Friday, July 12, 2013

quilting for community

I love to make baby quilts, and often ask my expectant friends for favourite colours or patterns, to give them a little say in the quilt's design and to make sure it looks nice in the nursery. I generally love the surprise factor -- the reveal -- and the many evenings of sewing spent thinking about the recipient.

With this quilt, though, I tried something slightly different -- instead of working on it alone and simply giving away the final product, I walked through the entire process together with my friend , to create this (very, very large) baby quilt for her soon-to-arrive little boy.

arlos quilt

We sorted through fabrics together while our combined five children played and squabbled and ate playdough at our feet. We planned out the design, decided on the "right" size of triangle, and then accidentally cut all the fabric to a different size anyway (which is also "right", it seems). We put children to bed and then escaped for evenings of sewing and catching up and the occasional chocolate truffle.

And, it turned out that what I had so arrogantly considered as "my gift to her" turned out to be much more of a gift to me. Several times a week, this amazing friend poured inspiration and encouragement and radical honesty into my life, and showed me a level of community that I hadn't known that I was missing.

How often do we (especially "we" mothers of young children) get to spend one-on-one time with anyone, let alone consistent, regular time with a friend? And how encouraging it is to be able to really listen and really be listened to. Another friend and I catch up properly every six months or so by strapping some combination of our children into the car and driving to IKEA in Houston, and finding our uninterrupted time to talk amidst six lanes of traffic. Perhaps this -- sewing together, collaborating on a quilt or other project -- is an excuse to make time this consistent sort of for one another, with, of course, the added bonus of something beautiful created along the way.

arlos quilt arlos quilt

With our holiday to England fast-approaching, this quilt has been fast-tracked, and is all ready for binding today (using this striped mustard fabric cut from a thrifted pillowcase!). More details on the fabrics used when I share the finished photos...


Serena Edwards said...

You are so right, the best thing about making a baby quilt is the element of surprise when you hand it over - also the thinking about the little one as you sew. How wonderful though that you got to sew with your friend on this one - I'm in love with that binding - great find :)

Nancy@OwensOlivia said...

It's gorgeous!

Red Red Completely Red said...

Serena -- yes! I love that part. I'm glad the fabric hoarder in me was overruled and this pillowcase could move on to bigger and better things!

Red Red Completely Red said...

Thanks so much, Nancy!