Thursday, July 23, 2009

On Piecing (Or, rather, on cutting)

After my successful completion of a tiny quilt in one evening, I was feeling very full of myself. I decided to pull out the quilt kit I bought right before I broke my arm, and figured that, in one evening, I could really knock part of it out. I had visions of needing things I didn't have, like more batting and basting pins.

Can you tell that I'm new at this?

Here is what I did get accomplished with the twenty-four fat quarters in the kit: washed them; dried them; ironed them; squared them up and cut them into strips.

That took four hours. FOUR HOURS. This is a LAP quilt, not a king size quilt.

But I was meticulous. Every one of those strips is close to perfect (except maybe the last four or five--I was getting tired and my back started to hurt...). As I cut, hunkered over the mat on my floor, I thought about quilting and how I was taking big pieces and cutting them into little pieces so that I could make big pieces again and I wondered at why I am so committed to making these things to keep people warm and whether it really matters and if this quilt would one day end up in a Goodwill with no one to love it. (My mind does wander.) And then I thought about our grandmothers and great-grandmothers cutting up pieces of their clothing to make something that would be beautiful and useful. I still have one with pieces of my grandmother's dress in it.

It's just awfully hard on this twenty-first century girl, having to delay gratification. I must learn to be patient and wait for beautiful things to develop, to take the time to cut perfectly, to know that the end product is worth all the time I invest in it.

I want to learn to do this with food, too, and my schoolwork, and, even, with my relationships. Because the best things sometimes take a while to square up, to cut just right.

I still have to cut those strips again, into squares, and then I'll begin the long (apparently it takes a while?) process of piecing. And then sandwiching. And then quilting. And then binding. And then I'll have a little lap quilt that will match my living room perfectly.

And it will be warm. And beautiful.


Anonymous said...

Your blog is neat

Anonymous said...

Just happened on your blog through Sew Mama Sew. Why quilt? You nailed it, "It will be warm and beautiful."

Here's a link to Aunt Jane of Kentucky. It was written in the 1850's. Chapter 3, Aunt Jane's Album, is about her quilts and what they mean to her. It starts on page 54. Just thought you might be interested. :)

Good luck with your quilt - it's as much fun making one as it is having one - enjoy!

Shannah said...

Thank you so much, Anonymous, for your comment! I really look forward to reading through Aunt Jane of Kentucky.

And the quilt is coming along--slowly. I've cut and pieced and am in the process of squaring up blocks.

(And as to the first "Anonymous"--thanks, dear boyfriend, you're very sweet.)