Monday, June 7, 2010

Rainy Day quilt


It was a gloomy and rainy weekend, which made me want to make another quilt. Something about that damp chill triggers my cozy mechanism, and depending on my whim, it’s either quilts or mittens. There’s no need for mittens at the moment, but quilts are perfect for summer—they are snug and cottony, and can be laid out on the grass for picnicking, or for firework-watching, or can be spread over a clothesline rope to make a perfect one-man tent. Then they can go straight into the wash to be made even softer and floppier, which is a quilt’s magical destiny—to become as soft and floppy as possible.


None of my quilts are particularly good. I should say, they are not particularly well made, because I really just want to have the quilts, and really find no thrill in spending weeks and months messing with them. Because, you know, it’s chilly and none of the other seventy-two quilts I have will do, so I want it right now. (Really, the weird truth of it is also this—a quilt is not actually that warm. At least not where I’m from. We need goose down here in Upstate NY.) But there is something so appealing about them, so basic and homey, and they are, in a word, cozy. So when it’s a dank and dismal and I am feeling up to my neck in fabric anyway because the stash is teetering, the natural thing to do is make a quilt.

But I like it to be done in a hurry, which means there is no hand-quilting happening here, oh dearie me, no. That would take me twenty years or more (ask me how I came up with that number) and it is raining today, so that means patchwork squares and machine quilting, and it also means sloppy seams and, sometimes, odd fabric choices.


For this quilt, I really wanted to use what I had. Part of what makes a quilt so wonderful for me is the thriftiness of using scraps, really using up the odd bits you have leftover from other things, which is the honest beginnings of quilts, and it is really what I love about them the most. So for this project, I went to the Rummage Sale box—a big pile of calico half and quarter-yards that came in a box at a church rummage sale, one dollar for the whole pile! That, my friends, is a find.

I have concluded, too, that when it comes to a quilt like this, there is no such thing as fabric that Goes Together. It all goes together, anything you’ve got hanging around in the stash, and thus I have orange next to pink and rust next to red, and a decorator would cringe…


This looks like the quilt my mother might have made for me in 1978, using leftovers from my third-grade school dresses, which all looked straight from the pages of the dear Holly Hobbie. (Remember her? Oh, sigh! Her calico aprons and gigantic bonnets, her little daisy stems and brown boots. Holly, I love you.)

It still needs quilting, which I plan to accomplish this week. Stay tuned!