Friday, June 29, 2012

I made Evelyn a quilt because I love her

I made this quilt for Evelyn nearly a year ago.  I finished it and wound up never writing about it, but now I will because I love it and I'm proud of it and now she's going through a phase where she likes it.

She doesn't always like the things I make for her, so this new love of her quilt thrills my soul.  No exaggeration.

I love quilts.  I love fabric and I love squares (always squares) and I like sewing, even when it's slow.  I don't do it a lot, but I knew I'd be making a quilt for my baby a long time before she got here.  How else would she know I loved her?!

Somewhere in our closet, Cody has a hideous flannel quilt that some random girl gave one of his college roommates.  This girl obviously liked the guy more than he liked her, because she made a quilt and he wanted to throw it away.  Cody rescued it because he loves quilts.  Loves them.  The weight, the design, the way they just seem more substantial than a blanket.  He loves everything about them and I remember him saying--all the way back when we were friends and I was trying to figure out why he had his roommate's quilt in his bedroom--something about how he wished someone liked him enough to make him a quilt.

The next year I crocheted him an afghan, which seemed good enough for both of us.

Two years ago I finally tried to make him a quilt for Christmas.  I never wrote about that one, either!  I had planned for it to be this great surprise that I'd work on while he was at work, but then the sewing machine had other ideas and a needle broke in the middle of a flood and I sewed some things was terrible.  And there were pictures.  There's no need for you to see them.

I showed him the fragments of his Christmas present on Christmas Eve Eve, and he was very impressed.  And surprised.  I finally finished it during one of those snow days we had in February.  By the next year, we were planning a quilt for our nearly born daughter.

We didn't make that quilt.  The fabric didn't seem quite right, or quite her.  Time got away from us, and we had plenty of blankets and quilts to last forever.  And yet, I was buying and storing fabric here and there.  I keep clothes we can't wear anymore for sewing projects.  And so on and so on.

On the 4th of July, we enjoyed the holiday at home and I cut out squares.  I laid them out.  I laid them out again.

 Once Evelyn was napping, I sewed the squares into strips and sewed the strips into a quilt.  Evelyn woke up at some point and I made Cody entertain her while I ignored her in order to make her a quilt so she'd know I loved her.


They ran out and did some cool stuff at the grocery store while I laid down some batting (left over from Cody's quilt) on some backing (a fitted sheet with holes in it) and basted everything in place.

I left it alone for the rest of the week and then quilted about half of the blocks when I came home early and Cody and Evelyn were still napping.

The rest of the project was pretty slow.  There wasn't a lot of quilting to do, but I wanted to do it by hand because I have difficulties with sewing machines.  They're loud and fast, and the one my grandmother loaned me is pretty uncontrollable as far as speed and tension go.  Plus, I just love hand quilting.  My stitches are a little crooked, but not too terrible.  I stitched along edges to keep me relatively on track, and I knew it would hold everything together well enough.

Then I folded the backing down, pinned it, stitched it in place, and quilted a little line in the border some time in September.  

And did this:

And then we used it and life went on.  I didn't post much during that time.  I went to 3 funerals in about a month's time, Evelyn woke up a lot during the night because we moved her out of our room (I'm not sure why we didn't just move her back in for a little longer), my mom had surgery, and life did all those things that make you sit in front of a computer screen and go "This is stupid. I don't care what other people make and I'm sure no one cares about what I make." before I'd get on with the business of introducing solids and slogging through difficult days and enjoying happy days so much I didn't want to take a break from them to do much updating.

For the past month, Evelyn sits up and points to her bedroom when she's through nursing and ready for bed. I carry her to her bed and lay her down.  I put a pacifier in her mouth, and place her teddy bear by her right side.  She hugs him while I cover her in the quilt.  Then I stroke her hair a little, pat her feet, and say little goodnight things.  The quilt part of the routine is just for me.  I like to tuck her in, and I like doing it with the quilt I made.  It just makes me feel like a thorough mom.

Lately, though, Evelyn's been doing this thing where she likes security objects.  Or maybe she's just noticing things differently now.  Whatever the reason, she'll point to the quilt sometimes when we play in her room.  I put it on the floor and she sprawls out on it and pats it.

We were pretending to sleep on it the other day and I thought I should take some pictures of her on it and let you know I made a quilt for Evelyn because I love her.

Because I did.

And I do.


arkansaseden said...

Oh, I love this quilt! And I'm impressed with all of your hand stitches. Also, I ALWAYS want to see what people make and hear the stories behind the projects.

I also love the uncontrollable sewing machine made me think of the Weasleys' runaway car in Harry Potter. I love animated inanimate objects so much!

Jen said...

Thank you! I love seeing what people do, but at the time I finished this I still hadn't unfollowed some 'craft' blogs that weren't really all that focused on long-term crafts that required some degree of skill. After you wade through too much (any) "OMG modgepodge!" posts, you (I) just hate the world.

And that sewing machine is kind of aggressive and impatient and menacing. We do not understand each other. It's nearly, dare I say it, MEAN.

Amber said...

I love the fabric. I've been collecting fabric for Audria's quilt. I guess I should start one for Liam too. So that they know that I love them.

Jen said...

Yay! Not to sound like a sewing snob (because that would be hilarious coming from me), but I love it when people collect fabric over time. Quilts are such a big deal that it's pretty rare to walk into a store and see every fabric that's just right for what you want. I love how much quilts 'say', you know? I'm pretty sure you do.