It's A Bird, It's a Plane, It's a Super-Quilt from the Pastcomments (21) June 25th, 2008
When I first met my boyfriend's mother, Jill (I like to call her my mother-in-law-ish and she likes to tell me she's waiting to drop that last hyphen), it was like meeting my crafty godmother. My own mother hated to make anything (including dinner), but it was because of her that I took my first sewing class at age nine (she had dropped out only to discover that there were no refunds so she sent me in her stead) and that sewing class changed my life. My mother would watch me sew with a mixed look of maternal pride and total confusion that anyone would ever want to actually make something when the mall was right down the street. I knew I had created something special when my mother would gasp, "Oh, you could get top dollar for that Kayla!"
I always envied my prom-mates in their handsewn one-of-kind gowns, while they regarded their dresses with shame and coveted my off-the-rack-and-on-every-girl-in-America prom style. So when I met Jill, an ardent omni-crafter, I was thrilled. We both knew, from direct experience, just how much work went into the other's creations and we looked at each other with a mutual crafter's respect.
One day Jill casually asked me if I had ever seen the Superheroes quilt? When I told her no, she went on to tell me that when my boyfriend, Gregg, was about five years old he loved to draw and he especially loved to use his superhero collection as inspirational models. Jill presented him with several pieces of muslin and some permanent marking pens and had him create portraits of his faves. When he was finished, the muslins sat in her crafting room for months until she stuffed them into a bag and then deep into a closet. Cut to thirty years later, Gregg had a new daughter of his own and Jill was going to give him cash for Christmas but wanted to make him something to open—that's when she rediscovered the superhero drawings. She made a simple nine-block quilt, using the squares from thirty years ago. When Gregg's daughter, Elliott, saw it she fell in love with it and it has been on her bed for the last few years. Now that I have seen it (and completely swooned, analyzed, and adored it), we all regard it as a family treasure. Well... Elliott and I do. Gregg seems shyly amused that we love it so much. He remembers his mother handing him the markers and how deeply the word "permanent" impressed him. "I didn't want to make any mistakes because they would be forever." I love hearing that, because to me it is the "mistakes" that give the quilt its charm.
Recently I asked Jill if she ever imagined way back then that she would end up making such a cool present to give years later. She laughed and said, "Oh, it really was just to give Gregg something to do and keep him busy during school break. After, I couldn't get rid of them, they were so sweet, so I just held onto them. I had no plan or idea until I saw them years later after Elliott was born. I wanted to remind him that he was once a little boy and it's nice because it just worked out this way."