Last night as I was nursing and rocking my baby, my eyes wandered over to the closet, and my mind wandered onto a topic I have contemplated many times before: blankets. We have way more blankets in this house than any family of four could ever need! I’ve considered getting rid of some, but how? They are almost all attached to a person we love; our mothers and grandmothers and great-grandmothers (and even a few dear friends) have showered us with not just blankets, but quilts, beautiful personalized quilts.
I remember watching my mom sew at the kitchen table when I was a kid. And now I sit and sew at my own kitchen table and wish that I had taken notes while I watched her, or learned how to get my corners square or how to follow a pattern better. Luckily, I still can.
My husband’s grandmother sews every day, and she is eighty-six years old. In the past two years, she has sewn a quilt for each of the twenty members of her family and hundreds more for children who have no one else to provide them with one—no one, that is, except Grandma T.
Not too long ago I made a quilt with Rachel. It was for Jenni’s first little girl. Now every time I see that quilt, or a piece of the fabric we used in it, it takes me back to Rachel’s house, the wood floors and smell of lavender, our girls playing with a tin tea set while we cut and ironed and sewed; to the baby shower at Cali's house where we held up the quilt and had our picture taken together; memories shared and loved.
(don't be mad that I used this photo)
Both my daughters have chosen the blanket that they love the most. My youngest, Naomi, actually chose mine. The one blanket that she totes everywhere and snuggles with at naptime and bedtime (and many times in between) is the blanket that my grandmother made for me when I was born. It had holes and was tattered even before she got it, but it is a source of comfort and warmth to her, nevertheless.
I love the quilts and blankets that fill up my home—all of them. Some are flowered and some are patterned with Dora and Winnie the Pooh. Some are square, and some are too worn to have much shape anymore. I have my favorites, I do. But each one draws me closer to someone I love.
This tradition of quilting—of making a basic ordinary need into something beautiful—is something I have grown to love. I sometimes feel that my appetite for beautiful fabric and loving stitches is greater than my appetite for good food—but not quite.
And so, I sew. And I will continue to make quilts, stitched with love from generation to generation.