Hey, it's Friday–time for another look at a baby quilt from my book but it's a box, The Little Box of Baby Quilts. I thought up the name for this quilt, "Silly Stripes and Doodle Dots," before I ever put a design on paper.
From The Little Box of Baby Quilts, copyright 2007 Jenny Wilding Cardon/That Patchwork Place. Machine quilted by Cheryl Brown.
The inspiration for starting this quilt was obvious. I wanted to use lots of bright striped and dotted fabrics. Sounds easy enough. But no quilt comes without her own little hurdles. Even though I had been quilting for more than ten years, I had no striped or dotted fabrics. Not even a strip or a scrap.
Yep. There's a story there.
I had been quilting for almost ten years when I had Jack in 2004. Then, three weeks earlier than expected, I suddenly had a baby. A baby. A baby in my care, when I had never been around babies in my entire life. A baby. A baby who cried every night for three months solid, for three or four hours a night. A baby. A baby who demanded my complete attention, always. All ways.
Frankly, I was scared of that baby. When he cried he scared me, when he coughed he scared me, when he slept he scared me (yes, I was the kind of mom that woke the baby up to make sure he was still alive). I was a mess. I was a mess in my mind, a mess in my heart. When I was pregnant I tried not to have any expectations of what motherhood would be like, but geez. I didn't think it was going to be like THAT.
I decided I needed to get rid of any distractions in my home so I could focus more intensely on this adorable, terrifying baby of mine. I mean, for good or bad, he was here–I needed to make the best of our situation, right? Quilting was a huge distraction. Not just the act of quilting itself, but the clutter I had created around quilting too. I called up our local quilt guild and told them I had some fabric to donate. Like, seven garbage bags full. Except for a small pile of batiks and some batting, a nice lady came from the guild and hauled away all of my fabric. The guild was working on a service project for an Indian reservation here, so it was good timing.
I made that call without a thought. Just picked up the phone. The next day, my ten-year-old stash was gone. And somehow, I felt so much better. For months afterward, I focused on that baby of mine with all my might. ALL MY MIGHT. And then, slowly, a routine kicked in. And then he smiled. And then he babbled. And then he wanted mama. And then it was okay. Big, satisfying sigh. Everything was going to be alright after all.
And then I was like OH MY GOSH WHAT WAS I THINKING??? My stash is gone. GONE!!!
What else was there to do? I started building a new one. All new stripes, all new dots. I now have a four-year-old stash that looks nothing like my first stash. Funny how a baby can change what you see, what you enjoy, what you choose. Even all the way down to your fabric.
If you have a stripey and dotty stash, this quilt will come together like a lightning bolt. The pattern is incredibly simple–just squares to cut and sew, cut and sew. Raw edges mean super-easy sewing and lots of texture for baby's hands to explore. It's really a fun quilt to make, and fast from start to finish. (As long as you have at least a few scraps of fabric on hand to start with.)
The moral of my little story for quilters? If you're feeling dragged down by your stash, pack it in your GARAGE for heaven's sake. The moral of the story for new moms? With the skills and the personality and the character you have, just do your best. If it's been a rough start for you and baby, don't imagine a future filled with only rough starts–just focus on the one day you're in. And be patient. That baby will come around. And when he does, he will be the light of your life. Most of the time.
Next week comes the quilt "I Love Mama." It actually says that in the center of the quilt. And why not? Babies DO love their mamas! Looking forward to your visit back here next week.