My epic barn clean out continues. From an entire wall of totes with children's clothes (12? 15? I can't remember), I am down to just three now. Two are full of clothes that are currently in-between sizes of my five babes, but will soon fit one or another. And one - that's right - just one is full of baby and toddler clothes too precious to donate, too special to cut. They're for saving. (To fully disclose, handknits live in another place entirely so there is a wee bit more I have stashed. But still, major improvement!) I'm so pleased with the progress. And so pleased that I've been able to find a few moments here and there to start stitching on the first one - for Calvin, my nearly fourteen year old (not so) baby.
The cutting, at first, was difficult. More than a few times I went to Steve with a teeny tiny onesie in my hands and tears in my eyes, to ask his advice, "cut or save?" Where will it be better enjoyed?" he sweetly and patiently answered each time, though I don't think he recognized many of the things at all. A sentimental guy, to be sure, so perhaps we don't all associate with textiles in the same way! With time, I got a bit ruthless about the cutting. Because while that adorably-striped blue and white onesie with a gentian violet stain on it (from treating thrush) evoked strong memories from me .... I realized that to my future adult son (or his partner), it might really just appear to be a stained Gap onesie from 2001, which - in fact - it was. Cut, cut, cut - much more sentimental, much more useful as a small square in a quilt that will keep him cozy and feeling loved. Ah....what a process this has been.
I'm using a wide mix of fabrics for this quilt - it's a true hodgepodge and nothing is perfect about any of it. There may be some funk in the lines, and I'm trying to just roll with that. It's fun, really - this mix of things to be stitching with all at once. For the jersey fabrics, I'm using squares of fusible interfacing to keep the pieces from getting too stretchy. That, and I just discovered - right in front of my eyes (literally), the Super Stretch stitch on my sewing machine (more specifically, it's number 9 on my Bernina Aurora 430). Between those two things, it's been easy to incorporate jersey into the cottons, fleece, and other fabrics this quilt will be made of.
I'm in no rush to get this quilt finished, or the others. In fact, I think the littlest ones I'd like to continue gathering fabric for, maybe even for a few more years. The older boys piles feel more 'done' to me, and I suppose that's a result of their age. Firmly in the teen years with the baby, toddler, and early childhood years behind them - along with the clothes they wore. Maybe I'll finish Calvin's before his birthday in January, and maybe it would be nice to hand Ezra his on his thirteenth birthday. It seems a wonderful way to carry - literally - a bit of the silliness, fun, warmth and love of their early years with them whenever they might need it. Yes, I like that. I hope they do too.