In December of 2011 I started a small group called Women Who Sail (WWS). I've written about the group's genesis here. At the time, I thought that perhaps at its largest the group would swell to a few hundred women. I was wrong. Today Women Who Sail has over 10,000 members and its ranks grow steadily. The fact that the group continues successfully to this day, I believe is owed to three things:
There was, and still is, a clear need for safe, supportive spaces online for women in the sailing and boating world.
Every member of the group contributes to its success by following the principles of being positive, helpful, and supportive of one another.
Without the group's volunteer admins, we would not be what we are today.
WWS's current admins are: Cidnie Carroll, LeeAnn Toth, Nica Waters, Behan Gifford, Anne Bryant, Annie Saylor, and myself. I'm honored to be considered their friend and to get to work with them everyday on making Women Who Sail a success. We've had two previous admins, Devi Sharp, and Laurie Felker Jones. Both have moved on from admin'ing, but they'll never lose my admiration or the debt of gratitude I owe them for the time they devoted to making WWS what it is today.
Laurie, her husband, Damon, and their kick-ass dog, Kemah on s/v Mother Jones.
This post is about one of those admins, Laurie. When we (the other WWS admins and I) found out that Laurie was expecting, we all rejoiced. She told us the baby would be a girl, so that is what we were prepared for. But sometimes technology is wrong, and when her baby girl popped out, she was a he, and the whole world was very surprised to meet the little fellow.
This is surprise baby boy Dean. He is amazing. I would have made something a little more heavily on the traditional 'boy' side of things had I known he was going to be a boy, but again, Dean likes to shake things up. This is the new baby gift I sent Laurie a few months after he made his arrival. See the little boy peeking out of the fabric on the left? As Laurie said, 'that's kismet.'
Laurie and Damon told us a year or so after having Dean that they were expecting another baby. And this time they were pretty dang positive it was a girl. I wanted to make Laurie a quilt so I consulted with her on the kind of style she was going for with this second baby. Some moms don't like to go uber-girly, especially in this day and age, but Laurie was all about it. I got to work with pinks, and flowers, and frills.
This fabric is from Tamara Kate's 'Nature Walk' line. I've never found an ABC fabric more beautiful.
It took me a period of working on and off on it for months to complete this beauty. I was working around some intense pain, that eventually led to surgery in early May. My family watched this creation come to life with me, little by little.
At last, everything on the quilt was complete save for two parts, the binding and the tag. I was waiting on both to arrive. While I can (and do) make my own binding, I found this lovely fabric on Etsy pre-made and thought it would be the perfect way to finish Laurie's quilt. I had also, finally, ordered woven tags with Sew Sew Sew Your Boat's logo and I wanted to sew one in on the quilt before I sent it.
One of the things I love about my group of mom friends is that we all send each other kids' stuff. When one kid outgrows something, we send the hand-me-downs to a girlfriend whose kids are slightly smaller. My friend, Cindy, from Zach Aboard, made her daughter these beautiful, reversible pants and when Naia outgrew them she sent them to me for Lyra. Look at those sailboats! They lasted Lyra for two seasons and were her FAVORITE pants. Alas, summer was approaching and they would be too small for Lyra the following winter, so I patched them up and got them ready to send in the package to Laurie that included her quilt too.
One day I had everything assembled upstairs in my room in advance of mailing it out. C, my oldest, came into the room and saw the pants and exclaimed, 'are you getting rid of those?!' I calmly explained that they were too small for Lyra now and that I was sending them to a friend's little girl, along with the ABC quilt. At those words C's head whipped up, 'Wait. Wait, you are sending this away?' she pointed emphatically at the finished quilt.
"Yes. I made if for Laurie's little baby. It's a gift."
I was so sure what was about to come out of C's mouth. I expected protestations at sending the pretty quilt away, at how much she loved it, and wanted it for herself.
"But, you spent all.that.time.on it. And you are giving it to someone else? How will they know about all that time?"
I was gobsmacked. I've been told over and over that your kids will know just how to get to you. They'll know how to push your buttons and get under your skin. But you know what, that's not all. They'll SEE you. They'll see you in good times and bad times, for better or for worse. And with those words, I had never felt so seen. C had noticed. She had registered the hours I had spent, in-between regular life, working diligently on this creation.
Her head drooped and I held back tears as I hugged her. What an amazing soul this kid has. "You're right. I spent a lot of time on this gift. That's one of the things that makes it so special. Thank you for noticing. Thank you for saying something." She nodded, touched her hand out to the quilt and ran off to play.
Here I give you the final photos of Laurie's quilt. Some of the pics include C also displaying a quilt. The quilt she is holding is one she worked on herself to make for a teacher who was expecting a baby.
Aren't those A, B, C's just stunning?
For a limited time, I'm offering a listing for a quilt like the one I made for Laurie in my shop. It is available in two colorways. You can find the pink/yellow version here and the blue/green version here.
Here is Laurie's daughter, Jane, on the quilt I made for her. Happy new baby, Laurie. Both of your kids are awesome.