I’m too tired to write much, but I want you to teach me how to quilt.
One of the sweetest, most comforting things has happened this week is that when Lucy came back from surgery and we got to see her for the first time—she had a sweet, beautiful hand-made quilt. It helped so much—to not see her tiny body covered in tubes and needles and IVs—it softened what would otherwise be such a harsh and scary scene that would forever be carved in your memory.
So that’s what I want to do. Make quilts. Happy colorful sweet quilts.
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Serendipity Two Days in a Row ....
... is downright woo woo!
In my cleaning frenzy yesterday I had yards of fabric to go through. Well, actually to cram into boxes so the tops would fit on. With it all spread out across the bed, the floor and part of the hallway, I started thinking maybe fabric manufacturers (like Potato chip makers and Tobacco companies) put some kind of addictive additive in their product to make people buy more (eat more or smoke more). I think my sewing machine has only been out of the closet once over the last year. But whenever Joann Fabric has a sale or sends me a coupon in the mail I seem to think I need to check out the quilting fabrics. Seriously folks I'm not sure I'll ever make another quilt.
As I told my writing coach this morning, I can no longer multi-task. I can either be a writer or a quilter but I can't manage both. When I sew I leave trails of fabric and thread (and pins) everywhere I go. I turn the dining room into a sewing room. It could be Santa's workshop if Santa was a quilter. None of that is really a problem to me, but OCD Sweetie can only take so much before he starts squirming. And all my ranting about being surrounded by clutter goes right out the window because I'm the biggest offender.
Writing isn't quite as messy. Well, maybe it is. I can't see the top of my desk, or the floor near my chair. I try to organize it and the next day it looks like a whirlwind has spun through the house leaving paper in its wake.
I set aside a bunch of quilt-making supplies and patterns to give to my old guild. I began to seriously consider giving them all the fabric too. Now I know there is some kind of law of physics (or Hoarder's Manifesto) that if you clean out your closet what you are really doing is making room for new stuff. Still the allure of an empty closet intrigues me. I'd almost made my decision when I got this heart-wrenching from my coach/friend Carol.
Sweet Lucy after surgery
Sleeping in the arms of angels
[The background is that her newest granddaughter, Lucy, who was born on my birthday had to have open heart surgery when she was only 10 days old. Say it with me, folks. OMG. I can't even wrap my head or heart around something like that. But as of this writing Lucy and her mom and dad and Llama Carol and the rest of the family are doing okay. If everything went as planned her chest was closed up today and they will soon wean her off the ventilator. That's not to say they are out of the woods but things are looking up. ]
What do you think? Is the Divine Quilter giving me a sign that I shouldn't give away my fabric but share it with someone who wants to learn how to quilt?
I've mentioned before how I feel about quilts. My grandmother was the person who introduced me to these comforting, comfortable, love filled pieces of art. Even a utilitarian quilt is artistic (Check out the Quilts of Gee's Bend). Grandmother made a red and white Lone Star quilt for my father. Whenever I was sick and stayed home from school, mom would pull out the sofa bed in front of the TV, cover me up and let me watch Match Game or Concentration or Hollywood Squares with her. Sweetie has recently claimed it. He has back issues so gets up in the middle of the night to switch from the bed to his chair. When I come out to feed the dog in the morning, there he is sound asleep wrapped from knee to neck. I'm not sure why he leaves his feet out but it doesn't seem to affect his sleep.
A quilt can be as comforting to make as to sleep under. I've made several. I'm never sure what it's going to look like when finished. Perhaps that's how Michelangelo felt painting the Sistine Chapel. But then again, he may have been a little bit more exact than I am. Some quilters have perfect points where pieces come together. I think it has to do with cutting straight, or sewing straight. I don't do either with as much precision as I should.
Back to Lucy. The fact that this horror has been soothed somehow by a quilt is no surprise to me. It is one of the reasons quilts speak to me. They are medicine and they are magic. And so are quilters. When I first moved to Jacksonville, it was the quilt guild that took me in and loved me and encouraged me like the Chats do now. Perhaps it doesn't matter what they do, as long as there are groups of nurturing women who say, Hi, my name is ... Won't you join us?
It felt good thinking about fabric and sewing and making quilts today after being so grumpy yesterday and wanting to throw it all away. It was a good reminder that getting rid of things isn't always the best course of action. Even if your son does think you're a hoarder and threatens to have a dumpster delivered. I still don't know when I'll make another quilt. I've got the next great American memoir to write. But having fabric in the closet is like having gold bars in Ft. Knox, something to fall back on when you're feeling low.
Wishing for you some comfort to wrap around you,
P.S. Lucy and her family can use all the prayers they can get. If you don't mind will you send one up to the Big Guy in the sky, or light a candle, or take a moment of silence and send good thoughts.
P.S.S. I think there is probably a Ronald McDonald house near most major hospitals that care for children. If you're looking for a place to send a few dollars, you might consider this.
P.S.S.S. If you are a quilter or know of a quilt group making tiny quilts like this for post surgery babies might be a good service project.