My cutting table is full of fabric rectangles of many colors.
Surprisingly, these shades of green, purple, and yellow in plaid, checkers,
herringbone designs go well together. I am somewhat relieved, as scrappy quilts
disorient me with their multitude of colors and textures. This quilt will be
another example of the “Turning Twenty” pattern. Life was wild when I was
twenty… Is it how it got its moniker? As
I thoughtfully lay out each piece on my design wall, I see how quilts resemble
quilter turns into a goddess as she creates someone’s life, all powers
conferred to her by the sewing machine. Happy yellow moments sewn to prosperous
green ventures in one row, and turbulent purple times forever stacked next to
pale green and yellow plaid trials. A
patchwork of highs and lows mixed and sprinkled throughout rows or years, forever a part of that person’s
mysterious as the fabrics on my stash. Cotton, wool, silk… Natural or
synthetic, stiff or soft handed, tight or open weave, textured or smooth, blended
or not, commercially or hand dyed.
much, its colors rarely bleed, and quilts retain their shape and luster for
years on end. The Cottons in my life have been around me since I was born, or may
have entered it recently. Either way, they provide solid support, help navigate
calm and troubled waters alike, celebrate or mourn with me. I rely on Cottons
for a measure of sanity when a new life pattern proves more challenging than I
bargained for, and I am hanging by a thread…
projects. Virtually immune to wear and tear, dirt resistant, and natural, wool
will not unravel when felted. Sheep, llamas, camels, goats, and other animal
coats are present in small portions in my work, embellished with colorful
threads, buttons, and beads. The Wools in my life are the elders who contribute
wisdom and strength. Although some people complaint of being allergic to their
scratchiness, not all Wools come from the same animal! Fortunately, I have mostly
been surrounded by Cashmeres and Angoras… Their warmth and silkiness have
comforted me, their abrasion resilience provided sustenance, and their
experience, imparted during countless welcomed monologues, has prevented me
from coming unraveled at the seams many a time.
and as ribbons in appliqué and embroidery work. Shimmery, cool in the summer
and warm in the winter, and easily dyed to suit the user’s needs, silk’s
versatility nevertheless demands extra care. The Silks in my life are those who
add color to each encounter with their peculiarity, yet constant interaction with
them would require more tolerance, patience, and flexibility than I ever have in
store. Their mere existence alludes to the role acceptance must play in life…
side or the other, a hotter version of the wind that blows the leaves this way
and that outside my window. The seams are powerless against the leveling weight
of the iron. In the end, as seams accept their fate, the blocks lay perfectly
flat. What began as a pile of unrelated fabric pieces now is a whole.
assembled. The effort put into the details will determine its durability. Sew
straight ¼ inch seams (have integrity), or learn to live with wonky blocks and
ruffled borders. Measure twice, cut once (be mindful of others), or have an
endless supply of fabric to replace the mistakes. Pin (think) before you sew
(speak) or, accept mismatched seams and points.
wadding. Finally, the quilt is placed on top. With the three layers secured I
am ready to adorn it with stitches, in hopes it will age gracefully… What would
a “Turning Fifty” quilt look like?