Sunday, March 27, 2011

Motherly Love

Here's a secret I don't often share: I sometimes think I am a terrible mother because my daughter is 17 and I STILL have not made her a quilt! Granted, I haven't been quilting all that long and while she's had plenty of doll quilts to play with over the years, she doesn't have a big quilt for herself. Oh dear, how can that be, what have I been doing? Have I been that busy? She'll be going off to college later this year. How time flies . . . .

I was able to sneak in a college quilt for my son while working on Remembering Adelia. I remember being VERY stressed trying to get everything done for the book plus an extra quilt, too, before he left. All a blur now. We've been planning a quilt for my daughter to take with her when she goes away to school.

One of the schools she is thinking of attending (still undecided) is located in a town that played a prominent role in the Underground Railroad movement and the campus has strong ties to the Civil War and anti-slavery activism. This historic campus building below was the site of one of the Lincoln-Douglas senatorial debates in 1858.

Imagine - Lincoln sat in this very chair too . . . .

I am letting her plan her quilt the way she wants it. She fell in love with the Soldier's Cot quilt in my new book The Civil War Sewing Circle while I was making it. But she really loved the pinks and browns in the little Shoo Fly Quilt in the same book. I am trying to get her involved in making this quilt as much as possible. She's not always crazy about my fabric choices for my quilts and tries to advise me. Last week she looked through my fabric and picked out a lot of reproductions prints in pink and brown for her quilt. Made me so happy! Of course, 1800s repros is pretty much all I have, LOL, so there wasn't much choice. But still, I offered to take her shopping for others. I went shopping myself and brought home a few more prints I thought she would like and started cutting out the pieces last week.

I fell in love with Jo Morton's brown Luminaria prints and when I showed them to her she did too. I knew she would.  Look, they almost glow!

Rough sketch. I downsized the blocks to be a bit smaller than the ones in the book - 9" x 9". I'll let her pick out her borders.

I made a few scrappy blocks already. Aren't these sweet?

My daughter is an avid animal lover and I thought about somehow incorporating that into her quilt but she's too old for most of the "kiddie" prints out there. And I don't really have any animal prints in my repro collection -  EXCEPT for this Classic Conversational print of "kitties" designed by Judie Rothermel for Marcus Brothers from a few years ago. She loved  it for a background on some of the blocks and I just ordered a similar print with doggies on it. Perfect!

When I made a quilt for my son, I used rich fabrics mixed with darker prints because that was his style and it was HIS quilt, after all, not mine. It needed to be simple and also practical, to stand up to use - like a quickly  made quilt for a Civil War soldier going off to war, my son was prepared for the college battlefield.

If she decides to attend this school with such a rich history, how fitting to have a quilt to bring along made from Civil War-era fabrics.

Soldier's Cot Quilt

Like many quilters who have daughters, I often think it would be so nice if she shared my quilting passion. Selfish, I know, but hey, I think she'd have fun too. She's very good with color. I've tried to encourage her to learn to quilt many times but she tells me "That's YOUR thing Mom, not mine." If I can't teach her to quilt, how do I pass on the tradition in my family? Is it enough of a legacy to just make a quilt for her? If I don't teach her, the quilting tradition that began with me in our family will also die with me, and that makes me sad. I do know there's still time and quilters I meet always tell me their own daughters came around eventually, some in their twenties and thirties. Perhaps someday, after college, she'll come to me and say "Mom, will you teach me how to make a quilt?" I can only hope. And, if not quilting, at the very least I'll have passed on the legacy of motherly love.


  1. Kathy, I know you have heard it before, but I cannot believe that one day your daughter doesn't say. Hey mom,can you teach me to quilt. I was so happy when my daughter did. Now we are working on my other one. I'm sure the time is close because she asked me to take her antiquing the other day. I have made the Soldiers Cot and truly enjoyed it. I can't wait to get it back from the shop.The one your making for your daughter is going to be beautiful!! It will be nice to know she is snuggled up with something special from home. Karen Schultz

  2. Love the pinks and browns - that is a pair that I can never resist! I bet your daughter will pick up an interest in quilting sometime. Keep trying!

  3. Kathy,
    Maybe your daughter will be like me. My mom tried for YEARS to get me interested and my answer was always a firm NO with eyeball-roll and lip-curl included for effect. When I was 6 months pregnant and, according to mom, seething with prego-hormones, I asked her to teach me. Bless her courageous heart, she did it and I'm still quilting 7 years later!

  4. The quilt will be gorgeous when finished. I can't wait to see it! Maybe you can make her a doll quilt with the scraps for her to save for the daughter she might have some day. If she has all sons (like me), maybe she will enjoy having a doll bed in her home for the decor, or can use it on the wall or bed side table.

  5. Hi Kathy, Like you, neither one of my daughters wants to learn to quilt...yet! I have a granddaughter that I have made five quilts for, beginning when she was an infant. She is four now, and loves her quilts! I made a doll quilt to match her "big girl bed" quilt and one for her special Lambie. I'm hoping that she will be the one to carry on the quilting gene that began (at least) with my grandmothers, that skipped my mom and hit me! Can't wait to see your daughter's quilt...I love the colors and pattern. Blessings, Elaine Walsh : )

  6. I have the same desire for my daughter.

    We bought Liv a hope chest and I have plans to fill it with quilts that she and I made. Funny thing is no one in my family quilts, older/younger/maternal/ one.

