During the four hours we were driving home from Mammoth Lakes, California, driving through the hot Mojave Desert, she changed her mind 487 times.
"I have to finish something," she finally said as we drove over the Tehachapi Mountains down toward our hometown.
"Finish something you started," I offered. I had said, "Sounds good," to her every change of mind for the past four hours, which was quite an accomplishment, while at the same time watching traffic, watching my speed, and wondering if we would ever get home before she imploded from indecision.
"I think I will," she said.
"You think you'll finish something you started?" I asked just to be sure I had heard her absolutely clearly. I had my hopes up, for if she finished one of her WIPs, she would no longer have to consider all the new projects she had in mind. The day before we had been at the National Quilting Association show in Reno, that memory of the three hours drive there and the three hours drive back to Mammoth afterwards still fresh in my muscles, brain, and everywhere else fatigue could linger. On the other hand, she was fresh as can be, happy and delighted that she had seen enough new quilts in the show to inspire her until the year 3056.
She had awakened me at four a.m. to download the photos of all the quilts from our camera to the computer so she could see all her favorites again. She loved the new digital camera, for now, no longer would she have to wait even an hour at our drugstore for processing them. The people there don't have to work at four a.m. to satisfy the needs of a woman who might agonize at waiting a minute too long. At five minutes after four, my wide-awake spouse was staring at each quilt as it appeared on the computer screen. A sleepy quilter's spouse's work is never done!
"I have several quilts in mind," she said dramatically, leaving me to wonder how many but knowing the choices now were much, much fewer.
"That means you're almost decided," I said, a statement and a question both. I crossed my fingers.
"Almost," she said, her tone of voice adding, "Maybe almost."
But within seven hours of being home, after all the unpacking and putting away, after shopping for food and eating, after all that, she went into her sewing room to choose what to quilt next.
"I'm going to finish the double wedding rings wall hanging I started," she said casually as she passed me in the hall. I was carrying the empty suitcases to the garage. She was carrying the unfinished wedding rings.
The wedding rings wall hanging (or bed quilt for a couple of really small newlyweds) was her first attempt to make rings, and, because she was abnormally intimidated by anything even slightly curved in a quilt, she was using a appliqué technique that she thought would be wonderfully easy for her to begin with which used printed fusible interfacing.
She had put away the quilt just days before we left because she had reached the conclusion that it was an impossible quilt to finish and that the color of several of the pieces clashed with all the other colors.
"You can unquilt those pieces," I suggested to her then.
"Feh," she said. That meant she didn't want to.
"You don't have time to start anything else, so why not?" I asked. Usually, when she changed her mind about a color, or the mischievous quilting imp that lived in her sewing room caused her to make a mistake, she would take the time to rip or unsew or unquilt until she was satisfied enough to go on. She thought about it and made a few strange faces and stomped her foot, but, in the end, she ripped out the stitches. However, with the trip coming up, she decided to put it aside. "I may never get back to it," she had said.
"Galloping horses," she said to me this morning as she hurried from breakfast back to her sewing room.
"Sounds about right," I said, not realizing what she was saying at the time, but later, when she came out of her room and hung the finished quilt on the wall, I remembered the galloping horses expression, but I didn't remember what it meant.
"It's not perfect," she said as I looked at the quilt, astonished that she had finished it so quickly, that some rush of quilter's adrenaline had given her the strength to make the work in progress a finished project.
"It looks good to me," I said. I had long before learned that all her quilts had better look good to me.
"If you're on a galloping horse," she said.
"Standing still, too," I said, remembering now that my Darling Wife's latest view of things, which was formerly, "Done is better than perfect," was now, borrowing from Mary Henderson and Ann Dease's book, Double Wedding Rings, "If you can't see a flaw from a galloping horse, it doesn't count." Of course, Darling Wife turned the horse into a 70-mile-an-hour cheetah and was hinting at, "If you can't see a flaw through a fogged-up window of a super-jet flying six-hundred miles per hour at 37,000 feet, it doesn't count."
"Do you see any flaws?" she asked.
"Are there any?" I asked. I was being very careful.
"None that you should see from a galloping horse," she said.
"You want me to run past the quilt, don't you?" I asked.
"All right," I said, and I went to the other end of the hall and turned and ran full speed down the hall past the quilt and didn't see any of the flaws she was sure were there. "Nice job," I said as I crashed into the cupboard at the end of the hall at 10 miles an hour, much, much slower than the 47.5 or so miles per hour a quarterhorse can gallop for a short distance.
"Are you sure you looked carefully?" she asked.
"I didn't see any flaws," I told her honestly, my body feeling as if a galloping horse had just run over me. "At that speed, I didn't even see the quilt," I added to myself.
Copyright 2000 by A.B. Silver
Click here to see finished Wedding Rings Quilt
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