No Ashtray?

I owe you the end of the story about my artistic efforts to create a present for my mom. So here it goes:

For years my mom has given away the most beautiful quilts for special occasions. I just started quilting two years ago, and although I like doing it, I hadn’t finished one yet, so you can see it was a bold idea. But I figured it would be cool to make one for her to commemorate this very special 75th birthday.

So far, so good. The design I picked is called Mexican Star. I had seen it  on Internet, but I didn’t exactly have a pattern for it.  Another issue was time: it takes forever to make a quilt, and I had about 1.5 months to figure out the pattern, cut the fabric, sew the top, iron all the seams after stitching them, putting the back and stuffing together and then start the quilting. As I never owned a sewing machine all was going to be done by hand. (I don’t think a machine would have helped much anyway, since I also didn’t know how to use it.)

In hindsight it sounds delusional. But I really thought I had a shot at making it. I had nothing much else pressing to do (except go on holidays for two weeks in December) and I figured if I could work on it every spare hour, I might just finish the sewing and the quilting part. Since I had never finished a quilt before, I had no clue how to do the binding (the edges around the quilt). But this was not a problem; my mom has plenty experience, and I was sure she would love to help me with the final touches. So I started on November 30th and though I did work hard on it, of course it wasn’t finished for the big day. I had gotten to the quilting part, but I just hadn’t finished completely.

We met my parents in Mexico-city. My mom still had no clue what it was going to be and I lied about everything.
– ‘No mom, I haven’t picked up quilting again, maybe it was just a fling. It is really too warm here to even think about quilting.’
– ‘How about you guys go to the museum? I have already been there and I have still some stuff to find for your birthday celebration.’
She was incredibly curious what I had made her, but since no one was going to tell her, she stuck to the thought I sculpted her something.

The night we arrived in Calakmul (one night before her actual birthday) we started the celebrations; because in Australia (where my brother and his family live) they were already celebrating and therefore, why shouldn’t we? I was a little nervous about presenting my half-finished gift. I had to come clean, it was the moment of truth…  I gave her the good news: I did not make you an ashtray, and the bad news: what I did want to make is not finished yet.

She was super curious and when she realized I made her a quilt, she was absolutely flabbergasted; she never expected a (half-finished) quilt. And when she came to think of it, it was the first one anyone ever made for her! She loved the design and even that it was only half done, because now she could help me finish it. Ever since the 20th of January we have quilted like crazy to be able to finish it before they leave for Holland again.

And yesterday it was finally done. We finished my mom’s birthday gift and my first ever quilt:

Mexican Star.

The Mexican Star (125×125 cm)

While admiring it, we figured out it had taken me (us) exactly 75 days to make it. Coincidence? I think not! It just had to be so.

Happy birthday, Mom!


13 thoughts on “No Ashtray?

  1. It’s a beautiful piece!! Congratulations for your mom for her bday and to you for getting the work (half-finished) done 😉 I’m still decoding the pattern for a cute pair of tiny shoes I wanted to do for the newborn baby girl of a friends of mine… and she is three months old now! jajaja!

    Now… let’s find out about those litlle fishes we were talking about… 🙂

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