Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A Man’s Quilt

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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! 

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

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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?

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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.” 

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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. 

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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.

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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. 

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40 comments:

  1. I have a knitted blanket that my mom made for me many years ago. She passed away a year and a half ago and I love to curl up in that blanket more than ever now.....its a feel good thing, like she is hugging me tight :)

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  2. Dear Kristen,

    You just crack me up. Every time I read your blog I laugh. Thanks so much. Knowing you, I think you will probably have a new quilt ready for when he ruins this one. Am I right?

    Regards

    Robyn

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  3. Lady, you're making my eyes leak. This is wonderful. My son is only seven but I'm already feeling it happen. You did a beautiful job and he is going to love it.

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  4. It is beautiful. He will have his mama's hug every day. Mine just turned 9 yesterday - I want to hold on forever but know that this day will come!

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  5. what a lovely gift!!!
    xxxx Ale

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  6. That is just a wonderful gift for hi. And for you to have a sun that wants a quilt from his mama before he leaves the nest. Just wonderful and makes me think that this same exact moment is coming for me when my son will soon ( 3 more years) be leaving for college. Hope he has great memories in college and come back many times to the nest that is your heart :) beautiful quilt Kirsten.

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  7. Kristen you are an amazing mum - it made me happy and a bit weepy reading your post. When we left our eldest at uni many years ago I cried all the way home - so grown up but still so young xxx

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  8. Hi There, That is the most beautiful life lasting gift a mother can give!!!They can easily be fixed or patched when they're worn out!!!)I bet he's going to become very attached to his college blanket!!! I have a blanket my mom gave me years ago and I always feel her hug when I use it!!! Have a wonderful Mid week!!!
    Love
    AMarie

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  9. I think the red 'heart' is perfect. It is very manly but has subtly of a mama. Jo x

    http://joeveryday19.blogspot.co.uk/

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  10. It's a beautiful quilt, I'm sure it will be used very often in cold weather or just to snuggle :)

    love Kirsten

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  11. Oh my - you've made me cry!! Your son will always have your heart so you may as well put it in his quilt!! I love his quilt and i love your words xxx

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  12. Your beautiful quilt will be one of the few gifts he cherishes forever. And, yes, he will get lonely for his mom. He may never admit it, but it will happen . . .

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  13. It's lovely! And what a special gift! :-)
    Hugs,
    Carly
    x

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  14. Beautiful - in a very manly way of course! I'm sure he will treasure it always
    Angie x

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  15. That is really special Kristen, such a treasure for your son and I am sure he will know you are with him when he sees it everyday xox Penny

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  16. It is a gorgeous quilt. Your son is very lucky.

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  17. *sniffs*

    that is lovely


    the red square is perfect

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  18. Sigh . . . .

    My little man is now 29 with a family of his own. . . . I remember making his take to college quilt like it was yesterday, now I'm making a quilt for his 2nd little girl, who we await the arrival of this summer. . . .

    Good Gawd, time sure does fly like nobody's business.

    Love the quilt, you know your son will, too. . . .and yes, he'll miss his mom for sure.

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  19. Turned out great! I'v got 3 boys of my own (and 2 girls), all of them grown up now. I so relate to your feelings about this quilt as I felt those same things as I made quilts for my sons. Whatever little thing I could do for my boys I was grateful for because somehow, they didn't appear to need me as much as my daughters do and I loved that I could connect with them by doing for them. Does that make sense?! Anyway, the quilt is beautiful, um, or should I say, it looks good...very manly!

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  20. Sons like quilts. At least mine does. I'm sure yours will love his.

    I'm working on a graduation quilt, too. I let my son loose on Hawthorne Thread's website a couple months ago and let him order lots of fabric. (He can't say he doesn't like it, right?) Am also contemplating making quilts for the other graduates on the street. These kids have been together since elementary school.

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  21. What a gorgeous, special quilt. I remember when my son asked me if I would make him special crocheted blanket and I just about melted. This quilt will be your sons most prized possession now. :)

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  22. Its perfection, You are an amazing Mama, and he is a lucky young man!!!

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  23. When my son was in his senior year of high school I knit him a blanket, the big red monster I called it. He used it all the time, he left for Ohio State this past fall and the big red monster stayed home, so I knit him a scarf and hat in his school colors. I don't know if her ever used them, but I had to make them just so I knew he had something from me, a hug from his Mom.

    Love this post.
    Meredith

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  24. Wow! Such a lovely quilt. I made my younger sister a quilt to take away to uni with her, and she still uses (and loves) it now, 10 years later :)

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  25. That is so gorgeous - perfect, I'd venture to say. And what kid (grown or otherwise) wouldn't want a way to wrap up in mum's love while he's away?

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  26. how beautiful! And lovely words too.

    I'm sure he'll treasure it.

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  27. So beautiful and such lovely sentiment. I'm sure he'll snuggle in it and think of his mom ... Sarah x

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  28. I can totally relate. My son graduated last year and then went half way across the country to university. My daughter is graduating this year. Thankfully, she'll be going to university only an hour away. Items that can substitute for mama hugs are very important.

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  29. Well dang it I'm just going to cry and sniff a little.
    A quilt is the perfect expression of love for your son. Even though he speaks in one syllable words (mine son does that too), he still needs a connection to his Mom. His dorm mates are going to be wishing they had one just like it. My boy is leaving too,(haven't started his quilt yet) and I'm hoping to get used to the idea by September. Beautiful quilt Kristen!

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  30. it's beautiful! i love that red square, and those big stitches look so awesome! sort of like that japanese embroidery that i can't think of the name of......lucky son!

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  31. It's definitely the hug he will need while he's away. No matter what they say, when it's time to go to bed, nothing says "goodnight, I love you" better than a handmade quilt from the one who will always love him best. Congratulations on being accepted into architecture (my brother's profession too). Wendy
    ps I'm sure he'll forgive you if he feels the blossoms on the branches are a little on the flowery side ;)

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  32. My college boyfriend had a beautiful quilt made by his mamma, he loved that quilt so much. His unabashed love for his mom was one of the reasons I fell in love with him. You've raised a good boy!

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  33. Aww I have tears in my eyes, what a beautiful sentimental post. It makes me want to make a quilt for everyone I love. Thanks for sharing this Kristen xo

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  34. I would think it's just perfect for your son - lots of manly colours and strong simple shapes, good for an Architect in the making!I love it, and the idea of it. I too am making a quilt for my 18 yr old daughter for uni - should have it finished in the next few days - all layed out and layered up ready to quilt tomorrow - but totally girly! Bright and flowery, but the concept of it representing a bit of home and comfort and Mum is the same.
    Thanks for sharing yours Kristen
    Gill xx

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  36. That is a lovely gift for a young man. Wonderful choice of fabrics and always perfection in execution! He'll cherish this, I know.

    happy mother's day :)

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  37. it's a great quilt for him! I have been collecting my sons t-shirts and may make a quilt out of those, of course not all the t-shirts will be suitable by then but i might give it a try! Heather x

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  38. After googling a 'mans quilt' for inspiration..yours came up..I love it. I will do a similar version in sage greens and burnt orange..Thanks for posting it!

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