    Hope my daughter keeps me company in this cherished art.

    I'm loving the blocks you've made. The quilt will be lovely.

  7. I taught my daughter to quilt when she was in her teens. She made two quilt tops, but never finished them. She is now 30 and has never made another quilt, nor does she seem the least bit interested. Sometimes I think life is just too busy for the young people, and they don't think about making quilts or learning other things that we can pass down. Maybe one day........

  8. I sooooo understand about passing on the quiltmaking tradition. My Sweet Teen thinks I've made and kept too many quilts. She has no interest in sewing except that she likes the idea of treadling. However, every time we've had a chance to test drive a long-arm, she's appeared to be a natural. (Too bad I don't have 20-25K to invest in one!)

  9. Don't worry. Someday she will quilt or come up with some other equally fabulous craft. My daughter was always wanting to borrow my machine so I 'surprised' her with her own the next Christmas. She hasn't touched it since. She also tells me it's 'your thing'...however, she makes wonderful earring, does great mosaics and takes every quilt I make. I did tell her that I really MUST make one for her 19-year old brother...

  10. That is so exciting that she may be attending a college with such history as the Civil War and President Lincoln.
    Pink and Brown are wonderful together...It's going to be such a beautiful quilt. My local store, Two Thimbles, carries Jo's fabric lines. I'll have to check out the Luminaria prints.

  11. I love the quilt you have decided to make for your daughter! The fabric line you are using is really lovely! The exposure now to what you are passionate about, may well be revisited sometime later in her own life!

  12. i love Caitlin's fabric choice as well as the quilt she's's going to look stunning!
    btw i've also got that adorable kitty print was too cute to resist!

  13. What a fabulous quilt your daughter has picked out. I love the browns and pinks of the Civil War collections. She may not want to quilt now but perhaps in a few years, when she has settled into her adult life, she will understand the heritage of quilting. Or, maybe not. Perhaps she will be a knitter or enjoy x-stitching. With a mother as creative as yourself, I'm sure she has the same creative gene.

  14. If your daughter doesn't sew or quilt, wait for grandchildren! I learned from my grandmother, her sister, and their mother (my great-grandmother). My mom HATES to sew and doesn't understand my love of My granddaughter will be three in a month and is already interested! There's still hope the tradition you began will continue.

  15. You're probably right - maybe it will skip a generation and I'll get my grandchildren to sew!

  16. Love your daughter's quilt. Everytime I go to Pieceful Gathering I seem to buy another kit for one of your quilts. (I better sew more, shop less). I have a whole basket of pinks and browns and I want to get to that fabric too.
    My 30 y/o is just now asking me to teach her to sew. ( I didn't start quilting til Iwas in my 40's). Lots of time for your daughter to catch the fever. LOL

  17. You are lucky when it comes.
    I have 2 daughters. 1 quilts ( in her own way) and 1 not.
    But I am happy.
    We go fabric shopping tomorrow ( Yes)
    So don't give up hope.
    Greetings from Holland Janny

  18. Kathy, don't give up hope ~ sometimes it skips a generation! I have four sons who love my quilts, but wouldn't be caught anywhere near the sewing machine or anything else "quilty". I got the bug from a quilt my grandmother made me over 50 years ago. And, I've only been quilting for 8 years. But I also have three granddaughters who have families of their own and are gradually showing an interest. I've made quilts for all of them. But,I know enough not to even hint that I would secretly be jumping up and down if they decided to learn. Your daughter is interested enough to pick our her own fabric and pattern. There's still time.

  19. You're right - that's a VERY good sign isn't it?

  20. Kathy, I have three sons, no daughters, and although they appreciate my quiltmaking, they are not quilters. But I do have a granddaughter that is interested, so there is hope. Your daughter's quilt looks wonderful!

  21. Marianne Fons daughter Mary just started quilting lately so maybe there is hope for your daughter too. I did the same thing to my mother about crocheting and I now crochet a lot. Your colors for the quilt are so pretty.

  22. Hey!
    Do not worry, maybe they have to first do something else in their lives. Then, when she has tried other things enough, then perhaps he wants to do what you're trying to teach her.
    I would like to ask you, because I am actually interested in quilting, whether you are sewing them by hand, or do you use the machine? Can blankets preparing to use a standard sewing machine? Greetings from Finland, RosaA

  23. My husband builds furniture and can do any kind of cabinetry and carpetnry. I sew, needlepoint, knit, crochet embroider, cross-stitch, etc. We have a theory. We think that if eventually neither our son or daughter come around to learn our talents from us our grandchildren will! Have faith it won't die with you!

  24. I have three daughters, and the two oldest are not interested in my quilting (except to receive the quilts I make for them, and that's great). I think the youngest has the quilt-bug; from her early days she's very interested, and I encourage that however I can. Mind you, she's only four years old, so I keep my hopes up!
    But I have the same thought as you have; please don't let this quilting tradition I started, go away when I'm gone...


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