These days when I make quilts, I mostly just sew squares together. I love the soothing repetition of the act of sewing them. I love the fabrics and seeing the happy surprises of it all coming together. I love making bright happy quilts, but I also like making snuggly quilts, quilts made from fabric that nobody else loves. I love using fabric that was heading for landfill.
I have a pile of these quilts. My dream is one day to own a little cottage by the sea somewhere,
fill it with books and quilts (and probably cats) and have my friends and family come and visit me there and I'll feed them till they burst and do their laundry for them and mend their clothes. I will listen to their lives and then send the on their way again into the big wide world. I imagine these hardy quilts wrapped around folks as they sit by the fire and are gradually restored in body and soul.
One day when I die, there will be so many quilts for my children to disperse, but what a lovely task that will be. There are already so many of the quilts i have made out in the world. I like to think that my quilt hugs will live on long after me. I've tried really hard to be a useful person, but sometimes I wonder if the most useful thing I have done is stitch quilts together that will comfort people when they are having a hard time. I don't think it is a terrible legacy to leave really.
Anyway months or maybe years ago, someone (I forget who) gave me a pile of poor quality flannelette fabric. I cut it all up and stitched it all together. It made two identical quilt tops. A few weeks (months?) ago I went to my friend Jess and we basted one of them on her huge floor. And this week while I have been laid low with Covid I have been stitching across the wide wide width of this quilt. Not particularly straight, and not particularly small. Just slow stitches holding the whole thing together.
While I have been stitching at one end, Miss Annie has been loitering at the other end. And Kenny tries to sit in the middle. It's a big quilt. It has an unfinished top of uncertain origin on the back that I bought from the opshop for $6. It's so so snuggly. When I have energy to get out of bed, I'll go and get some fabric from my friend Ngaire and bind the thing. Then it can have a wash and a flap about in the sunshine for a bit.
There's still the other quilt top. I've given that to Chrissy. I imagine that will sit in her craft room for years. But one day she will pull it out and start putting in the slow stitches herself. I am hoping she will fall in love with the slow slow process. That she will learn to love snuggling under the quilt as you slowly slowly quilt it together. I hope that for her (like us) she makes some memories as she stitches it together. Because I could have stitched it for her, but this time, my gift to her is the gift of slow stitches. Of doing a little bit here and there. Of using what you have to hand and of tiny pieces of joy in a grim old world. I hope that she stitches it together one day and learns that love is a usually stitched with imperfect stitches.