Crafting for Life Changes

My big brother Scott was married last month, to a wonderful and crafty (!) woman who is now my sister.

Naturally, my mom and I started thinking about a wedding gift about five seconds after they got engaged. We didn't have to talk long - we knew we wanted to create a quilt just for them. It just felt like the right thing to do.

{ Scott & Britni's wedding quilt }

At last month's book club, as I was putting the finishing touches on the quilt over our discussion, Deborah was sitting on the other couch, knitting away at a baby blanket for her soon-to-be-born niece. She noticed that there we both were, preparing for these big changes and celebrations in our families in the same way.

Her observation got me wondering about why the choice to make a quilt was so easy for my mother and I, and why, when my friends learn of a new baby coming into the world, they pull out their knitting needles and get to work!

{ Deborah's blanket + little feet }

Here are Deborah's thoughts:

"My older sister just had her first baby - the first baby for our family - and I knit my first blanket to welcome the new little one into the world and into our family. It took about 3 months (a trimester!), and as I worked on it, I thought a lot about craft as ritual. Making the blanket was not just creating a gift – it was creating time to prepare for the baby, even though I was many miles away from my sister and her growing belly. It meant that there was time built into my week – hours that I set aside to knit, hours devoted to sending good energy out into the world on behalf of the new little one. To call it prayer would be an overstatement, but it did feel like a ritual. Making the blanket was part of my process of preparing for this new person and welcoming her into the world and into my life."

As for my Mom & I, we wanted to give Scott & Britni something sentimental and symbolic. We spent a lot of time creating a design and choosing fabrics that were very them – something that reflected how they fit together, how their interests and styles intersect. We saw the quilt as a symbol of my mother and I welcoming Britni into our family, and celebrating a big day and a new part of Scott's life.

But Deborah also helped me realize that there was a whole different side of the project that I wasn't seeing, but I was living. The hours we spent working with our hands were also hours spent meditating on and preparing for such a big change for our family - for my Mom and I to think about how they fit together, what their life will look like, how we will welcome a new member into the family.

Creating the quilt was an important process for us - we passed the quilt back and forth from Vermont to Providence, each moving it forward in a ritual to help us prepare for, welcome, and celebrate change.

Your turn: Have you ever created a handmade gift for a big life change? What did you make and what was the process like?

Carole Ann


  1. I am about to start on such a project for a milestone, but never have done so before. I hope to have reflective thoughts along the way worth sharing!

  2. Good luck, Jesse - do come back and share how it's going!


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