The Quilt Cocoon

Monday morning I walked into the kitchen and saw a giant cocoon leaning upright against the counter in the corner. After a short shock that ended with a blink, I see that the cocoon’s shell was of Grandma Mills’ quilt, the one she gave us when Will was a baby. And the tuft of black hair shooting out the top of the cocoon confirmed that it was in fact a boy wrapped in a quilt.

I remember this is Will’s quilt because I got to pick out his quilt from the three or four that Grandma had pre-made for great-grandchildren, plus it’s a fall quilt and Will was born in October. This fall, I had brought it out of the closet when I put up the fall decorations.

Of course, I also remember the quilt Liam was given by Grandma two years later. I didn’t get a choice for his, and I think by the time he came along, Grandma’s quilting had slowed a bit as it seems her inventory was short on boy-themed quilts. She gave us a quilt in lilac colors for Liam. I was slightly puzzled by the choice – and I still am today when I see it in the linen chest.

Inside the cocoon was Liam. Not yet dressed, he was managing to unwrap cinnamon rolls and put one on a plate to microwave, all while keeping this quilt tightly wrapped around him. I was in awe of his ability to hold it all together – and that he was getting his own breakfast.

I have no problem with Liam eating sticky cinnamon rolls while rolled in the quilt. We can wash it. The quilters I’ve known over the years would prefer this frequent usage of a handmade quilt rather having it gather dust and permanent wrinkles while tucked away on a high shelf or in a tub in the loft.

I want these handmade gifts out where they can be seen in our house; the quilts remind me of the person who made the quilt. And, in the case of my “heritage quilts,” they remind me of the person who used to wear the clothes that make up the patches and the pieces.

However, all of our quilts can’t be out or displayed. Our house is undergoing a restructuring. With 10- and 13-year-olds, many things from that first decade of their lives need to find another home. Things out of the closets. Out of the bookcases. Out of the drawers. Out of the toy boxes. Out of the storage room. As Will and Liam grow bigger, so many of the toys, books, and quilts look out of place. In their rooms. In our living areas. In our basement storage space.

The want for things to go to a good home hovers over me, as well as many of my friends. We want to make sure the thing is used, not destroyed. If there is life left in it, don’t throw it away. Work to get it up-cycled to a good home. And the same friends can attest to how full our houses are because of this notion.

I’ve worked this fall to solidly identify those things we have outgrown. Will agreed that the 10 tubs of LEGOS that were in the basement last spring and that we hauled to his closet in July could finally go to the loft. But we could NOT get rid of them! I agree. And I’m sad to hear him make this decision.

Also in the summer, we cleared all the toys from the basement living area and stashed them in the basement storage room. In front of the shelves where all the Christmas decorations are. I did it on purpose: I will need to get to those shelves. The toys will need to be dealt with. To a good home, of course. Hopefully, they are on their way to the local thrift shop where the proceeds will benefit adults in town who have special needs.

Will and Liam agreed that the children’s books should go into the Little Free Library on our front lawn. My boys are so brave in this growing-up business. I’m the one attached to “Sheep in a Jeep” and “Kipper.” I can see the sorting of books already: one for the library, one for the loft, one for the library, two for the loft. For the grandkids. I’m that age?!?! I’m putting things in storage for grandkids?!?!

I’ve found tubs with rubber seals around the lids. They seal tightly, safe-keeping the contents inside from the stale loft air, unplanned moisture, and nasty rodents. The tubs are clear so a visit to the loft will mean a poke to the old memory for me. I have one packed already with the oldest of Will and Liam’s baby blankets and small Thomas quilts. I kept three baby quilts out, determined to add sleeves to the backs of them and hang them as artwork somewhere in the house. Or, next summer, to put them in the trunk of the van to use as beach blankets. They are too small for cocoons… and not yet ready for the loft.