A Meandering Observation about Quilting

My Baby Quilt with “Sewing in a Straight Line” by Brett Bara

I’m new to learning how to sew on the machine, and I’ve been working on different small projects this summer because as the adage goes “practice makes perfect.”  And so I have been tormenting myself with a baby quilt for the last couple of months.  It’s a beautiful and simple design by one of my favourite crafters, Brett Bara.  (I really can’t say enough nice things about her.)  However, I just can’t seem to get the quilt sewn without varying stitching lengths and puckering.  With trial and error, the former issue has been resolved with both adjusting the tension and a new needle.  The latter is still causing me a headache.

How I currently feel about the baby quilt

I read a beautiful book called the Little Bits Quilting Bee by Kathreen Ricketson that I checked out from the library which posited a radical thought.  The author said (and I’m paraphrasing since I’ve already returned the book) to not practice too much because perfection is not possible.  Her point was that if all we ever did was practice, then nothing would be accomplished.

Good point, right?  (Ok, keep that in mind.)

So I went to the county fair this summer and was so impressed by all of the sewing (and knitting) entries.  Even though I am a novice, I looked at a lot of the traditional quilts and realized that I could probably make them.  I realized that I could actually enter a competition someday, and even though I may not win a ribbon, it would be a fun adventure.  (Can you feel the excitement?)

Then recently, I had the pleasure of viewing old quilts that were being sold in an antique shop for a pretty penny.  It was there that I realized that Ricketson was only partly right as I spotted flaw after flaw in these old quilts.  I knew that if I were to make a quilt, that I would want it to be of heirloom quality, and that it needed to be good enough that a novice wouldn’t be able to identify errors.  A quilter needs to do good work.  (And back to reality I go.)

With that, I’m going to go back to that baby quilt I’ve been working on and rip it out again.  Unless Wren wakes up from her nap first.

Alternate Perspective of the Quilt Top

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Sadly, so sadly.

Do you have that one event you look forward to as soon as summer starts?  It could be the theme park opening or a vacation.  For me, it was a picnic for adopted families.  I really have been looking forward to reconnecting with other couples and families that we’ve met through our adoption agency in the past year.

Today is the day of the picnic, so we got in the car, turned onto the highway, and we sat.  After thirty minutes we had only made it six miles.  An hour later and we only made it about twenty more miles.  The park was another sixty miles away.

Nothing on the radio or the news indicated an accident.  There was just too much traffic on one of America’s busiest highways.

Sadly, we realized there was no way we could get there before people starting packing up.

Sadly, we decided to call it quits.

I am so disappointed that we didn’t get to be there.

And now I have to figure out what to do with all of these potato chips.

It happened again.

On Saturday we drove up to Maryland for a wedding.  We were well over an hour early so we stopped for some coffee for us and a feeding for Wren.  Because there was not a diaper changing station in the coffee shop, Wren and I went to the adjacent bookstore to use their facilities.

In the bathroom were several other women from the coffee shop who then commented on how beautiful my daughter was. As we were returning to Okey, another woman stopped to talk to Wren and me.  She said that she worked at a child development center, and she wanted to let me know that it’s so obvious when a child is well-loved.  She also commented on how beautiful my daughter was … which made Wren beam.  Then the woman, almost instinctively, reached out with her arms to hold my daughter.

“I’m sorry. I do not know you.”

I couldn’t believe I was saying those words again.

This friendly, outgoing woman was visibly shocked at my refusal to let her hold my daughter.  But then she recovered with a smile on her face and said “I get it.”

We both smiled, exchanged a few more pleasantries, and went on our separate, merry ways.

However, this left me wondering if this was more common than I realized.  How many of you have had strangers ask to hold your baby?

Experiencing Baby Food

At sixteen weeks, Wren had shown great interest in our food.  Sitting upright in her bumbo, she would mimic her daddy and mommy as they ate their own food.  She would also reach out for our plates.  Because she exhibited a lot of the signs that she was ready to eat, we went ahead and gave her “solid food.”

She took immediately to the rice cereal.  After a week of that we tried green beans.  With reservation, she ate her vegetables.  By the third night of this legume, however, she was a fan.  We put her back on rice cereal for a couple of weeks since we were travelling so much.  Last night, we gave her some plain yogurt (per our doctor’s recommendation).  At first we didn’t think she approved of the sour taste, but then she was reaching for more, more, more!

A couple of weekends ago, we went to visit my folks at their farm.  The plan was for my mum and me to preserve some fresh homegrown vegetables to be pureed during the winter months for Wren.  Well, while I was feeding Wren and changing her diaper, my mum was busy canning.  All said and done, we she got 25 jars of Italian beans and seven jars of yellow squash.  These have been labeled and put into storage for the winter months when fresh vegetables are harder to come by.

Although I did not actually preserve the vegetables, I learned a couple of important things from my mum concerning canning baby food:

1.  Do not puree the food before canning them as the internal temperature may not reach its target and some bacteria may survive.

2.  Low acid foods must be pressure canned (versus the boil water method that I learned last fall).

This is something I hope to do again, perhaps on my own and perhaps once we can find the replacement parts for the pressure canner I received from a Freecycling donor.