January 9, 2014

Quilted moments

Two months ago today I finished the quilt I started in July.  A day late for the baby's 6 month milestone in November.  The majority of this quilt was sewn in a state of frustration, exhaustion, tears.  None of which had to do with the quilt and all of which had to do with being the mother of a 2-6 month old.

For example, most 'geese' were made one afternoon while my husband took the baby away for two hours.  I had called him home from work because I couldn't face being a mother that day.  The rest were made in tears one night after the baby finally went to sleep a week later at the end of another trying day.  For awhile, the quilt was keeping me sane.  It was something to look forward to in the few moments the baby didn't need me.

This quilt, though not for me, provided me with a connection to who I was before the baby.  A connection that was very weak, still is, and threatening to break completely.  It meant a lot to have it waiting for me.  If it had been for myself it would probably still be on a shelf.  So much I did for myself before the baby seems postponed indefinitely.  As this was for someone else I made myself find the time to chip away at the project.

It was the perfect combination of directed work and improvisation.  The geese served as somewhat mindless work which became meditative at a time I needed to loose myself in something repetitive.  The improvisation, in the form of the layout, came at a time I craved some creativity with minimal mess.  Taping geese to the dining room wall while the baby bounced nearby meant I could work on the composition over time.  I could look at it all day and consider changes or notice happy accidents without having to pack it up at the end of the baby's naps.  The fate of geese for quite a few weeks.

Piece by piece it came together and it was time to quilt and then bind.  A fair amount went wrong.  I had a fair amount of unpicking and fixing and before the baby I would have outlined each one for you with pictures. Post-baby I realize dwelling on and pointing out my faults and mistakes is not only a waste of time but also, occasionally, an exercise in reverse bragging.  Not allowing myself to be proud or excited about each quilt because of imperfections only visible to myself.

Imperfections make quilts the very special things they are.  Imperfections make people the very special things they are.  Perhaps a bit deep for talking about a simple quilt but I find the story that comes with the making of the quilt, makes the quilt.

I pulled the last few stitches of the binding just before the babies were due dinner.  I bundled up my baby, ran up the street to the other baby, delivered the quilt, enjoyed a glass of wine and returned home.  It wasn't until after I put the baby to bed I realized I didn't take a picture of the final product.  The closest I have is a quick Instagram of the dining room wall.

And even in this last moment with the quilt there is a lesson.  So much of my day is getting through the schedule of events to get to the next nap time.  I frequently get to the end of the day and realize I didn't take the time to enjoy my son.  I wake up and he's eight months old and I can't remember when he first grabbed at a toy or sat up.  I do, however, remember the first time he rolled over.  It was the night before I sent him away with his dad while I created some geese.

That moment will forever be locked in someone else's quilt and I will never forget it.


  1. Isn't it strange how drastically everything changes when you have a baby, even the most simple things? I'm glad you're still quilting - it's a great design, and finding ways to find yourself as a person and a mom.

  2. I found sewing post-children. The tears frustration and exhaustion are well remembered though, and the person I am is different from the person I was. Funny how all the rewards are so worth it. Congratulations on passing 6 months mark (and finishing such a cute quilt)