I spent a lovely weekend with my mom and dad, mostly sewing.
There was also cooking, but that was Dad, cooking for us. It was his birthday weekend, after all.
There was also some movie and play-going, and tapas and sangria enjoying and aunt and uncle visiting. But for three days, Mom and I worked on a quilt for Alex, designed around her childhood t-shirts.
Sewing is part of my female heritage and genetic make up. Except that it sort of skipped me and went right to Kate. I love the concept of it, and I want to sew, but issues like changing the bobbin, broken needles and backwards patterns confuse and frustrate me. So I visit fabric stores, and then beg my mom to help me.
She made a quilt for Steve, out of his t-shirts, and it’s a family favorite. I decided it would be the perfect Grandma-to-Alex 16th birthday present. She wasn’t so sure, and there is an issue of arthritis in her hands (and upcoming surgery). But she was a good sport, and indulged me. We started off at Joann’s on Friday afternoon. I jokingly asked the saleslady/ cutter if this was the country’s largest Joann’s, and she very seriously said yes it was.
Alex had requested a quilt the same size as Steve’s (that would be 48″ x 72″) and that it was blue and cozy. She picked 20 t-shirts. London, Yellowstone, Kaua’i, baseball, turtles (lots of turtles), Goofy, Costa Rica butterflies, Toby’s Feed Barn… they were all there.
Mom and I pulled every single bolt of blue flannel and fleece (three shopping carts worth) and laid out our t-shirt samples. Mom did the math (once a schoolteacher), and I found more fleece for scarves (the kind that require no stitching, just straight cutting, which also proved to be a challenge).
I was responsible for cutting the t-shirts, and backing them, and trimming the backing, and pinning the 1/4″ border, and unpinning the 1/4″ border, and ironing Wonder Under to the 1/4″ border. And eventually laying out the shapes and pinning them. I believe I spent more time with an iron that I have in the past year. I loved thinking about Alex with each piece, the trips and teams, and experiences that each t-shirt represented. Not a bad life for that girl, at least according to the t-shirts.
Mom was in charge of anything that had to do with math (though she pretended to consult me) and the machine itself (the gathering stitches and the long stitches, and the consideration of a final blanket stitch or zig zag). Her work isn’t done yet….because there is still the quilt itself.
We chatted about our family and friends, we cursed the curves and the bumps (on the t-shirts), we talked about growing older (for both of us). We listened to music. We drank some wine.
I can’t show the whole thing to you, because Alex sees this. But it’s going to be wonderful.
And it was wonderful. Even if I never actually touched the machine, I spent the weekend sewing with my mom.