I was up before the sun. With the time change, that’s not hard to do. But for me to get up while the house is dark, start some coffee, and pull out the sewing machine, something is truly amiss. But last night I decided to iron the pin job I did on the edges of the quilt and see if I could build my confidence to just finish it! The quilt is an ebay find. I lusted after it and sent the listing to Anne telling her that birthday, Christmas, Mother’s Day, or any other occation would be complete with this quilt. To my surprise, she actually bought it and brought it to me as a housewarming gift last spring!
It was even more beautiful in person. But I quickly realized it was a quilt top, and not a finished product. I was still thrilled, and planned to ask my talented quilting friend, Shelly, to complete it for me. But then a twist of fate (and a new job) introduced me to another quilter. She assured me I could finish this myself, and volunteered to help me. She bought all the batting and backing and pins and sandwiched it for me. And I got busy tying. The tying was fun and easy and I couldn’t wait to take the pins out. Finally the big day arrived, and I unpinned the beauty. Then I messed it up. I sewed around the outside of all the ties, and was none too pleased with the result. So the quilt sat for a while. I was afraid if I finished the edges I would wreck it even further. But one night, watching TV, I started pinning the edges together, and last night I ironed the edges where I had pinned, and when I awoke this morning, I knew that if all went smoothly, I could finish this sucker once and for all before my first cup of coffee! And that is just how it happened.
As I sit in the wee hours of the morning with the sewing machine rumbling, I think of my mother. I think of all the quilts on our beds when I was a kid. I think of home-made Halloween costumes. The back yard grows lighter and lighter, while the hot air kicks out from the furnace.
I’m not much of a sewer, I think to the woman who sewed this quilt top. I imagine she winced at the thought of it being finished on a machine. But as much as she hates the idea, she’s grinning because her quilt didn’t end up on a garage floor somewhere, or in a box in an attic, but instead it’s adored and appreciated, even if the new owner is completely inept.
I think of the word “domestic” and I become an Indian descendant: determined to keep the traditions of his fathers alive, and preserve a way of living that is vanishing from the modern world. But it’s my mother’s tradition: the way of the home; industrious, creative, and skillful; refinishing furniture, sewing curtains, knitting socks, baking bread.
The coffee beckons as I finish up the last side. I am not thrilled with my work, but I am thrilled that it is finally finished and I can throw it over a bed. I am also excited to finish two more quilt tops that I found over the summer.
But mostly I am ready for coffee!