Wednesday, February 22, 2017

binding the little ones close

 i'm currently binding "star of the circus" whenever i get the chance: soccer games, while visiting with friends, or when we're just hanging out as a family. it's nice that it keeps my lap warm while i work since this is the time of year that's desirable.

i like to have some photos snapped of me working on the quilt because i'm foolish enough to think future generations who own this quilt might actually like a picture of grandma working on the little piece of her they've inherited. i would certainly like to see any heirloom i have when it was in the works, in the hands of the maker. so i grab a child and ask them to take some pictures.

 naturally, i prefer that this happen when i feel photo-presentable, which is usually on a sunday afternoon after church. a few weeks ago all of this was happening when i got an interested photobomber. first, she asked if she could sit next to me in the photos, wanting what she always wants: attention and the world to revolve around her 5 yr old self. she's a cute enough prop that i said ok.

 then she asked if she could help me sew! one of the reasons i enjoy handwork is the methodical, meditative, slow-paced aspect of it. i can either concentrate on a conversation in the room, or have one in my head. either way, it's always slow work. but adding a 5 yr old into the mix makes it even slower.

i admit i was reluctant to let her into my personal stitching space at first. but we worked it out very nicely. i place the needle, getting it started. she pulls it through. she did ask to do all the work herself after a minute or two, but i held firm to the arrangement. i do want the binding to be functional and look good, too. (it's the perfect opportunity to introduce her to her own stitching projects, like burlap stitching.)

however, giving her a chance to sew with me has many benefits.

it increases my enjoyment of the project and adds to the emotional value of the quilt. i imagine someday i'll look back and say, "i remember when d5 was so little and we stitched this binding together!" her involvement becomes part of the story of the quilt.

it also creates pleasant memories and associations for her, piques her interest in sewing, and attaches her to the project. when she looks at quilts she's helped me with, she'll be able to think, "i helped mommy make that!" i'm hoping this spurs her to create on her own in the future. of course it's an opportunity to instruct her on sewing skills.

so often, letting the kids "help" me sew is anything but help. it can cause extreme frustration and maybe even some explosions on my part. however, i believe it's an important investment in not only their future as creative people, but an investment in our current relationship, as well.

i already know this quilt is going to take several sit-down episodes to bind. slowing down a bit more to let her sew with me isn't going to delay the process much. since there's no deadline on this quilt, i have the luxury of being able to include her.

and as it turns out, she only stays interested for a short period of time anyway. after a few minutes, she'll bounce off to other things. i'm glad this is a lesson i'm learning right along side those she is gleaning.

it has certainly made both of us happy in this instance.

1 comment:

  1. The pictures of the two of you sewing together are beautiful! I am not good at letting my boys into my sewing time...I tend to view that as "my" time and I have trouble sharing it. You have found a beautiful way to let her share in the process.


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