We put a quilt on the frame and baste it to the batting and the back fabric. It lies there colorful, beautiful and flat….very very flat. And then we begin to quilt and all at once it is possible to see more and it becomes even more beautiful. The quilt begins to gain more dimensions, designs appear that weren’t there before. And of course one never really knows – at least I don’t – what those designs will look like until they are sewn. We draw in some of the designs using a template and again – at that point its all still flat. But once the designs are quilted then they gain character. I wish I had taken some close up shots to demonstrate this but of course I didn’t. I was too busy quilting and then when I thought to take a photo I was struck by how many of us were working on this one quilt. Yes, there was a second frame set up but we all were putting our efforts on this particular day into this one that Bonnie made. It will require a lot of quilting but it will surely be worth it. And how many stitches – on my goodness. I can’t even begin to imagine.
Because I heard that Ray was going to be celebrating his 80th birthday this spring, I started thinking about transitions. There is the one that these quilts go through from being a flat expanse of fabrics to an object that shows depth and character as it is quilted. And I suppose in many ways life is the same. There we are as infants cute and cuddly but our character is slowly built over time. We transition as we are shaped by experiences and relationships and the daily weather of life. We each begin to show more depth and individual intricacies. We gain character. There are dimensions we have at 80 that we never had as a child. Yes the potential was there with the hopes and design but over time with various influences and perhaps even the assistance of a template or two, the emerging effect can be beyond anything that was imagined at the beginning.
The quilt we finished up for Kathy Ingram came off the frame and we began putting on the next one. This is one that Bonnie put together although many of the women helped with piecing the blocks. Its quite large – some discussion if it was a queen or king size but we all agreed it was large. And Cathy had sewn the back and we have a piece of batting to fit it. Then the question came up as to what should be used for the binding. Lynda got out box after box of fabrics but either one piece was too dark or another too busy. We all liked that particular one but there wasn’t enough of it to bind the whole quilt. Bonnie thought maybe she had some fabric at home that would work. When I left the old school house Friday afternoon, there still hadn’t been a decision made but I know there will be.
Some decisions are a real challenge…what kind of pie to enter into the fair? What to name the second baby? Is the dog in enough pain that we should put him down? And some decisions are easy. Or at least easier. Do I want to quilt on Friday afternoon or do paper work at the office? Should I give Deb something sensible for her birthday – or something fun? I know there are individuals who struggle with making decisions. And there are others who seem to decide in the blink of an eye. The women who quilt on Fridays are a mixture but the pleasure for me is watching how they work together to arrive at a decision that everyone is content with. Lynda can hold up a piece of fabric asking, “Does this work?” and someone gives an enthusiastic “Yes!” while someone else shakes her head in disbelief. And this process continues until there is a decision made for a binding or a quilt design or what kind of pizza to order that everyone can smile about. There are no set rules about this, no bylaws stating this particular system has to be used for making decisions. Its what works and what has evolved over the years as countless quilts were made and fabric selected. Its this group of women respecting each other, willing to take advice or appreciate that Cathryn has a good eye for color. Its a marvel the way they do it. I wish more world leaders could do things this way