紀念百衲被

Keepsake
製作紀念百衲被,成了我這輩子最美好的回憶
By LISA FIELDS

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Illustration: Brian Cronin

女兒伊娃今年七歲,還沒出生就累積了幾抽屜的嬰兒服。在她還沒機會穿上任何一件前,我就對那些可愛的小衣服有了遠大的計畫:我打算她一旦大到穿不下,就把這些衣服縫成一條充滿回憶的紀念百衲被。我可以想見色彩柔和、各種圖案的布料交織成一條被單,覆蓋在她成為大女孩後的床上,記錄她成長歲月中最重要的時尚特色。

Before my seven-year-old daughter, Eva, was even born, she began amassing drawer-fuls of adorable baby outfits. And I had a lofty master plan for that pint-sized wardrobe, well before Eva had the chance to wear a stitch of clothing: Once she outgrew everything, I decided, I’d turn her clothing into a memory quilt. I could visualize the pastel and patterned fabrics intertwining into a coverlet for her future big-girl bed, documenting the fashion highlights of her formative years.

有好些年我只能一邊夢想,一邊老老實實把伊娃每一季穿不下卻依然如新的舊衣收藏起來。偶爾當兩歲的伊娃在着色本上塗鴉,閃亮的金髮垂落在畫紙上;或當四歲的伊娃在串珠鍊,頭歪向一旁,搜尋着圖案所需的珠子時,我就會翻看她的舊衣,盤算還要多久才能開始執行這項計畫。

For a few years, I could only daydream about the quilt-to-be while I faithfully tucked away the gently worn clothing that Eva outgrew each season. Every now and then, while two-year-old Eva scribbled in a coloring book—shiny blonde hair spilling onto her drawings—or four-year-old Eva strung together necklaces—head cocked to the side as she searched for the right beads for her patterns—I’d pore through Eva’s old garments, trying to calculate how soon I’d be able to get started on the project.

這項屬於我的計畫。

My project.

我內心熱愛手工藝,但身為全職作家兼母親,沒有絲毫時間能花在這種不務正業的嗜好上。即便如此,我還是作了長期的規畫,好讓我能一次縫製一點。

I’m a crafter at heart, but as a full-time writer and mom, I had no time for anything as frivolous as a hobby. Nonetheless, I plotted out a long-term plan that would allow me to quilt a little at a time.

每次和別人談起這件事,我總是強調充滿創造力和洞察力的女兒長大後,會多麼珍惜她那條獨一無二的百衲被。但內心深處,我很清楚我是為自己而做,讓沉潛已久的創意可以有個傾瀉的出口。

When I told people about the project, I always emphasized how much my creative, insightful daughter would cherish her one-of-a-kind quilt when she got older. But deep down, I knew that I was really making it for me, to give myself a long-awaited creative outlet.

伊娃五歲時,穿不下的上衣、連身服、洋裝和睡衣的數量終於夠讓我開始製作百納被。每晚家人上床後,我總會留下幾分鐘進行這項計畫。那是樁充滿快樂回憶的差事:這件是伊娃剛出生從醫院回家時穿的娃娃服,七分鐘的車程她在汽車後座一路啼哭不止,而我蜷縮在她身旁;那件淡藍色洋裝是她第一次生日派對時所穿,那時她還沒學走路;那件T恤則是我們頭一次去佛羅里達州探望祖母時買的紀念品,當時她滿心驚奇呆望着棕櫚樹。起初,每當我小心翼翼拿起一件可愛的小衣服,總會遲疑是否該剪開,但等我克服剪下第一刀的震撼後,便開始緩慢而穩定地持續了一個月,把伊娃的舊衣剪成好幾堆等待縫製的拼布塊。我選擇每一件衣服最具特色的部分,例如一道花邊皺褶、一個口袋,或一塊茶壺圖案的刺繡,作為每一塊方形或長方形拼布的視覺焦點。

By age five, Eva had finally outgrown enough shirts, onesies, dresses and pajamas for me to begin the quilt. I set aside a few minutes each night, after everyone had gone to bed, to delve into the project. The task was laden with happy memories: Here was the outfit that Eva wore home from the hospital as a newborn, crying for the entire seven-minute ride, with me scrunched in the back seat next to her. The pale blue dress that she wore to her first birthday party, months before she even learned to walk. The souvenir T-shirt from our first trip to Grandma’s in Florida, when she gawked in wonder at the palm trees. At first, I held each cute, tiny garment gingerly in my hands, wondering if slicing it up was somehow wrong. But after I got over the initial shock of putting blade to fabric, I worked slowly and steadily for a month, turning Eva’s old wardrobe into piles of workable quilt pieces. I chose the best feature on each item of clothing—a ruffle, a pocket, an embroidered teapot—and made it the highlight of each square or rectangle.

等我剪好最後一件衣服,已累積足夠的各色布條和布片,足以鋪滿整張餐桌。我想向人炫耀一下自己的成果,但向誰呢?我覺得伊娃是最好的對象,畢竟這全是她的衣裳。

Once I’d cut up every last piece of clothing, I had amassed enough colorful strips and blocks to blanket my dining room table, and I wanted to show off my handiwork. But to whom? The best person seemed to be Eva, I decided; it was her wardrobe, after all.

