It seemed a good idea at the time. Knitting quietly is my ideal way of welcoming in a new babe. But since using a computer, I can’t knit any more because I get RSI. It’s winter, and I need a project. So I had the great idea to order a kit-set baby quilt, and quietly hand-sew it over the 2 months that remain. (Click here to read how the little one found treasure on the beach to help pay for it,)

 First disappointment was that it arrived too late to sort out ready for my weekend away with my women’s group. Second disappointment was that, despite being so beautifully packaged, it wasn’t pre-cut (naive me thought that kit-set meant all cut and ready to go. I did find this out before it arrived)

Trying to work it out. I’m not sure that I like the colours.

 Third disappointment: the cutting was laborious, the instructions very unclear (what is a ‘fat quarter’, and where is the 12 inch piece, and can I find a measure that pre-dates NZ’s changeover to metric several decades ago?). It would have been helpful if the instructions said that step one was to wash the fabric – BEFORE I rushed ahead and cut these strips.

 More washing, this time of the supposed ‘fat quarters’, before I cut them. Then they had to be ironed.

 Then cut. I’ve never used the ‘steam-a-seam’ iron-on backing before. The instructions were impossible to follow. In the end I just made it up myself, and managed to cut out a sheep. Then I put it all away. Two weeks have passed and this is going to take forever. I feel discouraged, until . . .

 the little one comes to play. We play alongside each other, me arranging the quilt squares in different patterns, while she makes a hut. The rain pours down and the wind howls, but we are cosy and happy.

She melts my heart, that little one.

 I manage to cut out a second sheep, without using the sticky backing. It’s easier this way, and I like the white sheep on the brown background, even though it has no legs yet.

 The little one likes the special buttons she found in my sewing bag. ‘I’m going to make a person,’ she says, arranging them happily. ‘Look it’s Rapunzel!’

 The hut has blue sky over it, and a blanket of snow covered in crystals just outside the front door.

Meanwhile, I start what I’ve been so eager to do, what I know well—hand sewing, and arranging the colours. It’s taken a few more hours to get this far, but I’m so happy with it. I’m planning to add eyes, and a smile that isn’t in the pattern. A sheep like this must have a curly mouth, don’t you think?

The sheep will look after the rest of the animals as they emerge. It will smile on my work. I nearly threw the whole thing away, but now I’m starting to enjoy it.

That’s the secret, so often I find: remember to approach difficult things in good company, with a playful spirit, and then everything will fall into place. Oh, and always start with a sheep.