This is a story about a very special quilt. Usually I keep this blog all about quilting with maybe just a sprinkling of personal stuff. In this post I have more personal stuff than normal to share, but let's start out with the details of this quilt.
This quilt was made for my daughter Niobe to take to college. (If you know my family, you may be thinking, "Huh?" Keep on reading for the personal stuff, remember?) Niobe chose the pattern Turnstyle designed by Amy Ellis of Amy's Creative Side. It is a really great modern design, and the pattern was written well. The blocks went together without any difficulty.
Turnstyle was one of my first "pandemic quilts" of 2020. If you're a quilter, you probably have several of those yourself! I didn't have the fabric purchased yet, but superstar quilt shop owner Sarah at The Foot helped me with some virtual fabric shopping and special delivery. She chose fabrics from the shop that matched very well to the quilt on the pattern's cover photo. She did a wonderful job!
I pieced the top and wanted to do something special for the back. With the scraps we made some letters using the patterns in the book Spelling Bee by Lori Holt. I made Garry and Lydia each sew their own names so that they could be a part of creating this quilt, kind of like signing their names. Yes - they sewed the letters, and those aren't really for beginners!
I quilted it with an edge to edge pattern called Chicken Wire. Niobe knew that I wasn't finished with the quilt on time to make it to college - college was virtual because of the pandemic, and she never left home. I did finish it as a surprise for Christmas. It was the best present. I thought we would gift the quilt and then put it aside with going-away-to-college stuff I'm collecting, but Niobe hasn't really let go of it since receiving it.
Niobe (pronounced Ny-O-bee, because I know you are wondering about that) is my transgender daughter who came out early in 2020. This has definitely been one of the biggest challenges we've faced as a family, but during this time nothing has been more important to me (us) than being sure that Niobe knows that she is loved no matter what. Most people didn't realize that she struggled through some dark days. Since making this change in her life, Niobe is much happier and has plenty of hope for the future. She is attending full-time college virtually at home and also has a part-time job. Niobe is a very caring, sensitive, intelligent, funny, courageous person who makes the world a better place :-)
I have been thinking a lot about why I am sharing this here. I suppose because I want to encourage everyone to be kind to other people, treat them with respect, get to know someone who is different than you are. This doesn't have anything to do with politics or religion. I'm not an activist or a spokesperson, just someone who wants to genuinely care about other people, and I don't just mean people in the LGBTQ community. Take time to get to know someone before making assumptions. Try to see things from a different perspective, even if you don't agree with them. Who's right; who's wrong - does it always have to come down to that?
I had - still have - a lot to learn, being the mother of a transgender person. My relationship with my daughter is not something I'm willing to sacrifice and so much more important to me than the difficulties we face.
One thing I would like to share that I did not understand, and maybe you don't either, is how important it is to use the preferred name and pronoun of a transgender person. Not doing this can be very painful to them. Those words mean a lot. To be willing to change your language shows that you really care. Making this change can be REALLY HARD with someone that you've known for a long time. It will be difficult - you will feel strange - you will mess up. Just make a quick, sincere apology and move on. Take a second to think about your words before you speak them. That's always some good advice, right?
If you've made it this far through this blog post, I thank you! Everything I've shared here has been approved by Niobe. If you have any questions, let's have a private conversation about it.
Niobe kept asking, "When are you going to put my quilt on your blog, Mom?" To her, this quilt is much more than something to keep warm with at night. I encourage you to take the time to really listen to others, get a fresh perspective, look for some common ground, care about them, love them, - maybe even make them a quilt! Thanks for visiting!
This is me...
I LOVE to quilt, and every day I must sew for my sanity!