Saturday, April 11, 2009
This is the first quilt I ever made. Please, feel free to look closely and judge me. It's -- as some quilters might say -- a train wreck. I've missed corners, sewn seams that have come undone, messed up some of the blocks so badly entire parts of the pattern disappear. A real botch job. And while it is true I didn't intend to screw up, I knew I would. It was my first quilt. I intentionally tried as many block patterns as I could. I was teaching myself to quilt and I wanted to try my hand at everything. In the back of my mind I told myself it was a practice run and no one would have to see it. I also told myself I would make another one, a real one that I would show people and be proud of. With those notions, I forged ahead with confidence.
Then I had my first kid. For sake of parallel construction you could say, this is the first kid I ever made. I found it was a little harder to find time to sew. And though I wanted to make the perfect baby quilt for him, I still haven't (he'll be starting school this fall). I dreamed he would carry that perfect quilt around with him, love it, be tucked in under it at night, tie it around his neck when he was short a superhero cape. I still dream it, but I know it won't happen.
And here's the thing, as I was making his bed yesterday (with the quilt) I realized I didn't want to make him another quilt. My first quilt, for my first boy -- it is meaningful to me. Turns out, quilting is not unlike parenting. You try a little bit of everything and sometimes you really screw it up. But you don't get to start, again. You can't bring yourself to scrap the project and try again. Surrounded by colossal mess, you just keep trying to do things to make it presentable. You could order a cuter, more fashion-forward one from Pottery Barn; but you want yours to be ... yours. Most of all, you LOVE it dearly for all the imperfections you've made.
I love my quilt, my first quilt, for all it's eccentricities, missing corners, lumps and bumps, and the way I cobbled it together with creative abandon. Perhaps I will parent with creative abandon and confidence, perhaps not.
Quilting forgives. I only hope children do, as well. Or at least, when the time comes I will remember (I hope) to ask for it.