My life changed two years ago when my long-time mate, My Darling Wife, the woman whom I thought I understood, that woman began to quilt. I have lived the past two years with this new version of a wife, the earlier model cast off as she accepted quilting into her life. How it all changed, I have heretofore chronicled, but there were changes unforeseen.
Truth and character are much discussed these days in the political climate of our presidential election year, but in all the talk, all the discussions of morality and ethics and what is the truth and what is not, not one radio commentator, not one television commentator, not one newspaper editorial writer has seen fit to deal with the much larger issue of quilt lies.
Yes, quilt lies.
I am not talking about those little white lies, those fibs quilters often speak out of dire necessity. When my Darling Wife says she'll only be in the quilt shop five minutes and comes out three days later, that could be considered as just taking the edge off the truth. "Besides," she would say as she came out of the shop, "the woman cutting the fabric broke her scissors and it took a while for her to find a new pair."
Nor would I consider her overlooking a major flaw in a quilt she sees at a quilt show with a comment to the quilter standing nearby that fudges the truth a bit. "The quilt looks as if you put a lot of hard work into it. It's an amazing job."
We have words like white lies and fibs and consider them insignificant in the world of ethics, especially if they seem to do good in their telling. Upon seeing a quilt in a show consisting of black fabric, black on black, and gray, the statement "The colors in the quilt really brighten the room," can somehow be justified.
"Honey, how long before you're ready to eat?" she calls down the hall.
"Just a minute," I say, knowing it will more likely be five minutes or ten minutes in reality. My intentions are good. I am hoping it will only be a minute, and at the time my words are not yet a deceit.
"I know you," she says, and she is telling the truth. From experience she knows I'll probably be a little late, and she compensates for that by going out to the garage to continue basting her latest quilt until I am actually in the kitchen. Most little white lies are seen through anyway. Who believes the flatterer, the apple-polisher, the fawner, the sweet-talker? And who believes the quilter? Yes, the quilter.
It takes experience to recognize the truth, to be able to separate the wheat from the chaff, to know whether a grain of salt is to be taken. And I have that experience. If elected.....
So now, as we are about to celebrate the birthday of the founder of our country, as we recall those words that George, the cherry tree chopper, said, "I can not tell a lie," I have to make it known that my Darling Wife entered a strange fantasy world when she began to quilt. She began her downhill descent into polished misstatement when she told me absolutely that she didn't have the time nor patience to make a quilt. Then, she completed a quilt. Ever since, when I hear her say unbelievable things, I have adopted the children's chant, "Liar, liar, pants on fire!"
My top ten list of a quilter's lies:
Number 10. "I'm going to stick to making only one kind of quilt," she told me two years ago after she had taken her first class in quilting. "It's a snowball quilt. I like it, and I don't think I want to make all those other kinds of quilts. They're all too difficult."
"I thought you liked the Abe Lincoln quilt we saw in the shop?" I questioned.
"It's called a log cabin quilt, but it has too many straight lines in it."
"So you will never make anything but snowball quilts?"
Number 9. "I really believe a quilt should be absolutely perfect," she said to me as she ripped stitches out of a seam and repaired a tiny mistake she had made.
"You're not going to make any mistakes?"
"If I do, I'll fix them."
"What about humility?" I asked.
"Well, I might make a mistake on purpose."
Number 8. "I'm really happy with my old sewing machine," she said as she began to sew together her "churn dash" square. (I didn't say a word about snowballs.)
"You want a new machine, don't you?"
"No, this one is fine."
She bought a new machine.
Number 7. "I can go a day without quilting."
"Ha, ha, ha, ha!"
Number 6. "I can just quilt here in the corner of the kitchen. I don't need a lot of space," she said as she began basting her very first wall hanging on the kitchen table.
"You want to use the guest room, don't you?"
"It would make a nice sewing room."
"What about the guests?"
"We'll leave the bed in the corner."
"And you'll be happy with that?"
"I'll have all the space I'll ever need."
Yeah, sure! She now has the entire house. I have the corner of the kitchen.
Number 5. "Cooking and cleaning house are much more important than quilting," she said.
"You're going to make dinner?"
"Of course I'll make dinner. I just have to finish basting the new quilt first."
I made dinner.
Number 4. "I'm going to cancel all my quilt magazine subscriptions," she told me after she found out she had more quilting magazines than she could ever read.
"Then you don't want to subscribe to that new magazine from Australia you saw in the quilt shop?"
"Well, that's different."
Number 3. "I don't want to go to any quilt shows this year."
"That'll save a lot on gas," I said.
"Yes, it will. I can use the gas money for fabric," she said.
That was three quilt shows ago. And she still buys the fabric.
Number 2. "Let's put all the quilts I've finished in a box in the garage," she said. "It would be nice to see the walls and furniture again."
"When do you want to start?"
That was seven months ago.
And Number 1, THE BIG LIE:
"I have enough fabric."
Copyright 2000 by A.B. Silver
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