My mother before me was a crafter, too. When I was little she had a cake-decorating business–I had some cool birthday cakes as a little kid, and so did my brother. When I hit my teen years she found quilting and enjoyed it until her death. I have things that were my mother’s, but one of my most cherished items is the quilt she made me for my 16th birthday. The colors (pink and black) are not so much “me” anymore, but I love it still. I was a typical selfishly oblivious almost-16-year-old when I asked her to make a scalloped edge on it. I was clueless as to the extra work that it would bring her. But she did it, and hand-quilted the entire thing, too. Yeah, she was pretty wonderful. I’m glad I was able to begin appreciating her before she died. I think when she left this life we were on more than good terms with each other.
I wanted to leave L4 with a sort of legacy gift like my mother did with me. As we were finally transitioning her to a “big girl bed” (we’d been in no hurry because she still fit in the toddler bed and it wasn’t costing us anything like a new one would) I decided that I would make her a quilt for the new bed. (Papa, my dad, is designing and making her the new bed, hopefully sometime in May. Right now her mattress is on the floor!) L4 became excited about the prospect of a “big girl quilt” because she already has a little one that I made for her before she was born that she just has loved to pieces–literally it is coming apart a bit. I went through many iterations before I finally decided on a pattern, the Mod Sampler Quilt for the Quilt Along that Oh! Fransson hosted (see this link for the instructions/pattern).
The making of this quilt was an odessy for me. First, I traveled to a different city to get the majority of the fabric for it. L4 had given me specific color requirements: blue, green, yellow, and purple. Yes–my now 4-year-old knows her mind. She’s been like that always. Finding the fabric was a fun adventure with Kerry, who documented our road trip.
Next up was the cutting. It took me several hours and was a bit frustrating because of off-grain cuts and a wee bit of shrinkage. This is where my humble pie sewing began. My house might be a bit messy, but I like things all sorts of “right” when I craft, which sometimes makes the going a bit slow. And I get a bit tense when it isn’t just right.
My journey through humility continued as the sewing of the squares began. Because of the slight wonkiness from cutting, sewing wonkiness ensued. There were times when I had to stop sewing because I wanted to cry from frustration that it wasn’t turning our perfectly. Talk about a lesson in mindfulness! I had to stop and breath and realize that it was OKAY and that she would not hate it because corners weren’t lining up perfectly. And so eventually I finished sewing all of the blocks and went on with the project, and even let myself enjoy it!
The actual quilting was a joy. A shout-out to Kim: I didn’t do an entire quote, but I did quilt several words into the free motion work for her to discover when she’s older, along with her name. I chose words that I wanted L4 to have in her life and that would be a connection between us even when I’m gone. Though my mother didn’t do this in my quilt, I do like to run my fingers over all of those hand-stitches and feel connected to the energy and love she put in my quilt.
There were other snafus on the way to having a completed quilt. Going into this project I thought, “this is going to be great, no problem, maybe even easy.” I was wrong. I still have so much to learn and improve upon in my sewing repetoire. But it was a good lesson for me, this entire project. I am not perfect, I am not an expert, and that’s okay. I am still learning and enjoying the process, too. And, of course, I do love the end result: one happy L4.