Writers are expected to take a stand on many issues, to present principles
of one kind or another or at least to promote an interesting (and preferably
inspiring) way of looking at things. I, I am afraid, can do none of these things.
My views change with my audience or the most recent book I have read.
My moods are mercurial and if I take a position on anything it is that
there is nothing to take a position on. But wait, something is tugging
at my conscience, something of principle that needs to be expressed... Aha!
I do have one small principle to which I have stuck over the years.
What is it?... It is to never buy new material for making a quilt. There you have it!
A quilt used to be the last resource for work clothes, outgrown Sunday-go-to-meeting
clothes and any scraps (from other household projects) that were carefully set aside.
A quilt was a statement of thrift at its best, economy at its most generous and often
the only artistic statement that could be made by a housewife lost in years of
drudgery and bad crops.
|Green Night Quilt
The best quilt I ever saw was made of work-sock tops.
Recently I was reminded of it when I saw instructions for making a
rag rug from sock tops. The pattern of the sock-top quilt was not
intricate, the colors were muted greys and browns but the inventiveness
of the quilt soared above the ordinariness of the material.
In the last few years I have made four quilts and have
just started a fifth. None exquisite, but each presenting an
interesting aspect. The first one, of which I shall tell now, was made
from a couple of hundred brand new ties of a shiny and garish nature
that someone had dumped on me knowing my favorite fairy tale is the one
where the heroine spins straw into gold. I interwove and sewed them
on to an old sheet. I used an old wool blanket as batting and a remnant
of Scottish wool cloth (from some distant dress-making project) served
as the backing. Sticking to my principles, even the thread I used to sew
the quilt had been obtained from a garage sale.
There was no room in our small house for a frame so I pinned the layers
within an inch of their life. As the quilt was thick I couldn't do
those neat little running stitches that are so wondrous on other
people's quilts. For this one I had to make each stitch individually,
pushing the needle down through the layers with my right hand and catching
and returning the needle from underneath with my left. The man who bought
the quilt noticed a few odd pins, and, being a doctor, threatened to take
it down to the hospital to X-ray it!