Monday, 13 August 2012

Hexie Lady Tree Quilt

It's been a while since I made a quilt without a plan. And it's always fun to combine two unfinished projects that were started for the fun of it, rather than with an end in mind.
I drew this woman tree a little while ago while we were driving out through the middle of NSW. I love the time Tim and I get to think when we're on the road (at least, when the kids allow us to!) I left for holidays with all kinds of questions buzzing around in my head. Actually, there were three main ones: Would we have any more children, would we homeschool, what do I hope for Tickle & Hide. They're questions that have been around for a while, all unable to be answered without one going first.
I felt at the mercy of the seasons. How can you plan even what you're doing next year, or at Christmas, when you can't imagine life without a baby? We stayed with a family who's youngest was 6. I remember watching them getting their own breakfast and reading to themselves and thinking, "I have not even fathomed a life beyond their utter dependence."

And then I thought of the tree, also at the whim of the seasons, but we consider that her beauty, not her weakness. So I drew a pregnant woman tree, reflecting how we often think of a new mother's life changing forever, though not just once, but all the time. And I was encouraged when I looked at her, feeling it was ok for now to wait and just be in today.

So when, as part of Rachel's Handstitched Summer Camp, we were invited to make an appliqué hexie tree, I decided to try stitching my tree lady. I figured I would stretch it over a timber frame to hang in our house somewhere.

And then I remembered this hexie quilt top I'd been working on for some time. because I'd been adding to it here and there, without much pattern, it was a really funny shape and I'd lost any vision for it.
Then, the night before I was about to leave on a spiritual retreat with an amazing bunch of women, I took the plunge, laid the hexies on my cutting mat, and started to roll my rotary cutter through it.

After making all those pinnies, it was such a different, creative experience, cutting by sight and not measurement, not being sure how the finished quilt would look. I enjoyed the risk, knowing full well I might not even like the finished product.
On the retreat, I hand-quilted it, while listening to women speak, not only of the unsettled seasons of young kids and married life, but of sickness, depression, and other circumstances they wouldn't have chosen. They spoke of how creativity had played such an important roll in expressing and discovering who they were in those times. It was a good reminder that it's not just my children that keep my life out of my control, and that control isn't the goal.

And now the next risk is to give it away. I realised, making this quilt with someone in mind, how easy it has become to make things for sale. It was scary at first, but there was comfort knowing that someone would only buy it if they really loved it. But to give a quilt...What if they feel a bit overwhelmed, or they don't really like naked pregnant women on their quilts? and so it went as I stitched it all together. And I guess in the end all we really have is knowing how we would feel if we were made a quilt, and that little acts of kindness and thought make the seasons light and colourful.


  1. What a beautiful way you've woven your bigger story through the story of this quilt. Such a lovely read. I'm glad it's the last on my reader so I can just ponder it now. Thanks, Jodi!

  2. What a wonderful story. We have just decided that we aren't having any more children, for lots and lots of reasons, and I've come to the place where I am content with that. It still can be hard to watch our two year old getting bigger and realising that we won't see these moments again. But, I am so wonderfully blessed with my three beautiful children, and I know that I can give them what they need, something I doubted I could do if we had more babies. I love that you have reached a place of peace about being where you are, my husband recently said that the best place to be is right where you are, and I think he's right. Thank you so much for sharing!

  3. This is really fun! I love hexies and love the scrappiness of it!!! Thanks for sharing!

  4. What a wonderful post. Thank you for sharing your innermost thoughts on this very personal subject. I'm pregnant with our third baby. This one will be our last, which in so many ways makes me sad. But I still have many hopes and dreams for the years ahead and I can't wait to meet this little one in November. I'm trying to savor and soak up every last moment of these years because they will slip away all too soon.

  5. Who wouldn't love a naked pregnant woman on a quilt?!! This is a beautiful and touching post. I'm crying (hormones!!) but it's really such a great triumph. The design is beautiful, such a powerful symbol, and I love how you just went for it and pieced it into the quilt. It's funny because I drew a picture of myself pregnant when I had post natal depression and now I'm thinking I want to do something similar. The reason I'm having a third is because it's all going by too fast and I want to appreciate that littleness one more time! Congratulations on a gorgeous project :)

  6. I just had to re-read the post again and 'control isn't the goal' is going to be a new mantra for me. Thanks Jodi :)

  7. Beautiful post! I have lost a baby girl shortly after birth and know that our little guy is our last. I remember when the older three were you ger and being caught up in needing to get through it all. But after loss and seeing my oldest now driving, it really makes you embrace what you have and not really want to think or plan ahead. My friend and I were talking about college prep woes the other day...then we stopped. I asked her...why are we wishing away thei high school years. Enjoy now!!!

  8. This is a beautiful story! Thanks for sharing!

  9. Wow! I love it! Thanks for sharing it. We have one little boy and are not able to have more. Right now we are torn... Do we adopt or just be happy with our little miracle.... Life is full of questions! Answers however are harder to find ;)

  10. Jodi,
    What a gorgeous quilt that you created to express your ideas of womanhood. Life often gets filled with challenges that we never fathom until we are in the midst of them. It is amazing sometimes to find how one copes and is resilient.
    Wishing you many more opportunities to express yourself in beautiful fabrics. You have wonderful things to say about life.
    Warmest regards from Western Canada,

  11. This is such a beautiful quilt Jodi! And such a thoughtful gift. I really love it.

  12. Wow! Love the quilt and what a post!

    When I got together with my hub we had 2 children each and although 40-somethings knew we wanted one more together....happily I fell pregnant sadly I lost twins. But I unexpectedly fell pregnant again and our little girl has one more year before she starts school.

    It is a year I hope to fill and enjoy as I know she is the last and how fast time speeds (the other siblings are aged 20-13!)

    You have touched my heart in a way that all mothers will understand....I think I'm off for a little cry.

    Much love to you and Maureen xx

  13. This is a gorgeous quilt and a really beautiful and moving post, Jodi. I remember when my children were little thinking 'this is the best age' and then they grew up a bit and I thought 'this is the best age'. And then suddenly they were all grown up and I thought OMG what am I going to do now? Your post is a good reminder to me to focus more on the opportunities and less on obstacles.

    I also want to say congrats on a year of your shop :)


I so love your comments! I read all of them and reply when I can. If you don't hear back, I'm lost under a mound of scraps or outside jumping on the trampoline with the kids. Jodi. xx