My great-grandparents were original homesteaders. My grandmother learned to sew out of necessity and would make dresses for her sisters based on pictures from order catalogues. She taught me to sew (and crochet) and I had been sewing most of my life; I would always have a project or two in the machine – up to the moment when my kids didn’t want “clothes made by Mom” anymore. The sewing machine then gathered dust for many, many years.
I missed sewing, and in October, I decided it was time to revisit my old passion. I had always made clothes, but decided to try my hand at a quilt. I actually had made one quilt previously for my daughter when she was a baby (25 years ago), so I decided it was my son’s turn. When I started, I thought I should have made something smaller, more manageable for my first project in more years than I care to count – but I don’t know, go big or go home? No guts no glory? I picked colours and a pattern that I hoped would be manly enough for my 27 year old son. I think the last item I made for him was a horse Halloween costume.
I made this quilt as a Christmas gift. Every row was made with love, every row made with my son in mind. I wasn’t sure about colours once I got them home, wasn’t sure I was up to the task after such a hiatus, wasn’t sure he would like it, wondered what the heck I was thinking; I only had two months before Christmas! However, as I sewed, as each block came together, I knew he would love it. In fact, I couldn’t believe how much I loved it. When he opened his present on Christmas and said “WOW!!” that was all the thanks I needed.
As it had been so long since I had done any major sewing projects, I picked a log cabin pattern for the straight lines. Ruler, mat, sewing machine, batiks, pattern, a hope and a prayer. I made each strip at once so I could chain-stitch, but wished I had made one block first, just to get a feel of how it would come together and what considerations needed to be made.
I took my time pressing each section, focusing on seams going the right direction, reading tips, but still material shifted here and there and not all the points were perfect. This annoyed me to no end in the beginning. Having sewn only clothes in the past, where perfect points and seams were everything, these little deviations bothered me. Then I read some sage advice, about not sweating the little shifts – consider an imperfection part of the signature of the quilter. I loved this advice – I owned it – reminded me that quilting is for fun. Not to say I didn’t attempt to improve on seams for my next quilt, but I forgave myself for not having all perfect corners and took joy in my finished project.
I have since sewn another quilt, and have material ready for the next, but this one makes me the most proud because after so many years from sewing I took a leap of faith that I could make a quilt worthy of a gift. It was. My son loves it, and for me it is all the more special that my first project after all this time was for a special person for the most special time of the year.
Maureen from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada