Debbie Hough

Contributing Columnist

I cannot even believe that Henry is about to turn two. And for this very reason I had gotten myself into a mess. 

It all started six months ago when someone from my guild asked if I would teach a T-shirt quilt class. I said no just as fast as I could because I hate making them. Okay, I’ve only made one and the making wasn’t hard, it was the quilting of it that annoyed me to no end. But my daughters make these all the time so I send them all requests that come my way. 

However, I did tell this guild member to call the other Debbie in our group because she does a quilt as you go method of which I would even be willing to try. Ask, and it shall be given … and I signed up for the class.

Then I had to hunt down some T-shirts. I don’t wear them, not the round-necked ones anyway because they touch my throat and nothing is allowed to touch my throat — just ask the hubby. He can’t seem to resist kissing it and has suffered for decades the resulting screeches and elbows to the face. 

So anyway — I managed to find nine that I have either won, earned, bought in support of something, or snuck out of my husband’s drawer. These would make a memorable lap quilt. And then the other Debbie had me bring it all to retreat to “get started” and  — well — I “got finished.”

Feeling obligated to still take the class I called Trish to see if she had any T-shirts lying around. She said they were all at my house, awaiting the massive yard sale we’re going to have this summer. 

What I found in the loft was a bag full of Henry’s onesies and tiny T-shirts. This would make a perfect birthday present! I sorted and measured and designed but my hand would not reach for the scissors. I called Trish back. “I’m having a moral dilemma. I can’t cut up perfectly good clothes unless I know you’re really okay with this.” She said she was.

Feeling even naughtier than when I cut up my own shirts, I managed to force myself to hack up Henry’s. His newborn onesies were so tiny I had to pair the pieces up with the backs of other shirts to get the six and a half inch squares I needed, and working around those folded sleeves that only baby clothes sport was an exercise in patience and ingenuity.

I also needed just as many pieces of batting for each square I had cut (which was about 50.) I didn’t want to waste perfectly good batting so I gratefully dug into a pile of leftover pieces. They were not that big so they needed to be zig-zagged together and then cut to size. This is a real boring task, but I had to watch Henry one long morning so I brought my machine, a little table and all my batting scraps.

Henry watched me working on it. He giggled as piece after piece kept coming out of my machine, heading for his face. At some point they fell off the table in a long connected strand and he said “Uh-oh! Oh no!” and tried stuffing them back on my little table. That kid makes me laugh!

 I went back home to eagerly start making the quilt. It wasn’t easy — as someone forgot to spray baste the pieces down because she was excited to get started, and she also forgot to wait for the T- shirt class — again. 

My stitches aren’t particularly straight because some of the fabrics are rubbery, causing “steering” problems. But as foxes, monkeys, giraffes and elephants paraded through my machine I was overcome with emotion — my little guy used to wear these and suddenly I wasn’t sure I wanted to give it to Henry after all. 

The part that got me in trouble (besides missing the class) is that the first night I worked on it I set up everything directly in front of the main television so I could finally watch my Netflix movie that had been sitting on the table for over a month. When the hubby came home I said “Before you get mad, I … ” 

“Why would I be mad?” 

Well I would be mad if he parked himself in front of the main television for days on end so I figured anyone would. By day four he changed his tune. “So is this your new sewing room now?”


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