我無法確定五歲大的孩子看到自己心愛的舊衣被剪成破布,會作何反應,所以對伊娃透露計畫的進展之前,我先強調不久之後就會有一條紀念百衲被讓她的臥房更漂亮。

I wasn’t sure how a five-year-old would react to seeing her favorite outgrown outfits snipped to shreds so before I unveiled my progress to Eva, I played up the concept of the completed memory quilt that would soon adorn her bedroom.

幸好她開心地在拼布塊中翻揀,每看過四、五片,藍眼睛就閃現認出什麼的光芒。接着她請求我讓她幫忙完成這條百衲被。這項要求令我措手不及,而我又難以抵擋她的恭維,於是突然間,我有了個助手。

To my relief, she rifled through the quilt pieces delightedly, a glimmer of recognition lighting up her blue eyes every fourth or fifth square. Then she begged me to let her help finish making the quilt. I was caught off-guard by the request, and I couldn’t resist her flattery, so suddenly, I had an assistant.

頭一、兩週,我本以為伊娃會逐漸失去對這條百衲被的興趣,但她倒十分入迷。每晚臨睡前的活動,她幾乎都選擇做拼布。有時候她會坐在我膝上,幫我決定哪些布料圖案配起來最好看;有時候她會站在我身邊,協助我用縫紉機把布片縫製起來。

For a week or two, I expected Eva to lose interest in the quilt, but she was hooked. When it was time for Eva’s bedtime activity each evening, she almost always picked quilting. Sometimes she’d sit on my lap, helping me decide which fabric patterns best complemented each other. Other times, she’d stand by my side to help me stitch pieces together on the sewing machine.

從來沒有人和我如此親密地分享嗜好,因此她從我們的計畫中得到這麼多樂趣,讓我驚喜不已。而對於我那老是在滑手機的科技世代女兒,我也樂於教導這種老派嗜好的基本技巧。

It thrilled me that she took such joy in our project, because I’d never before had anyone to share a hobby with so intimately. And I loved the idea of teaching my tech-savvy, smartphone-swiping daughter the basics of an age-old hobby.

這些布料促成了不少饒富意義的對話。「我認得那一片!」 伊娃會指着一塊從最近才穿不下的外套上剪下的圓點圖案說;以往她每天都穿着這件外套上幼稚園,所以接着我們會聊起她在幼稚園裏最喜歡的事物。對於不認得的衣服,她也想知道其中的點點滴滴,因此我把她穿着某些上衣或洋裝時發生的事告訴她,比如學走路,或去探望已故的曾祖母。她沉醉在這些故事裏,對於自己過往的祕密被揭開而驚奇不已。

The fabrics prompted many meaningful conversations. “I recognize that one!” Eva would say of the polka dots from a jacket she’d recently outgrown, and we’d discuss her favorite things about nursery school, where she’d worn the jacket daily. She also wanted to learn about clothing that she didn’t recognize, so I told her what she’d done in certain shirts or dresses, such as taking her first steps or visiting her late great-grandmother. She soaked up the stories, amazed at the secrets being revealed from her own past.

這一年多來,她的熱忱從未消褪。我很確定部分誘因來自縫紉機安靜轉動聲響中母女倆獨處的時光,但同時也出於她想協助我完成這條紀念百衲被的承諾。我能預見她每年春夏時節,把這條輕薄的百衲被鋪在床上。

For more than a year, her enthusiasm never waned. I’m sure that part of the allure was the alone-time that we shared over the quiet whir-whir of the sewing machine. But she was also motivated by the promise of a keepsake quilt that she’d helped to make. She’d have the lightweight quilt on her bed every spring and summer for the foreseeable future.

直到十一月的最後一天,我們才完成這條百衲被。雖然屋外天氣冷颼颼的,我還是先讓伊娃蓋着我們的傑作睡了一晚,才收起來準備明年五月拿出來再用。那天晚上,我等不及伊娃上床的時間到來,當我用這條簇新的百衲被為她鋪床時,內心充滿十足的成就感。

We didn’t end up finishing the quilt until the last day of November. Although it was chilly outside, I let Eva sleep with our masterpiece for one night before stowing it until May. That evening, I felt a real sense of accomplishment when I made her bed with the crisp, new quilt, and I couldn’t wait until Eva’s bedtime.

當我為伊娃蓋好這條憧憬多年的被子,我很驚訝她抱我抱得比平常更緊、更久。

When I tucked Eva in beneath the very cover that I’d envisioned so many years before, I was surprised that she hugged me much tighter and longer than usual.

然後,我藉由小夜燈的光,看到女兒湛藍的眼睛裏顯露驕傲。忽然間,我恍然大悟:雖然收集材料和着手製作這條百衲被的人是我,但其實這一直是伊娃的計畫,而且她對這完美、平靜時刻的期待之情,更勝於我。

Then I saw my daughter’s bright blue eyes beaming with pride by the glow of her nightlight, and suddenly, it dawned on me: Although I’d saved the material and had begun fashioning the quilt on my own, it had really been her project all along, and Eva had been anticipating this perfect, quiet moment even more than I had.

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