Monday, October 13, 2014

Security blankets

Who remembers their baby blanket? I remember mine. Like Linus, I dragged it around til it was tattered. It had a satin edge I would slide deliciously against my cheek. By the time I was 3, that ratty "blankie" was receiving a lot of scorn from my parents. One day I announced that I was done with it, and my mother and I ritualistically stuffed it in the aluminum trash can together.

A kaleidoscope "baby blanket" that I made for myself in my mid-thirties when my decision not to have children felt like an abstract, yet poignant sacrifice.

A baby blanket can serve as a transitional object for kids (or adults!), helping them to cope when they are separated from their primary attachments. This past weekend my husband and I did respite for a foster family raising two toddlers, age 2 and 3. The baby girl really needed her red blanket at night. As a blanket, it was nothing special, but it was hers.

There's something about The Familiar that informs our notion of The Beautiful. Perhaps that's why quilts of our own old clothes are so appealing. Early in the weekend I decided to lay down the beautiful (and perfectly seasonal!) lap quilt Zenia gave me

as a diaper-changing pad for the kids. They took right to it. It became part of the new ritual. It certainly sheltered their bottoms from the cold, hard linoleum floor of our kitchen.

Hosting these kids increased my resolve to sew up the blocks my previous foster daughter, B., had stitched. I planned the layout on the fly--I had a 2-year-old sitting on my lap and a 3-year-old shoving blocks into my hands--but I like how it turned out.

B. had chosen such bright, fun fabrics. I chose another bright pattern for the back, by Jennifer Paganelli (I have no idea why this beautiful paisley was retailing for $4.95 on What a steal!). It features royal blue, B's favorite color and the color I used for the binding.

I mailed the quilt off to B.'s social worker today. B. has been in several homes since ours, followed by her many tubs of junk mementoes that serve as her transitional objects. I hope she enjoys having these familiar fabrics back in her life. Wherever her difficult journey takes her, she will have the pleasure of having made her own, bright, beautiful security blanket.

stitch by stitch


  1. Sewing w/2 tots! I am impressed. I'm so happy to see you finished B's quilt! I love how it turned out. She's going to be ecstatic!

  2. I hope so. She was pretty blasé about the quilt I made for her. And I imagine all the ways she will put down her own efforts, which were certainly not sustained, or anything that smacks of sincerity. My note to her said "Don't give up on sewing. It's a fun hobby." I wasn't sure what else I could say.