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A quilt for Baby Cora…and the rest of us

June 16, 2017

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I’ve made a few baby quilts in my day. When I started sewing with my own machine, in my own apartment, I made baby quilts…a lot of baby quilts. At that time, I liked not having to follow a pattern and making it up as I went along. And on those early ones, I did make it up as I went along. They were kinda rough. It was a time when I didn’t have a whole lot of sewing tools, and the tools that I did have were somewhat limited. I think my first sewing machine made three different stitches and a buttonhole, and that made sewing garments pretty darn challenging. Maybe that’s why I gravitated to quilts. These days I’ve acquired some better tools and I prefer sewing clothes, but when the situation presents itself, I can still get into sewing some straight lines and squaring a few edges.

Recently, the situation presented itself. A friend from work was/is having her first baby and her graduate students wanted to give her a present. I suggested a baby quilt. I told them that if they made the squares (with fabric markers), I would do the sewing.  We decided that each student would create a square with a two word piece of advice for Baby Cora–a verb followed by something else–and that each student would sign her square. After I got the colors of the nursery, I found some coordinating prints and fabric markers (fabric markers are key–sharpies bleed.) We gave out the fabric and markers and the students created their squares.

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Now, I love words and I love fabric, and truth be told I adore these students, so I had a pretty good feeling that I was going to like the squares that the students created. But honestly, I had no idea that these squares would be so awesome. Their words, thoughts, and handwriting are just so beautiful. They kind of took my breath away. And the idea that these young women are giving advice to girl who is yet to be born–and their pieces of advice are full of such strength, compassion, tolerance, and beauty–well, it was just what my weary and scared heart needed.

When I was a child I had a security blanket that was crocheted for me by my great-aunt Ruth. It had a chevron design in pink, blue, and white. I couldn’t sleep without it, and I probably had it for a little too long. I remember having to hide it when my cousins came to spend the night. But any shame I felt was offset by how safe and secure that blanket made me feel. Maybe that’s why I started making baby quilts in the first place. Maybe it was an unconscious attempt to spread a little comfort in a world that is sometimes scary and confusing.

I am going to turn fifty in three months, and it’s been quite some time since I’ve held that beloved blanket of mine. The last year has been scary and confusing. It’s made me especially worried for all of the young women I hold dear. When I started sewing this blanket, I thought I was making something that could potentially comfort Baby Cora, but as I read the words that these strong young women have written, I realize that I am the one feeling comforted. We are going to be ok. These women are strong, fierce, and courageous. They will show Cora the way. We are going to be ok.

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From → Stuff I Made

4 Comments
  1. Jean permalink

    Thank you for sharing this. It brought me to tears as well as comfort and hope. And it is why I keep on reading all the sewing blogs. In among all the sewing fun, laughter, and ideas is a gem like this.

  2. Elizabeth H permalink

    This quilt is awesome!

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