the little pieces

We are working on an old quilt now.  A woman’s grandmother started it years ago, put together all these small pieces of cloth. I tried to count them once – or at least figure out how many different fabrics were used.  But I lost track because there are so many fabrics and they each needed to be examined and appreciated so I forgot which number I was on long before I had completed the first circle.  And then, of course, I needed to get back to my sewing.   I don’t think anyone could really sort out which colors or designs go best next to each other in a quilt like this.  I suppose the woman just had a basket of small pieces and she would pick one up, sew it to another, pick another one up and sew it and on and on and on. This quilt was pieced by hand.  All those individual pieces sewn together!  Now when we are quilting it, I marvel at her patience and tenacity.

I look at the numerous pieces of fabrics  – the calicoes and pinstripes and florals and ones with tiny dots.  All different and I suppose if we picked two at random, discussed whether they complemented each other, we might decide those two fabrics really didn’t go together well at all.  But when I look at the whole quilt, it has such a pleasing effect.  The various patterns and colors pull your eyes like any pleasant scene.  Can I stretch this experience to people?  Are there times when two people might rub each other the wrong way and yet in the context of a larger group, they actually turn out to complement each other?  This is what the town is like to me; different people here together in a seemingly random selection.  No one can really say how we came together or if that one really suits his or her neighbor but the overall effect certainly garners respect.

About tvh56

I mostly live in Eureka, Montana and write two blogs. One is for the Tobacco Valley Board of History, a group composed of the most remarkable older women who quilt weekly to raise funds to maintain the Historical Village. I had to capture their stories with words and photos. And when I began a traveling bookstore as a small business, well, it only made sense to write about that too.

One response to “the little pieces”

  1. anne says :

    Great job of explaining part of the appeal of quilts – when enough disparate elements get together, it can make something beautiful. It’s also interesting how the reason many fabrics are put into quilts is because they didn’t work on their own anymore – outgrown dresses, torn shirts, etc. – but they all bring color and variety to a quilt.

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