The African proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child” has been used to express how the rearing of a child should be one of community, to support, teach, and encourage.
In our extended family, we have someone who crafts a special quilt during the first year of a new baby’s life. With her skills, it would not take her long to create a piece of art that would be lovely. But she goes beyond that. In a symbolic gesture of unity, she contacts members of the extended family: aunts, other grandparents, great aunts, cousins, step-moms, in-laws. She casts a wide net for those who celebrate the addition of this new baby.
We receive a letter with a 12″x 12″ square, a theme, and a few swatches of material that add to the unity of the quilt. All who wish to participate make the square and mail it back to the seamstress by a certain date. The quilter then weaves all the images into a beautiful keepsake.
I’ve always loved the symbolism of this. While I dabble in a variety of art, sewing is not my strong suit, so I received the announcement “quilt time” with some trepidation. Still, being a member of a larger tribe is appealing to me, so I make this square….no matter what!
The theme is “planes” so I begin brainstorming and sketching options. One wing or two…hummm.
I cut out pieces of the material putting this iron tacking material on the back. The light blue balloon is from my dad’s tie, who is no longer with us. It makes me happy to know the new one will have a touch of my dad’s magic within the quilt.
At this point I arrange and iron. So far so good.
Now comes the hard part. Because my sewing machine is under piles of who knows what (or is it in the attic?) I will be hand stitching each of the images. This takes the longest but is something I choose because I think about the little one as I stitch. I keep stitching until the back looks like this:
So it is done. I’m happy with my work and know it will be part of a larger group of squares that are crafted together with love for the new child.