Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Grrr! (01/28/10)
TITLE: Pieces of My Heart
By Ann Grover
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ADD TO MY FAVORITES
Make a quilt.
I envisioned myself piecing together tiny triangles and squares into a rainbow-hued masterpiece. I would love it. My daughter would love it. The baby would love it, dragging the handcrafted blanket around until all that remained would be a tattered, beloved rag.
I knew nothing about quilt making, but it couldn’t be difficult, could it? Just cut up fabric and sew the pieces back together. I dragged out pins and scissors and wiped linty dust from the sewing machine. The last thing I’d sewn had been a shepherd’s costume for a Christmas play when Lisa was ten.
The fabric bag was jammed in the closet and revealed a pair of knee-less jeans, a torn pajama top, and an unfinished placemat. Under a couple of stained T-shirts, I found an old dress of Lisa’s.
Pink, blue, and yellow stripes. Happy memories.
It was perfect.
Even with my limited experience, I knew I needed more material. Bursting with enthusiasm, I drove to our local department store.
“Do you have a pattern?” The clerk flopped a bolt of chartreuse fabric onto the counter.
“Squares and triangles.”
“You need a pattern. I don’t carry quilting books.” She pursed her lips. “You’ll have to go to the city for that.” She snipped at the cloth.
Relax! It’s only sixty-four miles to the city.
“Pattern?” asked the lady in the city store.
“Just something simple,” I suggested.
“Perhaps ‘Rail Fence,’ ‘Ohio Star,’ or ‘Broken Dishes?’”
She flipped the glossy pages of a thick book. Intricate designs swirled off the pages.
“This is a beginner book. Step-by-step directions,” she reassured me.
I felt dizzy.
“Trust me. A colour-blind woman with one hand tied behind her back and the other hand kneading bread could whip these up.”
Okay, I’ll try.
“Let’s choose your fabric,” she bubbled. “Would you like fat quarters?”
I think not. Something fat can’t be good.
Displaying several bolts of fabric, she explained how different hues complemented the colours of Lisa’s dress.
Two hours and $357.61 later, I left the store armed with cutting mats, rotary cutters, quilters needles, quilters’ thread, acrylic rulers, and enough of a “stash” to make several quilts.
Using the razor-sharp blade, I cut the fabric, piling up tiny squares and triangles. I was aghast at the number of pieces. Several hundred, at least.
Apple blossoms drifted across my overgrown lawn.
I sewed for miles and miles, joining squares to triangles, triangles to triangles. I pressed the seams, just like the book said.
I’d made a huge mistake. Some pieces were sewn together backwards. Dozens of squares needed to be picked apart.
As you sew, so shall you rip.
Hours, or possibly days, later, I tackled reassembling the colourful bits, but when I got to the end of the stack of blue triangles, there were leftover yellow pieces. I searched for the missing pieces under the sewing machine, on the floor, in my pockets. Nothing.
In desperation, I check the trash. Sure enough, I found the errant blue pieces hiding between orange peels and soggy coffee grounds.
Washed and ironed again, the triangles and squares were joined, frayed edge to frayed edge, forming blocks. Blocks blended with blocks, creating bright stars and pinwheels. It was finally time to put the quilt together, top to batting to backing.
Tomatoes in my neglected garden fell to the ground with a juicy splat!
I painstakingly pinned the layers, then quilted through all thicknesses.
The machine stopped dead. The needle was bent, angling forward like a hockey stick.
Yellow and red leaves littered the yard.
Yards and yards of narrow strips became the binding, and I attached it to the lumpy, bumpy quilt. I jabbed my fingertips as I hand-sewed, then dabbed at the tiny dots of crimson until they were nearly invisible.
Snow dusted the trees and walkway.
The binding was rippled, many blocks were misshapen, and sharp points were missing from the stars. The stripes of Lisa’s childhood dress staggered along the border in a crooked line.
It was perfect.
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