For a while now, Bear and Buster Boy have hovered nearby as I create, wanting to join in. Occasionally, they pop up on my knee, and if they are good, maybe operate the reverse lever. But at 5, I felt Bear was big enough to have a go on his own. The morning chores done, I called to him. “Would you like to learn how to sew properly, baby boy?”, and his little face lit up with such joy, my heart thought it would burst. I dropped a small kiss on top of his head, and hand in hand, we walked to the studio. I suggested maybe a little quilt for his Pooh Bear, and he danced in delight. “With squares and rectangles” he declared as I pulled open the fabric container. He selected two red and white fabrics, and carefully laid them out as I grabbed a piece of paper, and sketched a rough rectangle. “How shall it go, sweetheart?” “Squares across there, please.” He smiled as I lay in the squares. “Then a rectangle. More squares, lined up with those ones. Rectangle, and then squares”. He stood back, pleased with the result, then went stash-diving again. “And this for the rectangles mummy”. So I lay out his three fabrics, and quickly cut them up for him. Then I settled him at machine with some basic instructions, and worked the pedal for him as he joined the blocks together, watched as I pressed them, and then joined the rows.
Before long, a sweet little quilt top, surprisingly accurate, emerged. He chose a deep gold for the backing, and with some scrap bamboo batting, we pinned the quilt, and after attaching the walking foot and setting the machine on a boy-sized table, he set off to quilt it all on his own, in complete control.
When quilted to his satisfaction, he declared the gold perfect for the binding, and for the first time in the project, I was actually invited to participate. I stitched on the binding for him, and showed him how to hand stitch it down. At which point he decided he was hungry. Which I believe is 5-year-old-code for “not that into this, really”, and so mummy to rescue, I stitched it down, and one little boy was very proud of himself. One mummy was very proud of him too.
And now, of course, Buster wants a turn. A square one for Cookie Monster. But for now, they sleep. A chocolate cake is fresh out of the oven, it’s scent wafting temptingly through the house. The washing flaps in the breeze. The silences holds me captive, and my mind soars with a burst of itching creativeness. A stolen moment or two, and I hope to knock out a Swoon block. Shhh, my babies. Sleep well, dream long. This afternoon, we will play and sing and cuddle. For now, I sew.