Long before that precious little one can appreciate a paper book, the handmade baby quilt you brought to the shower will show him the magic of stories. Sure, you knew he was going to love the cuddliness of the super-soft flannel fabric, and you were confident that he’d love the security his quilt would deliver when he snuggled with it far from home. But you might not have considered that the unique design you selected would be the source for all kinds of delightful stories, whether he’s in the crib, the carriage or his mommy’s lap.
Animal Prints Are a Rich Source of Stories
Let’s say you chose a design with adorable little monkeys and giraffes as an element. Then the quilter added zebra prints and leopard spots to make a fanciful arrangement. So many stories are waiting to be told. Are the monkeys in a circus, or a jungle or a zoo? Where are the zebra herds roaming? Kipling’s Jungle Book tales and the Tarzan stories are a natural progression as the baby grows.
Bugs and Buggies Carry Lots of Tales
Maybe you liked the idea of a design with cars and trucks and trains. There are carloads of stories waiting to be told about all of these vehicles. If you picked a lady bug design for that special little girl, there’s the legend of how the lady bug first got its name from the peasants in the Middle Ages. Then there are tales about how lady bugs help gardens to grow. That might sprout the telling of The Secret Garden. Grandmas will remember that story made into a film with Margaret O’Brien.
Patchwork Patterns Are a Trip into History
Homemade quilts for boys and girls with patchwork designs are rich sources for storytelling. There are many tales to tell of how the pioneers used patchwork quilts in the cabins of their homesteads on the frontier. In those days the women made their quilts together at quilting bees.
Loved Ones’ Clothing Calls up Family Lore
Perhaps the quilt you want to bring to the shower will be made with clothing from loved ones no longer here. Every time the baby strokes the soft flannel patches of Grandpa’s old fishing shirt or Grandma’s favorite apron, there’s an opportunity to tell a story about that person. Not only is the baby entertained by the story, but the telling of it makes that absent person a presence in the baby’s life.
T-shirt quilt from Grandpa’s shirts
Baby Quilts Inspire Little Storytellers
The art of storytelling is also being taught while the baby is listening. Once she learns to enjoy the stories she’s hearing, she can use her own imagination to make up stories about the characters on her quilt. Children have lively imaginations. Encouraging them to use them by making up their own stories about their quilt characters is good for their creative powers and a huge amount of fun for those lucky enough to hear their tales. Who knows? The next author or playwright might be inspired by the very first character he meets on his quilt.
When you think about all the warmth and comfort the handmade baby quilt brings to a baby, remember the benefit it delivers as the baby’s first storybook. Unlike conventional paper books, a unique baby quilt can be washed and dried without harm, and the stories it contains are as many and as varied as the minds of the baby and her family.