Quilts are part of my maternal history. As a little girl, my bed had quilts. My mother’s bed had quilts. My grandmother’s bed had quilts. My own little ones had quilts on their beds, quilts tucked around their sleeping forms. Each of these quilts are pieced together from scraps of fabric, and every one of those scraps have some history. For generations, the women in my family have made quilts. Quilts comfort and warm, and our quilts also tell our stories.
There is a quilt from my grandmother. It is made of scraps created when she was sewing my mother’s childhood dresses. That quilt is made of smooth cotton, light and airy. The colors are pale green, pink and yellows, solids dance with lavender dots and small flowers. My grandmother’s tiny, almost invisible stitches make cloud shapes that float over the entire quilt.
There is the quilt made by my great-aunts from scraps of men’s wool work shirts. It is a masculine quilt sporting a simple geometric design. The wool is heavy and warm. The complex tartans of grey, red and green give a nod to our Scottish history.
There is a crib quilt I made when on midwife ordered bed-rest, my second trimester contractions coming every five minutes whenever I dared normal activity. Its fabric was bought new. In varied shades of pink and purple, every piece was carefully chosen for my baby-to-be. (I just knew she was a girl, I just knew she was my Alison.) The fabric was then cut into tiny pieces, and then, scrap by scrap, pieced into designs, some angular, several curved, but all carefully sewn by hand.
This week, I was presented with a new quilt, a quilt made just for me. It is backed and edged in cozy fleece, perfect for snuggling under. It is pieced with fabrics of various history. There is the shirt that Rebecca wore when Malcolm was born, the nightgown that Chrissy wore for three pregnancies and two births, the blanket that newborn Rachy was wrapped in….
In the center of this quilt is a large square of cotton muslin. In the middle of this cloth, my tag line of over twenty-five years is written, “Born into Loving Hands”. Those words are crowned with the traced hands of a sweet big sister (and a possible midwife-to-be).
Radiating from the center of my quilt are the names of every baby born with Local Care Midwifery. There are over a hundred names on this amazing quilt, over a hundred precious names, written in marker, written with love.
When I was given this quilt (and after I stopped crying), I was presented with a fabric marker. It turns out that the muslin center is not full, there is still room to write many more baby names.
Just a few days later, another LCM baby was born into my waiting hands. Then a day after that, I picked up my precious marker and added a new name to my quilt. Another soul blesses this earth, and another name graces my quilt. Mazel tov!
May all babies be born into loving hands