Journey of Quilting + quilting without obligation

Quilting Without Obligation {Part Four)

My third quilt ever... I've come a long way!

Or should I title this one Quilting With Obligation? I know... but stay with me for a minute.
We have all been there, rushing to make a quilt for a birthday, a holiday, or a baby shower. And let's be honest, a lot of last minute gifts are obligatory ones. And then there are other obligations; obligations of a different purpose. What I am about to write is personal and it is what happened and worked for me. I know that we come from all sorts of backgrounds so I don't write this to push an agenda. I write this because it is why I, an imperfect person, am passionate about quilting.
This is my story... my ultimate behind-the-scenes process...

I went through a very difficult set of circumstances in the time before my daughter was conceived, through my pregnancy with her, and in the first few years of her life. I found myself in the situation that no married person wants to find themselves in; my then husband was having an affair. Our marriage unraveled and I found myself humiliated, heartbroken, and going through a divorce while I was pregnant.

Fast forward four years... I had been remarried two years to a wonderful man who loves me and my daughter. My ex-husband was also remarried to the woman that he had the affair with. Things were tolerable and even somewhat amicable as we all settled into our new lives. And then I heard that they were expecting a baby.

When I found this out, emotions I never knew I had came rushing to the surface. Ugly ones such as jealousy and anger. Hurt and grief also began to seep out over the things I did not experience... I spent much of my pregnancy alone. I did not have a husband by my side as our daughter was born via emergency c-section after 18+ hours of labor. I spent much of being pregnant dealing with lawyers and worrying about how I was going to make it as a single mom. All those things I experienced while my husband and his girlfriend were care-free traveling and enjoying the newness of their relationship. It was hard. But I made it.
Still reeling with emotion, I went to bed one night and dreamt about my ex-husband's baby on the way. In this dream he and his wife were both very sad because they had no one to make their baby a blanket {his mother is severely disabled and her mother had recently passed away}. I woke up the next morning knowing what I needed to do. I had only been quilting a short amount of time so I used that excuse for awhile. I also told myself that I would be overstepping boundaries and would offend them. That afternoon I was driving home with my daughter who was four at the time and she exclaimed, "momma, who's gonna make my baby sister covers?". Good. Grief. I just about drove off the road.
That evening I swallowed my pride and hurt and emailed my ex-husband and asked him for the baby's nursery colors and theme. I didn't tell him anything else about the dream or what our daughter said because I was still nervous about what I was planning to do. He responded almost immediately and the next day I ordered the fabric for my third quilt ever... a quilt for my daughter's sister. This was truly a quilt of obligation but it was also the quilt that made quilting mean so much more than just designer fabrics, patterns and blogging.
It was a simple quilt that I hand pieced and hand quilted. I machine appliqued the monkey on and this was the first time that I ever used a sewing machine. For the quilting, I made a plastic template by tracing my daughter's hand and I used that template to hand quilt her "hand prints" all over. It was very cute!

Obviously hand piecing and quilting takes a long time so I had the time I needed to work through my own emotions. With each stitch I took, my heart healed a little. I found all the things I was thankful for in our situation; my daughter and my wonderful husband being at the top of that list. By the time I stitched the binding down, I had a new sense of peace.
For the first time I was able to say that there was nothing I would have changed about the circumstances of the past several years. All the pain, all the tears, all the hurt... they were all worth the place I ultimately arrived at. I found a new place as a happily married woman no longer hurt by the past. And then I found my place as a whole mother who was able to support my daughter in her relationship with her father, her step-mom and her new baby sister.

What started out as an awful situation has become a wonderful situation. I eventually shared the background of the quilt with my daughter's step-mom and any remaining awkwardness seemed to melt away. I consider her a friend; one who cares deeply for my daughter. We have now planned birthday parties together, we've comfortably attended so many events together, we have even joined forces to parent a happy, bright, and well-rounded 6 year old little girl who loves her little sister, her Momma, her Dad, her Daddy, and her Amy. All because I made a quilt of obligation...

Now, I don't write this to make a statement about myself because I'm just That Girl, a really imperfect and slightly neurotic person who just happened to listen and follow my obligation to a higher calling. Quilting is an amazing process that I love to write about as it can be therapeutic, healing, and peaceful for the maker. But it can also be used to build a bridge, create a patch, and serve as an offering of grace and love worth a thousand words that dries thousand tears.

Edited to add... Things have become quite tense due to a certain set of circumstances but it is my hope and prayer that over time, our families are able to return to some sort of normalcy. If you are the praying type, you are more than welcome to keep all of us in your prayers...

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Quilting Without Obligation {Part Four) + quilting without obligation