Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A Man’s Quilt


I’m not really one for making things for other people.  On one hand, I want to cover all the people I love in beautiful, cozy, handmade things, as if my handwork will be a talisman against not just cold weather but maybe even whatever sadness life may have in store.  On the other hand, I am rather aware that not everybody in my life has the same huge need for knitted, quilted, or otherwise stitched things as I have, and I am okay with that.  But, I feel deeply that a warm, soft quilt, made by your mama, can be a hug in a lonely place.  Even if you are a totally cool guy who isn’t even lonely, what are you kidding?  Lonely?  For his mom?  Please! 


My son grew up.  It seems like it happened this morning. 


In just a few weeks, he will graduate from high school, and then he will go away to become an Architect.  My boy is a man now.  I am so proud of him.  He asked me to make him a quilt.  Does it get any better than that?


I chose a mix cool grays, warm browns, and ochre yellows.  I strictly avoided florals (we have agreed those are branches, right?  Branches?) and big patterns.  There is an obsequious fly-fishing print thrown in because it was brown.  And manly.  I did not ask for his input as I put the quilt together, because he would have said something like, “What?  I don’t know.  Whatever.  Just not flowery.” 


I made 30 nine patch blocks, and arranged them in six columns by five rows, separated by solid gray sashing with smaller, light gray squares at the intersections.  I threw in one red square.  I could not help myself.  Some American quilt traditions hold that the red center of a quilt square represents the safety and warmth of the hearth at home.   I feel like I have poured my heart into that little red square.   You do what you can. 


It is imperfectly hand-quilted, with great big stitches in #5 perle cotton, in a warm light gray.  It took a few days.  The quilting gave the solid back a nifty graphic effect, kind of minimalist and modern.


It’s as infused with love and comfort as I can make it.  I hope he ruins it totally while he’s away.  I hope he wears it right out, right to shreds.  That would make me so happy.