Why quilt?

Like a three year old repetitiously trying new words, my mind sticks on this one: ‘why’ — why, why, why, why, why.  In my life, I have often pondered why…  Not the larger-than-life, “why are we here” questions, but the smaller, every day whys.  Why do things happen as they do?  And there is no judgement or jealousy in my questioning, just a simple why is it what it is?

This blog is my attempt to explore the why.  It’s my way of trying to join together the pieces of my life and to make it complete, like a quilt.

Quilting is my creative expression and I want to use my quilting projects to explore the why.  My quilting projects have taken a backseat to the roles I play in life: wife, biological mom, foster mom (former), sister, daughter, aunt, friend.  But my quilt projects are inspired by these roles, and sometimes thwarted, too.  My UFO pile is growing and growing and was the main reason for starting this blog.  I hoped that by bringing those UFOs out of the closet and into the light, the motivation to complete them would magically appear!  Did it happen?  Nope!

Instead, in making a list of the UFOs, I saw the emotions attached to each project.  Here is where it gets personal.

We quilters love to make a quilt for those we love.  New babies born to friends, newly married sisters and brothers, teens headed off to college, sons and daughters graduating to a bigger bed: all are reasons to celebrate with a new quilt.  The love that inspires the hours of work is obvious, but have you ever thought about the other emotions that are there?  Maybe there’s a twinge of sadness that the new baby is not yours, when you’ve been trying to get pregnant for years.  Maybe that project you picked up at the quilt shop reminds you too much of a dear friend who lives far away.  Maybe you just can’t face the fact that your little boy is growing up.

The emotions tied to each of my UFO’s stalled it’s completion.  These emotions are my biggest obstacle in sharing my creativity with those I love and I don’t know any other way to handle them besides completing the project, as hard as it is.

My son and I started on a wall quilt many years ago, when he was about five or six.  We designed it together and I was going to teach him to use the sewing machine while we pieced together an abstract Star Wars design.  Of course, we got busy with other things, and he wasn’t as interested in learning to sew as I was in teaching him.  As time passed, it was harder and harder to return to this UFO because I had so wanted this to be a bonding time for us.  I carefully folded it away until we had time to return to it.

My son’s quilt was on the top of my UFO list.  When I finally sat down to complete it, it took about four hours, but my emotions took longer to process.

My little boy was growing up and he was no longer little.  He is becoming a fine young man: smart, strong, kind, respectful and amazing.  I cried as I completed that quilt and the tears soaked into the fabric.  All the dreams I had and have for him, some of which may never come to be, flowed with the tears.  With each stitch I released my son to his own dreams, his own desires, and his own life.

The rest of my UFO list might be harder to tackle, but I am determined to complete it this year.  Here it is, in all its unstitched glory!

1) Finish baby quilt for my nephew JJ, who just turned TWO!  I started this quilt before he was born!     COMPLETED!

2) Bed quilt for my mom, started two (or is it three?) years ago!    COMPLETED!

3) A quilt for my nephew Zachary.  I wasn’t quilting when he was born, and he’s now a teenager.

4) A manly-looking quilt for my son, for when we re-do his room to suit his teenage style. — In Process

5) Quilt for my oldest sister, not started yet.  I made a quilt for my dad, and started one for my mom, and then planned to make one for each of my sisters in turn.

6) Spring wall hanging with embroidery.  This is a kit I purchased at a quilt shop with my friend, and fellow quilter, Diane.  We don’t live near each other anymore and I find it hard to stay in touch, even though I think of her every day.

7) Bed quilt for my husband and I, because we celebrated our 15th anniversary last year.

What is on your UFO list?  What is holding you back from completing those projects?


4 Responses to Why quilt?

  1. Cori says:

    Your first paragraph is so YOU (and the whole post really). I can see you and your expressions as you say “why” in full curiosity, not expecting a certain answer or anything for yourself, just wanting to know why. It’s a great idea for a blog. Best wishes on your new adventure! :)

    • Pieceworker says:

      Thanks, Cori! I appreciate all the encouragement and ideas!

      • Janice says:

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  2. Sharon says:

    I love this.. They “why.” I am thinking of my many UFOs and I have already thought of why one of them never got done. I bought yarn, unknowingly, in two dye lots and didn’t realize my mistake until I had crocheted two entire skeins into the blanket that were the wrong dye lot. So now I have two strips that are a different color, in a solid colored blanket. I have just now decided that I will rip out the blanket and re-do it, taking out those skeins.. Then I will be able to finish the blanket and give it to someone.. or even use it on my bed. I can’t even recall right now who I originally intended it for….

    Thank you for this post..


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