Piecing together some time for myself

Drum roll please, I’ve finally finished T’s quilt. For all you non-quilters out there, this is not a small thing. This is a really big thing. It’s taken over two months of snatching time away that really ought to be spent on useful things like emptying the dishwasher, checking the credit card statement, tidying up toys and cooking supper… Even this blog has taken second place.

Instead, I’ve been hurrying home from the school run, putting BBC Radio 4 podcasts on (got to keep up with Woman’s Hour and The Archers), and sewing. It’s been heaven.

It’s something I struggle with, trying to find something to do in between the school runs that gives me a sense of achievement. Something not involving housework, life admin or childcare. A project for myself, something I can feel proud of that is kind-of-slightly about the children, but mainly for me. It’s also v satisfying to bring back an old skill that predates wife-and-motherhood. My very first school girl’s patchwork quilt took no less than six years. I was so proud of it, I even put it on my first CV to demonstrate perseverance.

Some of you may remember I madly decided to sew B a bunny quilt for her Christmas present, done in three frenzied weeks completely by hand. My friends finally convinced me to buy a sewing machine, so T’s quilt has been an interesting crash course in how to use one. My main lesson was – don’t start with an enormous piece of fabric. The frustration and stress of rolling up yards and yards of material to try and cram it under the sewing machine’s arm whilst stitching round and round a cow’s face was not fun. 

But on Saturday I finally finished it. Poor C had gone for a run and come home bearing coffee and pastries. Instead of a happy, grateful wife, he got a snarling, hunched one howling “I’ve just got one edge left to do, I can’t possibly stop now, don’t get crumbs anywhere near it!” He and the girls retreated and left me to it. But it’s finally done, and is looking fabulous on T’s bed.

I photographed the whole process, but for once I’m going to upload them as simple images without the line drawing effect, as I’ve found the fabric doesn’t show up otherwise. Which would rather defeat the point.

This week’s Highs & Lows:

Highs: Finishing the quilt. Seeing T&B fast asleep in B’s cot having a ‘sleep over’. Blossom on the trees at last, at last.

Lows: Getting utterly, wretchedly drenched two days in a row on the way to school. One of the downsides of living up in the clouds is that you can’t tell whether it’s actually raining or not. The doorman frequently sends me back upstairs to get more layers on, but this time the downpours caught us completely by surprise. Stupid April showers. Also, someone telling me the cows look like Ben & Jerry’s icecream packaging. That was not my intention!

The sketched design and fabrics (all from the v fabulous Purl Bee in Soho)
The sketched design and fabrics (all from the v fabulous Purl Bee in Soho)
Trying the full size cows out for size on the wall
Trying the full size cows out for size on the wall
Starting small
Starting small

Cow quilt 14

Completing the quilt top
Completing the quilt top
Quilted, bound, completed
Quilted, bound, completed
Put to good use on T's toddler bed
Put to good use on T’s toddler bed

 

Author: Alex

Hello. Toddling Round New York is my own little blog of our family's experience of moving young kids from London to New York... And of having a baby out here. They are my own baby steps of exploring this incredible city. I lived in five countries in four continents growing up, so you'd think I'd be good at this by now. Here you'll find stories and photographs of our adventures, the highs and the lows of expat parenthood, and some ideas I hope you'll find useful if you're in New York with young kids.

7 thoughts on “Piecing together some time for myself”

    1. Thanks Louise. Yep, next project is to try my hand at dressmaking using that book we bought together in the Hamptons. First attempt will be a simple girl’s skirt using some sweet fabric with blue birds printed on it. #slightlydaunted

    1. Thanks Sarah, I’m chuffed to bits with it. Last night I told T she could pass it on to her own daughter one day, and she put her hand on my arm and said “But Mummy, I want to keep it myself for ever.” V adorable

  1. I love reading your blog… and have very fond memories of you stitching your first quilt!

    1. Rubbish at this, managed to submit comment before finishing it!
      T’s quilt looks lovely xx

Leave a Reply