Yesterday, during the weekly Spousal Loss Grief Support Group I attend, the book The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams was mentioned.
This made me think of a post I wrote in 2013 answering the question: “How do you know a quilt has been loved?” in which I quote this beautiful book.
Thought I would repost this post today.
How do you know a quilt has been loved?
It is worn, frayed, maybe even threadbare.
In my early days of quilting this would make me cringe. I put all that work into a quilt and now it is all worn out?
Now the thought of one my quilts being so loved (just think of that glorious book The Velveteen Rabbit) brings a huge smile to my face.
While talking to my sister (she has many quilts from me) she mentioned that most of the quilts I have made her are very worn out, some are just “hanging on by thread” about to fall apart.
I take quilt construction seriously and for a second I thought “wow shoddy workmanship on my part” and “why did they not take better care of the quilts”? I came to my senses several seconds later and realized: Wow! Those quilts have been truly loved – I am so lucky and so honored!
I think of what my first quilting mentor and dear friend, Judy D, once told me:
“If a quilt is falling apart, all worn out, then it has been truly loved…I never mind repairing a quilt that has been loved”.
Excerpt from The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
“Real isn’t how you are made, it’s a thing that happens to you… When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”
“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.
“Sometimes…When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”
“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up..or bit by bit?”
“It doesn’t happen all at once..You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
Thank you to all the people I have made quilts for over the years, who have truly loved them, and made them REAL.
Re-posting this post also made me think of an art quilt I finished in April 2018 titled Recycled Denim Story V: Recycled Love (2018). This piece is part of my Recycled Denim Story Series of art quilts (see my page Art Quilt Stories for more of the series).
Recycled Love (see post The Recycled Love) honors all the love that goes into making and giving a quilt to someone.
Here is the Artist Statement that explains the story behind this quilt made from all recycled materials:
The first law of thermodynamics states that the total amount of energy in a system cannot be created nor destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another. A quilt is made from changing the existing “love energy” from the quilt maker’s heart into a pieced textile; ultimately recycling that love energy into the quilt’s recipient heart.
Quilt are Love!