Like most New Yorkers raising a baby in a one bedroom apartment, we don't have a lot of storage for anything, let alone outgrown baby clothes. And while our strict "one-in, one-out" rule keeps Goodwill across the street well stocked with gently worn onesies, it doesn’t do much for Carson’s future chest of baby nostalgia. So thinking about a clever gift for his upcoming first birthday, I struck upon the idea to create a Memory Quilt out of his baby clothes (and by create, I mean hire someone). Luckily, there’s Etsy, a site where crafty people sell handmade items to slackers such as myself.
After a bit of research, I chose Etsy seller Kellycreations123 because, one, she’s from Ohio and my husband is from Ohio (hello Cleveland!), and two, I liked her quilts. As per Kelly's instructions, I was to mail her 48 pieces of Carson's clothing and she would do the rest. (48!!!) We quickly realized that along with the stuff he had outgrown, we were going to have to sacrifice current-fitting outfits for the cause. Ugh. We dumped all of Carson's clothes onto the bed.
Thankfully we’d kept some early favorites, like the “100% Organic, Made With Love” receiving blanket that we brought him home in; our all-time favorite Dwell Baby one-piece that I say are hedgehogs and my husband insists are aardvarks; and a romper from Grandma that never truly fit him but we figured would earn us babysitting credits for immortalizing. Just forty-five more and we were good to go.
Do we sacrifice our beloved Mommy's Monster pajamas that he'd barely even worn? Do we cut up the amazing felt applique giraffe t-shirt from my sister that he hadn't even grown into yet? How many stripes are too many? Should we make two squares out of the hedgehog/aardvark shirt? Do I continue agonizing over this even though my husband is ready to kill me?
After one brutal hour, we were done. Or so I thought...
Since I work in the Garment District, I told Kelly I'd buy all the quilt backing and border fabric myself. I thought: How Project Runway! But then after facing store after store with literally thousands of bolts of fabric, I realized: How stupid! This was not a task for the, ahem, indecisive. Somehow I prevailed, and mailed all of the quilt parts to Ohio, rambling to the UPS guy about "the project" and how the contents were absolutely not replaceable! He grunted.
Kelly cut the outfits into 48 perfect 6-inch squares and emailed me a photo to approve the placement so she could start sewing. It looked amazing! I remembered Carson wearing each of the items while smiling up at me from his changing table (or crying impatiently because I'd missed a snap on the leg and had to start all over again). I knew I'd be gazing wistfully at this quilt for decades to come, or at least during those dreaded teen years while he was not speaking to me.
Then I was jolted out of my reverie. Why were there three dog shirts in a row? And didn’t the fish square look like it was trying to eat the dinosaur on the adjacent square? And why were the hedgehogs/aardvarks all the way off to the side? And really, weren’t there too many stripes in row 4? And here's another question: Do you put your favorites front and center? Or towards the bottom where they'll be seen when you drape the quilt oh-so-artfully over the crib ledge? I emailed all of my concerns to Kelly, who sent me photos of each new configuration while gracefully omitting the fact that I was driving her crazy.
The quilt is now done and it looks great. And next month I will present it to my baby at his first birthday party, surely charming any relatives whose earlier baby clothing gifts made it into the quilt.
And Carson, who will be naked, will be so pleased to finally have a cover-up.