Wednesday, October 17, 2007


This is a cropped view of the progress on my very first quilt. I've made 51 blocks, but according to my calculations I need 80. Sigh. I started this quilt in 2001.

I was in my last year of college, and had had a bad fall off a lesson horse on the day of our sorority's pumpkin-picking/hay-ride date event. I wasn't much of a sorority person (or a college social person, really, but that's another story), and this was the only event all year that I actually looked forward to. We got to wear jeans and sit around campfires, no formal wear necessary. My boyfriend (now my husband, yay) had come into town to squire me to this function and then I couldn't walk, much less hay ride, and we spent the evening in the emergency room instead.

I was on crutches for at least a month after that, and couldn't drive, so I was stuck in my off-campus apartment a lot. My roommate and I were no longer getting along, and she had this horrible boyfriend who was always drunk and screaming and over at the apartment.

One afternoon while the roommate and her boyfriend were both in class, my mom drove over to the apartment with her little vintage Singer Featherweight and showed me how to make a log cabin block. We tore strips of lights and darks and mediums and sorted the groups into grocery bags, to be pulled at random as I sewed. I still remember which block I made first. I had used my mom's sewing machine before, to make little holiday gifts and pillowcases, and to repair my childhood security blanket. But this was the first time that I used sewing and quilting as meditation. What a calming thing (and what a gift). To see those perfect little off-white stitches line up, so straight and so strong.

My husband is going through a stressful time at work, spending a lot of time at the office, and so the pup and I have the evenings to ourselves these days. I'd really like to finish this quilt this fall, to translate the blocks' calming energy into something useful. A quilt to keep us warm and safe this winter. A soft calm to tuck into.

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