I’ve wanted to make her a quilt for years. My friend left her old life, and forged forward into her new life. Which meant a new-place-to-live. Is there a better house-warming gift than a handmade quilt? I think not.
I began working on her lap-sized quilt, in colors I thought she’d like. I chose a giant, log cabin block for the main portion with the traditional red block in the center. This symbolizes hearth and home. Evening stars complete the top and bottom borders.
I prefer to quilt using a free-style all-over quilting pattern, but my old sewing machine can’t handle that job anymore. So the echoing “x” pattern I chose to quilt the center pleased me nonetheless.
Until I washed it.
(I usually wash a quilt before gifting it, because unnoticed problems can surface after a washing: a sprung seam, bleeding color, and so on. Proper adjustments can be made to the quilt, and then it is ready to give.)
The quilt back and batting—the middle cushy part— shrunk in the wash, and the quilt top bubbled up more than I like. Some people love the crinkled, old fashioned look a quilt can acquire after being washed. My preference is for quilts to have a modest or minimal amount of crinkling.
In twenty years of quilting, I’ve never had a quilt crinkle to this extent. Too much.
Needless to say, the crinkling of the quilt I’d labored on disheartened me. I don’t have the time to rip the quilt apart and start over, and I also used up the fabrics for this quilt, so I don’t have enough left to make her a new one.
Of course, I asked another friend’s opinion. “Would you still gift the quilt, even though it’s not perfect?”
Of course, as friends go, my friend assured me that the quilt is still beautiful and I should gift it.
I, feeling disgruntled about a less-than-perfect gift, debated whether or not to give it.
Then I remembered another quilt. Not one I made, but one given to me.
Recently, I’d sat with my ten-year-old daughter while going through her things to declutter and get rid of outgrown items. Several baby blankets went into the donation bag. When a pink and yellow toddler-sized quilt surfaced, I reached for it, “No, not that one! I’m keeping this one.”
My daugher has long outgrown the blanket with flowers and butterflies, quilted with an all-over floral pattern. Some of the stitches are uneven and some of the stitched loop-de-loops are jagged instead of curved due to an inexperienced hand. But this quilts stays.
When my daughter was born, my friend Jules, breathless with excitement, had showed up at my door bearing a gift. “I made you something!” she’d said.
When I tore open the package, I held up a baby quilt. Before I could say anything, my friend’s face clouded for a moment, “The stitching isn’t very good.”
The work of her hands. For me, and my new daughter.
Looking at her, I’d replied, “That doesn’t matter. I love it!”
Now a decade later—I’m won’t part with the quilt Jules made.
Today—I’m going to give the crinkly-quilt I made to my friend.
She’ll love it.