On the mother’s side, the stepgrandparents shared a snapshot of themselves in Pisa, Italy. “What is essential is invisible to the eye,” stated Cousin Barbara, paraphrasing a quote from “The Little Prince.” A portion of her apron, engraved with a cookie recipe, came from a maternal great-great-grandmother.
An Upper West Side writer, Marilyn Webb, will receive a quilt made for her first grandchild with each contribution attached to a fabric square. Jennifer Kiefer and her son-in-law Jason Kiefer will have their first child in Manhattan Beach, California.
Among the 40 squares, which depict an extended family tree, are half siblings, stepparents, and stepsiblings in addition to typical branches.
Ms. Webb’s dining room has a quilt with a blue border of miniature dogs spread over a couch, an old-fashioned gift for a new kind of family. Family saga chronicled in an era when so many are fragmenting, reuniting mostly by e-mail and telephone as they go through marriages, divorces, remarriages, and births.
Ms. Kiefer said of the quilt, “It’s very remarkable.” “It’s the first time I’ve ever had something that combines the two of us, which is what the baby is.”
“There are a billion little stories I learnt for each square,” Ms. Kiefer remarked. “There are a lot of elderly folks who you wouldn’t think of as someone’s baby or small daughter.” It serves as a reminder of your ever-evolving existence.”
join a group
After joining a women’s group that made a friendship quilt for her cousin, Barbara Bobrow, An heirloom quilt for her grandson inspired Ms. Webb to make one. In 2008, Ms. Bobrow was diagnosed with breast cancer. Two years later, after her disease had spread to her liver, her friends gathered to meditate and support one another through this difficult time.
During chemotherapy, During the first week of the group’s meetings, Ms. Bobrow made a 60-square quilt, which she brings to the gatherings at a friend’s home in Woodbridge, Conn. From her friend’s possessions, she made this quilt using the squares she collected. Besides curtains and baby blankets, bridal gowns and napkins were also discovered.
Ms. Webb, the former editor of Psychology Today magazine and author of “The Good Death: The New American Search to Reshape the End of Life.” said, “It produced a blueprint for how a community might join together to help each other” (Bantam 1997). “When I found out my daughter was pregnant, I thought to myself, ‘This child is extremely fortunate.’ It has an extensive network. Why not teach him about his ancestors via a woman’s art form?’
“Families are now enormous in various ways than they were previously,” Ms. Webb explained. “People get divorced, remarry, and have kids.”
Ms. Webb and her ex-husband, the father of her kid, both remarried. Ms. Webb has three stepchildren and one biological child. With half-siblings and stepsiblings on both sides, her daughter’s husband is also a divorced child.
“Following a women’s tradition that reportedly stretches back to the 1800s, if not way before, I’d like to sew this new baby a welcome baby quilt set in which he/she can be wrapped in the very fabric of our families’ lives,” Ms. Webb said in a letter to dozens of family members in January. A true family quilt, and perhaps the start of a new tradition.”
write a latter
In addition to a seven-inch square, the letter requested that family members write a letter to the new kid, introducing themselves to him (they later learned it would be a boy) and explaining what was special about the fabric and design they were providing.
As a result, fragments of lives arrived by mail from all over the country. Tablecloths, shirts, baby blankets, and bibs scraps Some of the parts came from people who were related to the infant by blood, while others came from those who were related by marriage.
Ms. Webb learned to create a quilt from books and converted her dining room into a sewing area.
She giggled at the prospect of herself, a typical New Yorker, doing something so historically significant as quilting. Ms. Webb was a single mother who answered the question, “What’s for dinner?” by selecting a menu, according to her daughter.
Ms. Webb explained, “Quilting has a rich and political history.” “It provided a way for women to convey their ideas and stay in touch.”
Quilting, she says, is a good concept for current times, as many people are looking for ways to spend more time with their families and preserve their past.
“You made an heirloom,” Ms. Webb stated, referring to a comment made by a friend. “Tears welled up in my eyes.”
The quilt would provide the new infant with a “living record of something he may pass down to his family,” she said.