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Sew Many Memories!!

A fun sampler made my mom that we will finish someday.

May Basket, one of my favorite “girly” quilts.

This is a fun cabin type sample quilt. Looks fun, wild and creative, a whole lot like my mama was. =)

Sorry for the lack of postings lately. We have really been enjoying life around here inside and out.  We have been very busy with baseball and now swimming lessons.  But we also had the blessing of a few days of coolness in the midwest which made me think of sewing/quilting.   During the school year my days pretty much consist of school and trying to stay upright =).   Very rarely do I get to take the time to allow my house to be trashed for the sake of creativity.  (I SHOULD and really want to work on it!!)  A couple of months ago I decided that sewing would be on my to do list this summer (after of course I finished my two graduate level classes to keep up my teaching certificate.  PRAISE THE LORD…that is done!).  Onto, the next part of my list.  Teaching sewing. =)

Another one, this one is made with antique material.

Anyway, the first process was cleaning out my basement. =( Not such a fun job, and one that is ongoing and constant, but one that I actually felt like I got a good start on.  During that process I was able to go through a lot of my mother’s things.  Visiting some of those items are tough, but so good.  I had the opportunity to read through some precious letters from college and notes through out the years. Tears of course flowed as I could here my mom’s “voice” so well throughout the letters.  There is something so amazing about the written word.  After I finished that, I moved on to her sewing closet.  My mother had an entire room full of material.  YES, I MEAN AN ENTIRE ROOM!!  I wish I had a picture of that room, but it was one of those rooms that she usually quickly shut and allowed no one access to (I think many quilters might be like that from what I hear).  Anyway, when my mother passed we had about 30 totes full of material, quilt tops, and all sorts of sewing paraphernalia.  It was crazy!  I spent many, many hours going through the bins trying to carefully examine what we might use and what could be shared.  I knew my life was busy then with a 1, 3, 5, and 7 year old, but that at some point I would make it a point to teach them the fine art of sewing like my mother had done with us.  (I think I was able to whittle it down to 6 bins, much to my husbands chagrin).  She often had a project going, and if not, was looking for another fun way to challenge her skills.  I have a picture of my mom sewing with one of my babies on her lap, precious.  She loved sewing and quilting and was thrilled to teach anyone who wanted to learn.

Flash forward a few years and the time had come.  The girls (Rachel in particular) had been begging me to teach her how to sew.  We made corn pillows last year and all the kids thought that was awesome.  So when I went through the bins this last week the ideas started reeling.  I thought maybe a skirt or two would be fun for the girls.  Little did I know that my boys would want to join in on the fun.  I should have.  So pulling out the materials and ideas…we began.

Loving her dress mostly because she can say that she sewed it all (except for the straps).

To say that I was a little intimidated would be putting it lightly.  My mom sewed with us when we were younger, and taught my sister and I to quilt.  Altogether, I have made about ten quilts (baby quilts included).  However, most all of those with my sweet mama watching over, or at least there to ask when I got stuck. The first project was an easy one, pillows.  All four kids did great.  Check!  Thought maybe I would be off the hook. NOPE!!  Next up a pair of shorts for Caleb.  They turned out pretty good.  They are really bright green, just like Caleb wanted them.  (I may post a picture of them, but they are really BRIGHT!)  Next up was Rachel, and she chose a dress.  Not too bad.  A few straight seams and a hem.  Check.. managed that one pretty good.  Another dress for Shiloh and a skirt for Rachel, and I was feeling pretty accomplished that I had helped the kids all make something pretty cool.

Caleb working on his pillow and sweet Shiloh watching.

Last but not least, Nathan.  First, he wanted to make a sweatshirt.  That sounded a bit out of my ability range.  But…I am usually up for a good challenge, so we started to look.  Then, he suddenly changed his mind while we were going through the quilt tops in the bins.  He asked if he could make a quilt?  Ummm….maybe?  We looked through more bins (needless to say the basement that I have diligently worked on for 2 weeks was instantly trashed with material everywhere and reminded me a lot of my mothers sewing room, brought an precious smile to my face).  Finally he spotted Nebraska material.  Grandma had made the boys pillow cases with Husker material years ago and had some left overs.  So began our journey.

Awesome memory and a pretty cool quilt too!

Three days later and we have a finished Nebraska quilt!  Amazing!  I am quite certain it will not win any awards other than precious, dear memories of Nathan sewing (and mom often ripping out from mistakes made- it too made me smile as I remembered how many times my mother helped me with that aspect of sewing, along with ironing the seems.)   But, it is pretty awesome!  The first quilts I made I remember feeling so accomplished sitting at the sewing machine while my mom did the “grunt” work.  I mirrored her actions and I was happy to do it.  I stood ironing and ripping out sections when needed with a fondness in my heart as I remembered the selfless love and acts of my mother.  Of course at the end of these first quilts I was able to say that I made them as will Nathan.  While that is true, I now see the sacrifice of my sweet mother sitting beside me for hours helping the whole time.  Nathan is also thrilled with his quilt.  Not only is it a Husker quilt, but it is warm and he sewed it all!  It was a great time of loving on my boy, and sharing some Biblical truths represented in quilting.  I love the parallel of walking/sewing the straight and narrow and how that leads to joy.  I.E. the correct seem allowance makes for a better fit later on in the quilt.  We discussed how when you veer off a little bit it doesn’t seem to big of a deal, but by the end of the quilt 1/8 inch on each seem leads to an REALLY BIG DIFFERENCE!  Same with living a life that strives for righteousness and obeying the Lord in all things big or small.  (Needless to say there were quite a few “tucks” and “adjustments” all through out the quilt, so don’t look too  close.)

I am sure when Nathan looks at his quilt he will remember many things, Grandma B, the Biblical truth to walk near the Lord and constantly take steps that lead toward righteousness, and an amazing accomplishment of making his first quilt.  I will of course remember the precious days spent teaching my kiddos a talent that was near to my sweet mother!  Praising the Lord for the blessing of having this time and memories!


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