When I ventured home last weekend I started to think about how we feel when we go home to visit our families. I love going home...as many of you know, and I realized that there has always been one room in my parent's home that has made me feel the safest, the most comforted. In our old house you would have had to walk down the basement stairs covered in orange carpet, passed our elementary school art work hung on the walls, passed the litter box, passed the hallway leading to the storage room filled with shelves and shelves of canned goods, to the room on the left. This was my mom's sewing room.
When we were little, the first place I always looked for my mom was in her sewing room. We would come inside from a day of playing at the pool or just home from school and I would hear the sewing machine humming. I would run down the stairs feeling the shaggy carpet between my toes and I couldn't wait to tell her the great things that had happened to me that day, find out what was for dinner, or tattle on my sister because she had made me cry.
I remember sitting in the sewing room with my mom while she took little pieces of fabric and turned them into the most beautiful quilts. My sister and I would pretend we worked in a fabric store just like our mom and loved sorting through the stacks of fabric arranged by color. We would pick through her wooden container holding thousands of buttons, choosing the shiniest most prettiest one we could find...and probably sticking it in our pocket to keep forever. We would sit under her antique sewing table with the old fashioned foot pedal. We would pump the pedal up and down while my mom sewed above us. She probably didn't get much work done with two little girls always at her feet. But we stayed entertained for hours.
I wonder what that room turned into when my parents moved out of our childhood home? Maybe it's a game room or a guest room now...the new owners wouldn't understand the importance of that little basement room. How three daughters learned to sew by watching and mimicking, how we learned how amazingly talented our mom is and how special it was to be able to sleep each night beneath her different creations. I had never slept under a comforter or bed spread until I went off to college, it was cool to have new bedding that defined who you were :) But I often found myself stuffing my bed spread under my bed and using one of the quilts my mom had sent with me instead. Even now with our fancy comforter we registered for when we got married, I sometimes shove it into our tiny closet and pull out one of the many colorful quilts I have. That's one of the greatest things about having a mom as a quilter, almost every time I go home I'm sent back with a beautiful hand sewn quilt.
Martin was given his first Redente family quilt...along with a list of approved activities his quilt could partake in
In my parents new home my mom was able to upgrade from the basement to a sunny room upstairs that has a beautiful view of the lake. It still feels like the most comforting room in the house. It is filled with all the things my mom loves and when I come home for a weekend to visit I still love hearing the sound of the sewing machine humming away. I run upstairs to find my mom. This time I'm older though, and instead of tattling on my sisters (well sometimes :) we talk about grownup things like work and marriage. Sometimes though, I love just standing in her sewing room watching her work...wondering how she knows which piece gets sewn to which, how she is so good at reading a ruler (I may or may not still know what all those little lines mean...)and how she decides between all the million different combinations of patterns and colors to use.
One of the greatest gifts I ever received was the day before my wedding. My mother-in-law and my mom had worked together for almost a year to create a quilt for Martin and I that showed where we had gotten engaged. It is so beautiful, something I will cherish forever. And knowing that each block, each stitch was carefully made for us makes it one of the most special things I own.
My mom has made hundreds of quilts...each one unique, each one telling it's own story. These quilts will stay in our family forever.
Now my mom is just waiting for a new generation to make beautiful quilts for...I know our future children will always be warm and snuggly in handmade quilts and will be able to feel the love stitched into each one, just like I was.