timeless imagery while capturing the most fleeting of moments. View her work at, follow her daily adventures on instagram, or contact her to book your own session today.