People always say, “every quilt tells a story”. I’m not the type to lay down quilt “rules” but that saying right there is a knock-down, full-on truth. Quilts come together slowly and they take attention and care. Consideration goes into color and placement; size and direction. Quilters find balance while maintaining interest.
Then there are the physical considerations. By the nature of their size, quilts sit in your lap and cascade over your arm. Basting a large quilt means you are bending over and sitting on and touching and touching and touching. Once you arrive at the quilting stage for a large quilt you are practically wrestling. It’s a physical and mental engagement on so many levels and for hours and hours. Certainly, that in and of itself is a story. Yes, every quilt tells a story.
Yet, even after the story of making the quilt has been told there is the story of the quilt itself. This story includes the reasons why it is being made and for whom. Why the colors call your name and what emotion the quilt is expressing…serenity, quiet joy, buzzing activity, expressive happiness, restorative calm, melancholy, thankfulness. A quilt can tell you all those things. It’s really amazing how much can be said with nothing but fabric.
I have a quilt story to tell and I will be honest, I’ve started writing this blog post so many times but haven’t been able to finish it until now.
I’m so happy I was trusted to make this quilt but I really wish I didn’t have this quilt story to tell you. That it just never had been needed. This is a quilt that sat in my lap while I cried, my mute and emotionless sewing machine just waiting for me, its little light shining, completely unaware I need to take a moment and get it all out. I considered not even talking about this at all because I wasn’t sure how to share, I try to use this blog to put inspiration and joy out into the world.
But, it seemed a very important quilt story and maybe even one that touches lots of people. The kind of story we avoid telling but should be talking about.
This quilt honors a baby that didn’t live past her first beautiful hour.
Her name had been chosen, her nursery decorated and a collection of blankets and towels sat waiting with her name…boldly declaring a welcome to the world that she never got to see. A handful of those blankets and towels came to me and I worked with the family to harmonize a few quiet, solid colors that would work alongside them into this scrappy, memory quilt.
The story of this quilt is one of sadness and grief but also, I hope, a little bit of healing.
The rest of the story with the doctors and the autopsy and the unknowns, it isn’t mine to tell, I only know about the quilt. I know it’s quietly and softly touching on a difficult moment in a family’s life. I’m so honored to have been trusted to tell it.