Hi. I'm Erin's mom. For many years I was just Bill and Jean's daughter. Then I was Mark's girlfriend and eventually his wife. He was (and still is....) a singer and everyone knew his name and no one knew mine. And I didn't mind that. Then there came the years when I discovered my own voice and surged forward, out of the shadows and into the limelight as Susan Moore. In fact, Mark even became Susan's husband for a while.
Now, I'm an old woman, more secure in who I am and more than content to be, once again, known by my relationships rather than my notoriety or accomplishments. So this past summer, when we went to see "Robin Hood: The Legend Re-Written" in London, UK, I was so proud to be introduced to the cast as "Jenny's mom." She composed the music for that remarkable play and it was wonderful to watch her thrive in her artsy world that I only sometimes understand, but always enjoy.
And now, here I am blogging in Erin's Blanket Statement world. So proud to be Erin's mom. I'm a bit more comfortable and experienced in the quilting world than the theatre, although when I offered to sew for her, Erin told me that my points don't quite meet her standards. And I hardly ever add binding to a quilt because I just want it done and binding has corners that are often a bit lumpy. I'm what you might call a casual quilter - and by that I do not mean that I only quilt on occasion, because I quilt every day, but I'm a casual quilter in that precision is lower down my list of priorities. Far below beauty, warmth, design and thrift.
My mother was a seamstress, not professionally, but she made every item of clothing I owned. I particularly remember one of my favourite outfits - a bomber jacket and hot pants made out of red quilted fabric. Felt like I was wearing hockey pants, but I'm sure I was very cool. She also sewed a myriad of different craft items for a local market in London, Ontario, including necessities like map holders and tennis ball bags.
But she didn't quilt. So I decided to make her one for Christmas. I knew nothing about quilting, so I went to the public library (it's a place sort of like Google...) and took out a book from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, and there on one of the pages was an incredible quilt. The colours were vibrant. There were circles appliquéd on squares. There were pie shaped pieces appliquéd on the circles. It was amazing. So I made it, just from looking at a picture in a book, copying every quilt line on that art piece.
I hate reading instructions, so this suited me just fine. I used fabrics and threads that were too heavy for the number of layers in that quilt, but my mom loved it and had it on her guest room bed until I stole it back for one of our kids' beds.
And now Erin has it. The colours have run...the stitching is broken in many places....but it is still amazing, chronicling my quilty beginnings. Learning by trial and error and by just doing it.
My second quilt was a Log Cabin design made of inappropriate fabrics of all different weights. For almost fifty years, it has rested on beds and adorned family room walls. For the past many years it has been our picnic tablecloth and has travelled miles and kilometres on countless camping trips.
It's torn and tattered and very dear to us. It needs a few repairs and I'll get to that some day, but it is still the quilt my husband or I nab in the middle of the night when we wander into the guest room to get away from the other's snoring.
I've learned a bit since those early days of quilting, but I still don't have many of the accessories that everyone swears by. I have a hoop, some snips and a leather thimble from The Blanket Statement. They are all I need, along with a closet full of random fabric, mostly gifted to me by friends who have faced the reality of their bulging stashes and are happy to pass along their stuff to someone who might actually use it.
And I do. I quilt to create beauty. I quilt to sit still. I quilt to listen. I quilt to reflect and remember. I quilt to share my daughter's world. I quilt to dream up future adventures. I quilt, therefore I am.