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  • anitandart

Crotchety Quilt

they say that you shouldn’t let your possessions own you, but so many of them have unique stories and remind us of who we are. Here’s our „Quilt“ story:

Of course it's not a quilt, but still one of our most treasured home decor items.

My mom had a real talent for knitting and other needlework. She created the most amazing things out of fabric and yarn and loved doing it! Family lore has it that she would sit and watch her grandma knit for hours on end from a very early age. It was the equivalent of modern day screen time. Until her grandma finally took pity and told her she'd be allowed to learn the art IF she could untangle a basket full of yarn scraps that her grandma had accumulated over a lifetime and never had to time to straighten out to reuse them. Now this was the 1950s, so all of it was wool. In spite of growing up on a farm my mom had a pretty bad allergic reaction to wool. She was also terrified of all the animals, especially geese. But that's another story. :)

So her little hands and arms began to itch and burn, but she tirelessly detangled all the knots and sorted the colors and wound them up into neat little balls of yarn that were all going to be her own to use! She learned to knit and crotchet and it became her "Zen" activity, no matter what life threw at her. There was always a project at hand, several in stressful times.

I, on the other hand, only inherited the wool allergy, not the talent. I can’t count how many times she sat me down and patiently showed me how easy it all was, bribing me with ice cream or enrolling me in classes, yet I did not learn! Eventually she gave up and happily knitted and stitched and sewed outfits and stuffed animals for our 3 older kids as they came along. Perfect booties, blankets and cute jackets.

Then in 2014/15 both of my parents passed away within 5 months of each other. Cancer, different kinds, but equally cruel. Being an only child I wrestled with this alone for a long time. I think I still do sometimes, in good and bad ways. Around that time we had been trying to decide if we would have another baby or not. Our youngest would ask me almost every night „ Mommy, when are you gonna grow another baby?“

So, after all this death and sadness I needed something happy and life affirming. I didn’t want our kids to be alone when we die.

Also, it was an excuse to finally get a minivan, even out the numbers (I don't like uneven numbers) and trying for another girl. None of those are great reasons to increase the world population, of course.

Nevertheless we went ahead and after a couple of painful early losses, one of which nearly killed me, I was finally pregnant with N.4. We were excited to tell the older kids, who were then 10, 8 and 5. With big smiles on our faces we gathered them to share the good news:

"So, what would you think if we had another baby, a little brother or sister for you guys?"

The answers ranged from: "No, we're good." to "Why !??" and "I am NOT sharing my room!" But they quickly got used to the idea, happy even. As time went on they helped me dig through their baby things to get ready. We came across each of their blankets, carefully handmade by "Oma". And thy said: "Who will make a blanket for the baby now?"

So... I shared my very rudimentary knowledge of crocheting. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I remembered and we bravely went to the store to by some acrylic yarn in bright colors and a few needles. They all set to work and made small pieces, strings, whatever they could over a period of the next few moths, working away whenever they could and talking about the baby and

how cozy he/she

would be in their new blanket, asking questions about were babies are made. We shared some stories and memories of my parents and wove them right into the patches of blanket. I took all the pieces and stitched them together for this imperfect but beautiful baby blanket.

N.4 was born 100 years after this picture was taken: My great- grandma (wool basket not pictured). Great-grandfather and my great-aunt.

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