Tag Archives: quilting

Best Family Tradition Ever

My mother is an excellent seamstress! This gets her in to all sorts of trouble. Like the down jacket she hand stuffed for my sister as she headed off to college in frigid New Hampshire, or the time she agreed to make my wedding dress.

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Just a simple little thing to whip up in the midst of throwing a wedding in one’s garden!

But no project can match the hours my mom has spent over the years upholding the best family tradition ever- the quilts! It goes like this: pregnant moms pick a theme for their quilt and make a list of all the most important women in their lives in the months before the birth. Each important woman is sent a square of fabric and batting to embroider for the quilt. The assignment is welcomed by some and dreaded by others, I’m pretty sure. It seems not everyone is drawn to spend hours upon hours coaxing needle and floss into quilt square perfection, but most do it anyhow. Occasionally we find some serious talent hidden among us, but even the simplest squares carry lots of good love and support for the moms to gaze upon with bleary eyes during the inhumane hours newborns like to keep.  Inevitably there is a rush in the final days before the quilt shower to present the quilt- reminders are made, overnight mail packages arrive (or not! panic!). Finally a complete number of squares is pulled together and the arranging begins, weighing all the possible combinations.

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There is a lot of careful ironing…

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and straight sewing…

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… and far fewer exclamations of fury than my sewing machine is used to.

Common themes include children’s songs or nursery rhymes. I, of course, was drawn to more homestead related themes. O’s quilt theme was “Farm Animals and Their Products,” and this babe is to receive a “Beneficial Insects” quilt. Creative license was encouraged! My sister-in-law made a square of grasshoppers on a skewer- not an insect you would necessarily like in your garden, but an excellent protein source. My friend Kate made a City Bug in front of the Golden Gate Bridge, complete with rainbow flag flying in the distance. I made a square of the end-of-summer spiders whose webs booby trap our entire property August through October. They enjoy open spots at just about face level for web-making. Years ago, after a long commute by foot, BART train and Muni from Oakland to San Francisco, I told my nursing school friends about the particularly large specimen I came eyeball to eyeball with just before taking down her extensive web with my face that morning. Halfway through my recounting, one of my ladies began staring intently at my hair and uttered a most ominous “HOLD STILL” as she lunged in to sweep that very creature from my brow. Yeesh. The quilt also included many other beautiful and helpful bugs, each bringing with it a piece of its maker. Makes my mother’s, and gardener’s, heart swell.

In the end, thanks to all my favorite women,  we had this:

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Which later proved surprisingly hard to capture well on film. Trust me, this quilt is gorgeous in person. But here’s the idea:

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I’m scheduling this post to go out on this baby’s due date. Could be he has already arrived!

Or maybe I’m still waddling about.

Wish us luck!