A Heartwarming Tale of My First Quilt
The year was 2014. I had spent the last few years of my life trying to put it back together. In three years I had escaped an abusive marriage, started nursing school, and worked all the while raising an infant and a toddler. Those three years were the hardest of my life.
Let me tell you, it was grueling! I had classes for 8 hours a day, clinical that I had to go to, bartending until 3am , studying I had to do. Somewhere in that chaos, I also had to make sure my children were taken care of. There were moments that I wanted to give up. There were days the only thing I could do was cry. Was I smart enough? Was I strong enough? How much more could I take on before I completely broke?
Now, I would be lying if I told you that I did this all on my own. I'm fortunate enough that I have two loving parents who helped me in every way they possibly could. I could write an entirely different blog about the influence my parents have had on my life. They took care of my children so I could study. They helped me pick them up from daycare when I couldn't make it. When I was about to give up, they told me to keep pushing. When I cried because I was missing all of the small moments with my children, they reminded me that everything I was doing was to build a better future for them. And they were right.
Nursing school was finally coming to an end. I had passed all of my courses with flying colors and would graduate in December. I was so excited that I would finally have some time for myself (it turns out I was sadly mistaken). I always told my mother that when my life slowed down, I wanted to learn how to quilt. I remember all the times that I would sit and watch my own mother quilt. I was in complete awe that she could take some fabric and create quilts that were so beautiful. I wanted to be able to do the same. I wanted something that was for me.
Christmas Day, 2014 I got that wish. My parents gave me a sewing machine, some fabric, and a book, and the words "Good Luck". I was ecstatic! Of course, I had my mother there to answer any questions I had (and there were many). What is a bobbin? What does it mean to put fabrics right sides together? What is a 1/4" seam? How do I cut fabric? And so I started...
I did it! I had accomplished my first quilt block! Now on to the rest! I wish I could say that my life was calm again and I was able to charge forward and knock this quilt out. But alas, it didn't work out that way. I met the man of my dreams and married him. I began working full time at the hospital. We bought a house. And did all the things involved with joining families. It took me two entire years to finish this quilt. I'd steal 30 minutes in the morning to work on it before I had to head off to work. I'd steal another 15 minutes in between helping kids with homework and cooking dinner. There were weeks that would go by that I couldn't find the time to work on it at all. But I continued to work on it block by block.
The day came that I finally had all of my blocks ready. I was nearing the finish line! Once again, my mother had to come to my rescue and explain to me how to cut the backing and sandwich it all together. But then I had to quilt it?! I opted to go for a stitch in the ditch. I call it stitch in the @&$%#. Once that was done, it came to what is now my favorite part of making a quilt. The binding!
I took it with me everywhere! My husband still laughs at me for working on it in an airport bar. I had to get it finished in time for Christmas. I had already figured out what I was going to do with my very first quilt. You see, I had been working on it for two years. I came to some realizations during those two years. Quilting isn't easy. It isn't perfect. And while I can scrutinize every mistake I made in a quilt, it doesn't diminish from the overall beauty of the final product. Just as I have made many mistakes in my life and have scrutinized myself, it doesn't take away from the overall picture of my accomplishments. For that I have my parents to thank. They have always been by my side. So my first quilt was dedicated and given to my parents.
So there you have it. My very first quilt. It isn't perfect and that's ok. No quilt of mine will ever be perfect. I'm just happy that I stuck with it.