“Handmade” wouldn’t exactly describe this past Christmas — or much of anything relating to the last few months! (Well, at least not as typically understood. This home and the kids in it are cared for and made “by hand”. Right?)
There was one handmade gift, though, that I was really wanting to pull off by December 24th: a quilt for the baby. I’d had it on my mental calendar since last spring, knowing that I’d want to wait to discover the gender before moving ahead. I also figured that by the time I finally got a little groove, but wasn’t totally out of the newborn sleep zone, Christmas would be a good deadline.
Then the debate about what to make. I bookmarked so many quilts. Thought about so many fabrics. Finally bought a whole stack of half yards (brand new! full price! oh my!), cut out every piece, laid it out on my table — and decided it wasn’t me. Then I asked every person who walked through what they thought, and it was unanimous: it wasn’t me. Bummer. I hate being stuck.
So I finally pulled out an old button-down shirt that was worn by Brietta, then by me, and finally tucked away because I loved the print that much. I kept pawing through my (beautiful new) closet of fabric bits and pieces and — ta-da! — a linen skirt, a linen curtain, some leftovers from this and that, and I had a quilt top! I guess that’s just the way I do projects: rummage and scrounge.
It was quick, simple, “modern”. 10 hours, perhaps? Even the hand-sewn binding went on quickly, as did the yellow running stitch embroidery I added to some of the solids (which I’d had in my head as the only must have for this quilt!)
So, for those of you curious (SAM!), here’s the quilt. And the baby. Because let’s face it; she’s way more fun to look at than any quilt!
We’re sitting here in the morning sun, breakfast and chores behind us, free to just enjoy fresh breezes and scent of grass. Boys happily play Legos at my feet. And she — this amazing she who has quietly slipped into our family circle — is curled on my chest, perfectly still. For many moments, I sit, thinking she sleeps. But then I move just enough to peek at her little face, and find eyes wide open. She’s not asleep at all, but happy to have her ear pressed against my chest, her sweet hands tucked under her head, just breathing and being.
William’s quilt, which was started in November, finally was completed on Friday. The piecing and quilting was all done before I headed to New York — and good thing, because William doesn’t sleep the day away anymore. I can’t imagine getting a quilt started now. In the 6 weeks since I’ve been home, I managed to turn a yard of fabric into bias tape (thank you, Amy Karol), and affix that binding in a much more polished way than I did with Jameson’s quilt. Yes, that meant hours of hand sewing, but I didn’t mind. Sitting in the evening with my basket of scissors, needle, and thread is a luxury I enjoy. (Probably because it doesn’t happen more than once a week, thank you William!)
This quilt project was fun. I’m certainly not an accomplished seamstress, and definitely a clueless quilter. But one thing I’ve enjoyed about the new wave of craft enthusiasm is the “express yourself” that’s at the core. In other words, know enough rules to not be frustrated, but don’t be worried if you don’t know them all. Have fun.
So William’s quilt is certainly one of a kind. It’s wonky, yes. I’m sure there are a million things a true quilter would cringe over. But it’s also just what I wanted: a larger pattern than Jameson’s in the interest of saving time (do you know how long it took to piece Jameson’s 1.5 inch squares???), odd-shaped squares, white space, a bit of log cabin, and a cool striped binding that I made myself. And colors that compelled me to get the quilt done in the first place.
All on the cheap.
And all wrapped around one of the sweetest, happiest, smooshiest, loviest babies ever. Yes. I love him.