Between the two of us, my husband and I have three sets of parents, which means our girls have three grandmothers and three grandfathers — lucky us! Our parents still live in our respective hometowns in northeastern Ohio and southern California, and we don’t travel to see them as often as we should. They all have yet to even meet our infant daughter.
Inspired by something I saw on Pinterest, I got a little ambitious with my plans for Mother’s Day gifts for the grandmothers a couple weeks beforehand. I decided to trace the girls’ handprints onto fabric and then applique/quilt them onto a fabric/batting background in an embroidery hoop. Sounded simple enough, but with free time at a premium, nothing is ever as simple as I think it should be.
First of all, have you ever tried to trace a baby’s hand? I think I finally settled for a close approximation of the size and shape of the 6-month-old’s hand after throwing away my first five attempts. Once I had the handprints on paper, the next step was to trace them onto fabric.
And that’s where my supplies let me down.
I have a small selection of notions I use to mark fabric, including a few old — as in over 15 years old — fabric pencils. I have never much cared for these pencils. It seems that even when they were new they didn’t mark fabric as easily as I would have liked, and I’ve always needed to drag the pencil point on the fabric in order to see the marking, which distorts the grain. It took much longer to trace those three sets of handprints than it should have. But I keep using the pencils because, well, they’re there. And I really do tend to bring a “use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without” mentality to my quilting supplies. So even though I’ll think to myself, “I wish I had one of those newfangled water-soluble pens everyone seems to be talking about,” I haven’t upgraded because I still have the pencils. Which still sorta work.
However, I think I’m due for a change in attitude. I don’t think I’m just going to toss all my pencils into the trash — that would be downright wasteful, you see — but after my little Mother’s Day project experience I think I’ve decided that the universe won’t implode if I buy a new pen even though I don’t positively, absolutely need it. I have a UFO I want to finish in time for Christmas, one that I’ve decided to hand quilt. And I don’t have time to mess around with a pencil that doesn’t respect my heirloom-quilting aspirations and makes me work that hard to get a visible quilting motif.
But if the universe implodes, then you’ll know who to blame.