Thursday, August 15, 2013

#TBT Throwback Thursday - The Mother-in-Law Quilt

Quiltin Jenny

It's Throwback Thursday here at Quiltin' Jenny, and I hope you'll link up and share your own creative adventures from your pre-blogging days.

Picking my first quilt for the first week of this meme was a no brainer, but picking the second?  More challenging.  For one thing, I can't even say for sure which was my second quilt.

So I decided to feature the quilt in my button (up there!  You can grab it for your blog!).  It was my first mystery quilt, and the one I call my mother-in-law quilt.

I learned to quilt at a shop in Roswell called Calico Quilter, which closed several years ago.  After my beginning quilting class, I took a few others.  I know I took a machine quilting class, and I also took a mystery class called Plain Vanilla. This was supposed to introduce us to the beauty of neutral fabrics, and we knew it would be a lap/baby sized quilt that could easily be made bigger.  I'm pretty sure there was a kit, because I can't imagine picking all of these out by myself at that point.

We started by cutting strips and then equilateral triangles in two sizes (I think about 2 1/2" and 5") with this "specialty" ruler.  Once we figured out how they go together, the quilt went quickly and we had a large chunk of it done by the time we left that evening.

It took a long time to quilt this, because I knew I wanted to do a clamshell pattern and we had been advised not to hand quilt these quilts because of the many seams that come together.  I eventually used a roll of Quilting Made Easy that you stick on for one of my very earliest attempts at machine quilting.  I'm actually quite happy with it, and the clamshell is still one of my favorite quilting motifs.

Why do I call it my mother-in-law quilt?  Back when The Pit Boss and I were engaged, someone jokingly told my wonderful MiL to be that her only jobs were to "show up, shut up, and wear beige."  Although her role was so much greater than that, I have thought to myself many times that it's not terrible advice for any MiL, especially the mother of the groom.  In a way, it's advice that my MiL has taken and made me treasure our relationship.  How?
  • Show up:  She's always there for us.  She's there to celebrate - most recently by hosting Deuce's going away dinner and making his favorite country fried steak and gravy with a side of fried corn for a ridiculous number of people.  When he was a baby, she would often "stop by" when the weather was bad and watch him so I didn't have to haul him to the grocery store or hair appointment.  She's given us advice - when asked! - about everything from buying our first house to grout color in the bathroom remodel and everything in between.  She and my equally beloved father-in-law are wonderful sports about coming to my parents' house at Thanksgiving when the hordes descend so that we aren't juggling multiple houses or balancing many meals on one chaotic day.  
  • Shut up:  In some ways I am like my MiL; in so many more I am the opposite.  I can never manage to keep my mouth shut, even when it would be so much easier and more pleasant to do so.  I'm working on it, but I have a problem keeping my opinions to myself.  There are times - hopefully less recently than in the past - when I'm certain that the way I was doing things was making my organized and logical MiL absolutely crazy, but she bit her tongue and let me figure it out.  She was always happy to help when I ask, and I am more likely to ask because I never feel judged or looked down on.  
  • Wear beige:  Okay, this one is a stretch, but my MiL has never been one to create her own drama or try to upstage anyone.  She's not entirely comfortable being the center of attention, and accepts gifts and compliments with humor and humility.  She loves celebrating other people, and opens her home to whomever would like to come to dinner or just to fish off the dock for a bit.
All of these things make it so easy to want my MiL around more and to value her opinion.  We have so much fun, and I know how lucky we are to celebrate with both sides of the family together. I hope that when the day comes - not now, but not so far away - when I am a MiL myself, I can remember these bits of wisdom and have as positive a relationship with my own daughters- and son-in-law.  This quilt is a reminder of that for me.  I may have to use it as a gag when my daughter-in-law lets the grandchildren run wild or my son-in-law plays too much golf, but it will be there!

Link up below and let's see one of your blasts from the past.

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