Here is an applique project I’ve recently been working on. The pattern is taken from an old antique quilt called “Whig Rose.” I made the blocks many years ago, then set it aside. About a year ago I got it out again and determined that it was time to tackle the borders. Sometimes a job just seems too big when you look at it all at once. Kind of like life.
I prepared the pieces for the borders about a year ago so I’d have some handwork to do when I’m stuck in a car on a trip, or when I have a minute to wait. Slowly, I’ve inched my way across each of the four borders. Last week I sewed the last leaves on. Now I need to attach them to the rest of the quilt and finish the corners. My work is almost finished.
As I’ve stitched, I’ve often repeated in my mind the thought, “Inch by inch, life’s a cinch.” Quilting and applique are much the same. In order to finish the whole, you need to make lots of little stitches. You can’t skip over any, or the applique piece will come loose. You just have to keep moving forward, across the fabric pieces, or through the days of our lives. Sometimes we move through seconds and minutes, sometimes hours or days. Some seem to last forever and some fly by.
Sometimes, like this week, as we begin a new school year, we mothers look at our children and wonder where the years have gone. I don’t see the stitches, the minutes and hours or days that brought us here. I only feel the years that have bounded past me, whooshing by somehow, bringing me to where I now stand on the steps, waving good-bye as my children set off for elementary school? No. High school? No. This year all three of mine are university-bound.
I’m not sure how that happened, but looking at the backs of my quilts reminds me that we have covered a lot of ground together, my children and I. Some stitches aren’t so perfect. Some vary a bit or stray to the right or left. Some have been unpicked and tried again. But all in all, they hold us together, and when we turn the quilt over, we see a beautiful whole.
I hope my children’s lives will someday be the same.