Sunday, July 10, 2016

Life is Messy

Every person has their preferences in decorating. Some like minimalist stuff, clean lines, and neutral colors. Some people are bright and fun, some only want calming influences. I've noticed in the same way, quilters vary widely on the scrappiness factor.

I make a lot of scrappy quilts, and even if they aren't actual scraps, they are multi-fabric quilts.

I assembled this quilt center while I was working on the weighted blankets. Lots of different browns and greens, but incredibly color controlled. I used only dark greens, medium to dark browns. Even people who aren't normally scrappy fans, can usually handle a quilt this color controlled.

The other quilt top I assembled while working on the weighted blankets is this one.

The pieces in this quilt finish at 1x2 inches, and this is one of my "Kitchen Sink" quilts. You know, everything in there but the kitchen sink? These are my favorite kind of quilts, even when I see antique quilts, the ones that are so scrappy the design is lost, those are the ones that I love.

Why am I so enamoured by quilts that to most look like a scrappy mess? These quilts tell a story, the story of the makers life. It's not a neat example of their best work, it's a mishmash of moments, some happy, some sad, all memories that to the maker, are like a walk down memory lane.

My husband and I decided before we had kids, that we wanted me to be a stay-at-home mom. We raised five kids on one income, and times were pretty tight. I made a lot of my kids clothes to save money, and any time I purchased fabric, it was a big deal. When I look at this quilt, I see moments in time, captured in a scrap of fabric.

^See the black fabric in the middle? The one with the tiny rosebuds? My mother-in-law gave me that fabric, and I made myself a maternity dress out of it.

Based on the age of the other kids in this pic, I'd say I was pregnant with number 4 in this pic, and funnily enough, I'm leaning on my sewing machine. We lived in Moberly, MO here.

^The blue paisley? From DH's grandmother's stash, that I got when she passed away. The pink floral stripe? Matching dresses for my oldest two daughters and me.

^The blue fabric in the middle is cut too small to tell, but it's squid fabric from which I made shorts for my boys.

^That purple tone on tone? Matching Christmas dresses for my three girls.

^The light green calico just right of center? One of my favorite outfits I made for my middle daughter.

 The stripe fabric? A blouse for my oldest daughter.

So many things I've made through the years, so many memories.

The green fabric under the yellow stripe? I snagged that from my mom's stash, and made curtains for my boys bedroom. 

The light purple fabric, a Bible cover for one of my daughters.

Where other people see a scrappy mess, I see memories, clear and sure. Fabrics from maternity clothes, that I wore in the NICU in Texas, when they told me my oldest son was not likely to live (glad they were wrong!), fabrics from baby blankets I wrapped my babies in while I nursed them. There is a scrap from the very first quilt I even made, a crib sized quilt I made as a wall hanging for my oldest daughter. Scraps from before I had children, all the way to scraps from the quilts I've made my grandchildren. There is even a couple scraps from the purse I made one of daughters-in-law earlier this year! 

Is this the prettiest quilt I've made? No. Does the pattern get lost is the scrappiness? Yes. You know what, life is messy, and there isn't always a clear path. The more I worked on this quilt, the more I decided this is MY quilt. I'm not giving this one away, it will be my snuggle quilt. I've got just enough purple fleece left over from the weighted blankets to back it. No border, I'll just quilt it and bind with purple. I might be the only one who appreciates this quilt, but that's OK, it's mine.


phxquilt said...

What wonderful memories! It sounds like the perfect quilt for you.

Katie M. said...

Years ago I did the same thing - made a quilt from scraps from my children's clothing that I'd made them. I used it literally to rags. Was going to toss it when my oldest daughter grabbed it and said, "no way. That's mine and full of memories." She saw something in it that I didn't - the memories, not the fabric. It was one of my first quilts and not done very well. Tied instead of stitched... but her reaction made me look at quilts in a different light.