Quilting has lost some of its joy for me since my husband died. Before he died, I used to make baby quilts for just about every family member or acquaintance that was expecting a little one. It was something I enjoyed doing.
Somewhere along the way, I think people in my life began to get excited or started to expect to receive a quilt from me. I’ve had friends joke with me that they will have to have a baby in order to get a quilt from me. I tell them it’s probably true. I like baby quilts — they’re done before I get bored of the project and I can quilt them easily enough myself. I don’t like sending out my quilts to be quilted… I’m self-conscious about my piecing and basting.
This past year I made the painful decision to sell the home my husband and I bought together, brought our baby home from the hospital to, the place my husband breathed his last breath. I finished two quilts I had in progress before I had to pack up and move. A friend of mine was having a baby shower about a month after my move and try as I might, I didn’t get the quilt done before the move and afterwards I was up to my eyeballs unpacking a three bedroom home by myself and helping my eighteen month-old son adjust. I just didn’t have the energy or inclination to quilt. At the shower I gave her another gift and apologized that I didn’t have time to make her a quilt… probably the first time in seven years I came to a baby shower without one. Mom-to-be was very gracious and told me not to worry, she understood all that was going on in my life. Her mother (grandma-to-be) then joked that I still had the first year to deliver the quilt (a joke about gift etiquette, I suppose?).
For some reason that really took the wind out of me. I’ve always viewed my quilts as a labor of love given to people I care about in order to be cherished. When I start a project I usually have a recipient in mind and I think about them the whole time I’m working on it. I don’t want it to be viewed as an item on a list people expect to receive. I’m not explaining it well, but it’s bothered me ever since. I know my friend would hate to know her mother’s comment affected me this way.
Recently, a good friend of my late husband’s had his first baby with his wife. I was inspired to quilt again; I knew my husband would have loved for me to make one for them. I chose a very simple but cute pattern and started choosing and cutting fabrics. Unfortunately, I think the walls in the new house must be thinner because the sewing machine seems to wake my son up at night. I’m getting frustrated with quilting again.
I have so many projects I want to do, but so little energy and time. I think that’s a dilemma all quilters face though, especially those with young children. April Rosenthal recently posted this paper piecing tutorial I want to try. Maybe if I switch between a few projects, I will be less frustrated. I’m not used to working that way but it seems to work for a lot of quilters. I’m going to give it a try.
– Mike’s T-shirt Quilt: Shirts picked, need to decide on design and backing/background fabrics.
– Baby Young Quilt: Cut, need to finish piecing