Thursday, January 31, 2013

Bill’s first quilt

My 12-year old niece spent the week between Christmas and New Year with us so that I could teach her how to make a quilt. We had a good time. By “we” I mean me and the boys. Bub was sick for almost the entire week, and Bill got bored by the end. But, I loved having her there. I loved showing her something that my mom would have shown her if she were still alive. The boys LOVED having someone else to play with (and she was a good sport to play and play and play). She and I stayed up late at night and ate junk food and watched stupid movies. She is such a cute kid.

As for the quilt, I gave her very good instructions beforehand – like I always do, of course. I am clear and concise and never leave anything to the imagination (in my own mind). What she showed up with was something else entirely. I guess I had forgotten what it was like to be a 12-year old. I had forgotten that when I made my first quilt my mom was right there with me. I had forgotten that this stuff can be hard.

Instruction: cut the material into squares (did I actually use the word “squares?” I’m not sure) – lay it out beforehand to make sure that you have enough for the top of the quilt
Actual: pieces of all sizes of rectangles and squares (those are generous descriptions of the shapes) – enough material to make a quilt top if nothing had to be trimmed down – at least there was a general color theme going on (camo and denim)

Wait. There were no other instructions. I only told that poor girl one thing! So, she did a decent job, but we had a lot of adjustments to make.

When I make a quilt, I like straight lines and some semblance of a pattern. Not Bill. She wanted a “crazy” quilt. Thank the heavens that this wasn’t a true “crazy” quilt, or I would have lost it. I did not have the patience for that with two kindergarteners running around, a sick spouse, and a bored pre-teen!

Well, she wanted to learn, and I think that she definitely did. I didn’t do much for her at all. She did almost everything. I think the most I helped with was trimming the long strips before sewing them together. She learned how to lay it out to her visual liking, how to sew (even with back stitch), how to thread the machine, how to load the bobbin, how to replace the needle, how to sew an “L” line (yuck), how to pick a seam out and re-sew, how much to pull (or not pull) t-shirt fabric, how to tie a square knot, how to do the math to buy the material for the bottom, and how to finish the quilt.

She’s such a tall girl (as tall as me already, at only 12!) that I forget how young she really is. She is proud of herself, and she should be. She was given minimal instructions and had to really think on her own. And, honestly, it turned out pretty well! See?

What I really hate is that she doesn’t have her Grandma Arlene around to teach her this stuff. She would have been a better teacher than I was, for sure.

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