For a long time I have intended to do some posts on quilts. Since the weather has turned chilly enough to bring them back out of the closets and chests I thought it would be a good time. Quilts are an important part of my life. I can't remember much time in my life when I haven't slept under a handmade quilt in my own home. Frankly, the thought of that disturbs me. I can sleep under a commercially produced comforter when I visit somewhere else but at home, it just ain't right.
My mom has been quilting since before I was born and she has made dozens and dozens of quilts in her life. The very first one was an appliqued doll quilt she still has at home. I have the first bed sized quilt she ever produced hanging over a railing in my living room. I grew up playing under her quilt frame and watching her spend hours hunched over it with her glasses perched on her nose as she rocked the needle in and out of the layers of fabric and batting. Let me tell you, if you are a kid who likes to build blanket forts, quilt frames are a most wonderful framework for them. (Lucky kid that I was, I had my grandmother's handmade afghans to throw over the quilt frames for my forts.)
This week I'll share with you the quilt Mom made for me when I was 4. Even at that tender age I got to be involved in the planning of my quilt. It is a quilt made of many picture patches. Each patch was a picture of something I enjoyed or that was important to me.
If you could see the entire quilt you'd find characters from Peanuts and Sesame Street, pictures of my favorite toys and books, cookies and ice cream, horses and dogs, and my roller skates. You can also see the guitar in there. I loved when my grandfather would play for me.
In order to make it even more personal, Mom also included tracings of my hands, a sample of my written alphabet, and an example of my 4 year old artistic expression. In order to get these images, as well as the others I chose, she used tailor's tracing paper to transfer the design onto the fabric, then used fabric paint to make the designs permanent. Here we see young Lime's early artistic efforts. We have a boy and a girl carrying home flowers for Mommy. Notice the boy is bald and the girl has a rather ragged looking skirt. What can I say? All the unfinished, uneven hems we see in fashion today...I was obviously ahead of my time. If you are thinking my flower to human proportions are more than a wee bit off I would suggest you consider that I was very fond of sunflowers and gladiolus. Those are not exactly small flowers.
Here we see early indication of my thrill seeking nature. Yes, I was a 3 year old biker chick. (check the link for a fun, old picture) My first memory of a bike is being 3, straddling the gas tank of my dad's Honda, and shouting into the wind, "Go faster!!!!!"
In addition to choosing the pictures for the top I got to choose the backing fabric. Once again, I did serious injury to my mother's hopes of raising a girly girl when I picked astronauts with rockets and puppies. Actually, if you tried to guess by the backing fabric of our respective quilts you might confuse my quilt with my brother's. This is my fabric. He chose pink and purple clowns.
I don't use this quilt anymore because it has been used so hard I doubt it would tolerate another washing. It's safely tucked away but I still cherish it. My mom also made similar quilts for my children when they each turned 4. I asked her why age 4 when 5 seems so much more momentous since that's when children start kindergarten. She smiled and said she wanted each of us to have a record of the things that mattered most to us and who we were before we entered school, when the only real influence on us had been our family.