|Stack of quilts - Lily, Nina, Ruby, Grace|
I can no longer remember what I thought it would be like to be a mother before I had children.
In my professional life, many things turn on the notion of foreseeability. It's a much harder question than you'd think, legally, but in my real life most things are foreseeable: tiredness makes everyone grumpy; if there is only one pink plate and two three year old girls, there is likely to be a fight; if you sit quietly in a corner and read, small people will gather (good when you're doing parent duty at kinder, not so good when you're trying to finish a book for book club).
However there are a few things that have occurred since becoming a parent that I really never could have foreseen. I never would have thought that the first poo my offspring did in the potty would get eaten by the dog. I didn't foresee that whilst inspecting a child's itchy bottom at 2am I'd see a live worm wiggling at me. I never imagined I would discover first hand that colds spread when someone else's snot drips into your open mouth.
I am a great one for saying aloud, (or quietly thinking to myself) the things I will never do. And yet a day, a week, a year later those are often the very things I find I am doing. And so it was with quilting
I never was particularly fond of quilts. When I began sewing about four years ago I was quite certain that quilting would never interest me. When a friend's mother took up quilting and told me how much I would love it I smiled politely and silently thought "never in a million years". I like quick gratification in my craft and quilting is the opposite of quick. All those little pieces to measure and cut and sew.....
Then one day I had a conversation with my friend who was expecting twins. It was summer and three or four times I had started knitting baby blankets for those twins and three or four times I had unpicked all my knitting because it didn't look right, or the colours were wrong or the wool scratchy.
My friend told me that her obstetrician had advised that the twins were "running out of room" and that she might go into labour at about 33 weeks. When she told me this, she must have been about 31 weeks pregnant and, to my shame, instead of concern that she might have reasonably premature babies, my first thought was "there is no way I'll be able to knit two baby blankets in 2 weeks".
So I scrambled for an idea and looked through my stash (that was another thing I promised myself I would never have) and thought that a simple strip quilt for each was doable in the time.
I picked out a group of fabrics that seemed to go together and laid them out and sewed them up and I was so completely pleased with myself and my efforts, and so thoroughly in love with the result, that I could hardly sleep. There was nothing particularly fabulous about those quilts, and indeed looking at them now is slightly painful - so many things I would have done differently...
|Free motion quilting Grace's quilt|
And yet, I leap into that fray. The Bernina is too good for me (that's it in the corner of this photo). Far superior sewers have far inferior machines. This makes me feel like the sort of poseur who dons a 'king of the mountain' bike jersey and rides a custom made $5000 bike to Brunetti's for coffee. Still, I'm learning. In ten years I hope the Bernina will not be too good for me.
In the meantime, my imperfect efforts give me pleasure, brighten our rooms, warm my children and provide a permanent testament to this "woman's work".