Monday, July 19, 2004

Little Girls, Like Butterflies, Need No Excuse...

This quilt is a very special one to me.  Not because it is a particularly challenging quilt, but because of the history behind it's creation.  The history goes all the way back to the very first quilt I ever made.  Back in 1986, I complained to my friend Marcia about being unable to even do my own clothing repairs because I had never learned how to sew.  Marcia graciously volunteere to teach me how to sew, and she decided to teach me by having me help make make a baby blanket for the first-born child of our friends Ken and Cindy.  I don't have any pictures of the blanket, but here is a pattern I threw together in Electric Quilt.
Marcia and I ended up becoming the Godparents for a little girl, named Emerald.  Marcia, rather unfortunately, had to have major surgery at the time of Emerald's birth, and was unable to help finish the blanket.  I bought an inexpensive Sears Kenmore sewing machine, and worked to finish the blanket.
The pattern we were working from had a picture of this baby blanket hanging on the wall over a crib, and that was the image I had for how it would be used.  When I mentioned this to Marcia, she informed me that "I didn't understand."  Well, she was right.  Emerald carried that blanket everywhere for years.  When it was lovingly retired, it was threadbare, filled with holes, and the batting had collapsed to one end because Emerald had picked out all of the ties over the years.  The blanket is now lovingly retired in a vacuum bag, having well earned its rest.
Two-and-a-half years, after Emerald's birth, Cindy gave birth to a second daughter named Azureen.  I am also Azureen's Godparent, and made her a baby blanket also.  So Emerald wouldn't get jealous, I made her a "big girl" blanket for her bed, done in a simple "whale block" pattern.  Shortly after Emerald's 5th birthday, the family moved to Japan, and then Singapore, where they were to remain until Emerald turned 11.
Fast forward to 1999.  I am visiting with them, now located in CT, and Emerald comes walking in to the room carrying the whale quilt I had made her when she was young and laid an "Uncle Rick, notice how worn this quilt is getting" on me.  The girl definitely knows how to push the "uncle buttons"  
I asked her if she would like to help make the quilt, and her eyes lit up.  We made a trip to the quilt shop that afternoon and I let her pickout the fabric.  At that point, we were sort of making plans on them coming up to Boston some weekend to work on it.  Well, somehow the stars must have been in incredible alignment, because about a month later, Marcia (now living in Omaha), had a business trip to Connecticutt.  She stayed over a few extra days, and the entire crew came up to Boston to work on the quilt.  We had sort of come full circle!
This was a blast.  This was the first quilt I had done in several years, and both girls jumped in worked on the sewing.  We really needed a second sewing machine, as both wanted to sew.  As a result of this weekend, Ken, Cindy, and both girls ended up being quilters.  Equally as important, it got me quilting again.  All of the quilts I've done over the last 4 years have been the result of that one weekend.  Never underestimate the importance of "quilt buddies" to keep the inspiration going!


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