When I found out I was pregnant, I was quite overwhelmed with the ideas of how my child would be, the life we would lead, the things we would do, the sort of mother I would be, how I was raised and the everlasting images I have from my own childhood. I don't think there's anything unusual in those feelings, and I'm sure any mother would say they had the same, or similar thoughts. It was when I was first pregnant and struggling with the onslaught of morning sickness and tiredness which swept over me uncontrollably all day every day that I picked up the knitting needles again after an absence of a few years. There was within me, a deep need to connect to this child, who felt alien and not a real part of me yet. Somehow making something would make it easier for me to deal with the reluctance of my body to allow me to enjoy my pregnancy. And there was a feeling that if I made something for my child, I would ultimately be a better mother for having done that, because obviously, I cared more for my child, because I was prepared to do something entirely for It. It's an irrational thought, but given the amount of 'perfect parenting' propoganda in the press and thrown at us, it makes perfect sense as well even if it's a theory which continues to be tested with every new corner we turn.
I still have the items I made for this little baby, tucked away in a beautiful linen bag bought in a small shop in a small village in the hills near St Raphael in France - another momento bought to connect with something that seemed so unreal. That little bag brings together so many hopes, dreams, and memories. My next child will wear the item as well, and again, it will be put back into the little bag and kept in my drawer where I can take it out and be reminded of the beauty a newborn baby has.
What I desperately wanted to make though was a quilt. A momento of love, of mother/child relationships, bound together with simple stitches and hand picked materials, each stitch a new dream, hope or secret divulged. Unfortunately the tiredness prevailed and the small space we lived in was incompatible with large scale works, and the quilt never got made. And I, in turn, felt I had somehow let my child down by not making this item. Recently though my thoughts have returned to the preciousness of handmade items and the meaning they capture, and that it needn't be something which has to be made for a child's birth, but can be made purely for the hell of it, at any age, and that might give it more meaning, because it's outside any preconceived ideas of acceptance of gift, and was done, because - because I had the time, the will, the desire, the need, right then, right there.
To this end, I have been searching for the right moment, the right collection of materials, to make my child something which I hope will mean something to him, and which will keep him warm, if not in the physical sense, then in the heart warming sense. I came across some hand screen printed fabric done by a local Sydney lady - both pieces at the top of the photo - and fell in love with them immediately.
Combined with some green spotted cotton from my boxes, some Nani Iro red spotted fabric, and some Kaffe Fasset stripey material, this is turning into a large stripey quilt of circles, and patterns, and roads to travel. It will be quilted - my first quilted piece - and as I stitch my thoughts wander to ideas that Max will lie in bed some nights, and trace the stitches with his fingers and dream.