Black and White Bow Tie quilt for the child who announces she doesn't want a quilt

When my oldest entered Jr. High she announced that she wanted to upgrade her room.  I agreed, she had had the same yellow and blue house quilt theme since kindergarten.  What were her ideas?  emilyhouseFirst she stated she wanted a black and white room.  I was less than thrilled as back then, it seemed like an extreme idea for a girl's room.  Then she dropped the first bomb, 'I want it painted black. Then I will flip white paint on it in just a splatter pattern."  I was still taking that in when the atomic bomb hit.  "And I don't want a quilt!  I just want a normal bedspread from a store like everyone else has!"

Yes, she actually said that! At the time it was the most rebellious statement a child of mine had ever made. (Yes, we later heard, saw and experienced WAY more rebellious moments with teenagers but this was my first!)  She didn't want a quilt and no, I couldn't believe it either.  Somehow I survived the moment and we took each issue at a time.  A daughter of a friend of a friend had a black and white bedroom.  We visited, it was an idea I could now live with.  This budged her to accepting black and white striped wall paper and thicker stripes for the curtains.  We picked them out. Mom and daughter were negotiating the fun jr high years!

bowtieThen I ever so gently told her that a quilt was, well, so important to me and that there were designs she might like.  She agreed to look through books and miracle of miracles, she liked a bow tie pattern.  I had been collecting black and white fabrics since the fateful words had been uttered, even got some French widow fabric in black and white while escorting my students to Paris.  I have never sewed so quickly in my life, not wanting her to change her mind.  She went away to French camp that summer and I painted, wallpapered, finished the curtains and took the last stitches in the quilt.  When she came back it was there, all done. You can see the picture of her bed with the new quilt.

Once I got her to accept the quilt and we all loved the black and white, I snuck a heart quilt into that room!  She still has both of thoserezbt quilts and still loves black and white.  They are on the back of the futon of her step daughter's room and I just took pictures of both of them last week.  They were very loved so there is some fading and some stains but they still remind me that when a child announces something that takes your breath away, it is best to not react too soon or too stridently.  Sometimes you can work out a compromise in that emotional journey through the teen age years.  (Those of you raising teen agers, you have my compassion and love.  I recommend chocolate as well but you might prefer wine.)   You have to finesse these years and try to not back them into a corner, even a corner of a black and white bedroom.  This time will pass rezbwhand the daughter who emphatically stated, and "I don't want a quilt" now whispers, "All the quilts you make should be for ME!"

Sew happy!

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  • The black and white quilts look great. I would think that Joe would love the bow tie quilt since he adores bow tie tee shirts.

  • In reply to Kliffjo:

    That's true! Wait until he sees some bibs I want to make!

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    Kathy Mathews

    My passions are quilting and sewing. Add to that French, Spanish, books, swimming, travels, new restaurants, yoga and chocolate and you have me. All of these are best shared with family and friends. Except for chocolate, don't touch my chocolate. You can email me at

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