Years ago, as my son began to grow out of his soccer shirts, I started collecting them, with the grand idea of one day making him a t-shirt quilt when I was no longer a soccer momma. The day came for his last game, and I decided to make the quilt for his high school graduation.
He graduated two years and 3 months ago....
My quilting and sewing friends would choke if they had seen my process. First I hacked up the shirts; and when I say hacked, I'm being pretty literal. There was no measuring, no templates, no planning...just the shirts, a pair of scissors, and me. Then, overwhelmed and a little discouraged, I put them in a bag in a closet for awhile...a long while. I had an idea of what I wanted but no real idea how to accomplish it, or even how to describe it to one of my quilting friends who could help me.
Sometime later, I pulled the bag out of the closet and managed, with the help of my mother (God bless her, she didn't laugh or look horrified at what I had done), to get the pieces looking presentable and ready for quilting, which I then did, a little at a time, on my sewing machine. Quilting on a sewing machine is tedious and awkward and not recommended (I see you quilters and sewing geniuses nodding sagely and rolling your eyes).
So, today I finished this quilt. It was probably a four year process, all told. It comes complete with blood - those straight pins are really sharp! - sweat, and maybe not tears, but I confess, a few swear words. How did I keep going? Well...the heads of the straight pins were so colourful and shiny! Also, an occasional glass of wine....
Up close, it isn't pretty. There are puckers in the fabric. There isn't a straight seam to be found. Multiple seams were ripped out and resewn - still crooked. A work of fine art, this quilt is not.
But it is a work of another kind: a work of memories, of closure, of learning, of perseverance. It's a work of the heart, of concern, prayers, and a momma's affection for her boy. It's a work full of a mother's pride, hope, wishes, and dreams for her son. It's a work of abiding love.
I hope he likes it.