baby quilt top my daughter made at age 14, her own design
While I was going through my stash looking for something to put on the back of Turtle Sherbet, I found yet another box of memories, or, well... fabric I'd long since forgotten.
Way back in the days of the dinosaurs, or perhaps when the dinosaurs began developing cheetah spots, I attempted to teach my adopted special needs daughter to quilt. Well, and crochet. And knit. And sew. And loom. As well as a host of other crafts.
I wish I had a photo of the crocheted Easter egg she made while I was designing a pattern for crocheted Easter eggs for my aunt. Because everything I did, my daughter wanted to do, too. She had managed to learn how to chain, single crochet and double crochet, but her personality was more freeform than cookie cutter. She enjoyed doing her own thing. The egg she made was actually shaped like an egg, but it had wings and fins and scallops and fringe and every kind of 3D effect you could imagine!
No, I did not throw it away or lose it. She gifted it to her therapist, and this was way before digital photography. If I do have a paper photo of her creation anywhere, I can't find it. Chances are, though, she gave it away before I was able to take a picture of it.
Her knitting wasn't bad at all. I think the continual repetition of garter stitch over and over and over calmed her, for she still does that now, 100 years or centuries and 16 lifetimes later.
my daughter's method for keeping her knitting from unraveling
Somewhere, I have photos of the outfits I helped her sew. She made a pair of overalls, a skirt and several matching and coordinating bandanas.
Then we broke into quilting. She picked a colorful bevy of animal skins, and before she started cutting out squares for a baby blanket for her then-Young Women's leader, who was expecting her first child, my daughter wanted to make a 3-ring binder cover she could show off at school.
It wasn't long after that she empty-nested me. I didn't even remember packing away her fabric and projects. Until I needed something that went with rainbows and/or turtles a good 13 or more years later.
an unfinished fabric bookcover from another lifetime
I found all those faux animal skins remnants, plus her unfinished book cover and quilt! Now, these fabrics are not going to work as a backing for Turtle Sherbet, but they pleaded with me to make them into something.
I had to giggle at the hearts she cut from each fabric. Usually from the center. Maybe she did indeed finish a book cover, and perhaps the one I found was intended for a friend, for I found no other hearts and no other heart projects.
I MUST make a quilt with one piece of faux animal skin fabric that must have been intended for clothing. There are three yards, and there's a heart-shaped vent in the center of the fabric. I think I need to do a reverse applique with this piece, and it can be either the front of the quilt or the back, and my, oh, my, will that quilt have a story!
I pieced strips for another jelly roll idea these remnants inspired. There wasn't enough animal skin fabric leftover to finish the idea I initially came up with, so these panels hung on the bedroom wall for a while, awaiting a light bulb to come on in my head.
I played around in Photoshop for inspiration. Oh, my heavens, did I ever get inspired!!!
I finished SIX quilt tops in Photoshop!!! If only sewing could go that fast...
I finally came up with what I think is a unique plan for the strips, made one more white one (because there was enough cheetah fabric for that) and drafted my own 17.5-inch blocks. Whew! What a chore!!!
I don't think I had drafted my own quilt blocks in 25 or 30 years. Although the process was frustrating and my finished blocks are not perfect, drafting was a great way to return to my quilting roots. I do not believe any of my grandmothers or great aunts ever used templates unless they crafted them themselves. In fact, they probably used a wooden ruler and plain paper; I cheated and used a clear ruler and graph paper. Yet it was envigorating to return to "the old ways" for a day or two and to stimulate my math-challenged self in a way I haven't in many, many years.
Both my kids have, among other diagnoses, Reactive Attachment Disorder, and that's about the only dandelion seeds about them I will scatter in the public wind. To me, it's a miracle, pure and simple, either of them have any kind of bond with me. Even though things did not turn out the way every parent dreams, I provided a home for a pair of needy kids, and perhaps one day some of the seeds I tried to plant will grow.
I enjoyed reminiscing about the winter weekends my daughter and I spent together at the sewing machine with faux animal skins while I played with these remnants. It's been another rich opportunity to turn some sad memories around into some very happy and even some humorous memories.
Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts here and Confessions of a Fabric Addict here.