Friday, May 15, 2009

Every Quilt Has a Story

I actually finished my latest quilt, Cattitude, in February, during the storm of preparations to leave for two months. As a result, I didn't get anything posted about it. That's a good thing, because a lot can happen in two months. Every quilt has a story, and the story for this one had a plot twist right after the trip. I designed Cattitude for younger son's then-girlfriend with the intention of giving it to her for Christmas. Note the "then." He broke up with her right before Christmas, during final exams at the university they both attend. (No, I don't condone such behavior.) After the shock wore off, I e-mailed the young lady and confessed that I was about done with the quilt I had intended to give her for Christmas but was now worried about its connection with younger son. She expressed gratitude for my making her a quilt; her mother quilts, so she knows what goes into a quilt. She suggested that I give it to her for her birthday in February instead. In February, she suggested I wait until after the trip. After the trip, she said she couldn't really take it since she would always connect it with the painful breakup.

What to do? First, I often finish quilts right before they need to be given, meaning that I'm forever thinking "I could have ..." or "If only I had had the time to ..." in terms of the quilting. Because of the Christmas to February delay on this one, I pretty much got to quilt it as I wanted to not as I had time to. I really, really like how I did this one. I quilted in a bunch of detail on the cat, and then echo-quilted around it in the center panel. It doesn't really show up in the photographs, but the quilting is pretty awesome. I don't usually confess to being proud of my little creations, but I'm proud of this one.

Partly because of the pride I felt in Cattitude, I could not just replace the label saying for whom I designed and made the quilt, put on a new label, and then give the qult to someone else. It was designed and made for one particular person; that was part of its story. It would be dishonest to tell someone else I made it for them. I wrestled with this for a while, until a solution presented itself. One reason I designed Cattitude was that the young lady loves animals but could not have a pet in the dorm. The label subtext on Cattitude is that "because everyone who wants a cat should have one." Because of that, Cattitude will be going to a dear friend's son, who is graduating from high school and heading off to college, and who will undoubtedly miss the family cat when he goes. He'll understand that the label, with his name added to that of the originally intended recipient, is part of the quilt's story. Yes, every quilt has a story, and every quilt needs a good home. I'm betting that Cattitude will have one with its new recipient.


Debi said...

Ahhh, this truly is a special quilt, with a very special story. Not to mention that it's just plain gorgeous!

kreed said...

What a beautiful quilt. I am glad you found it another good home!

Va said...

Geeee, that's a lovely story. He is a "Beckoning Cat" in Japanese: FYI the message he is holding says "Please come in. You are welcome!" as he beckons with his paw - you know, that reverse beckoning gesture. A Maneki Neko itself sits in my kitchen pass-through window!