The Moody Quilter Blues




"I don't think I'm going to like this quilt when it's finished."


"I don't know if I will like it."

"I heard you say that, but what do you mean?"

"I think this quilt is boring."

"Boring?" I looked at her carefully and concentrated on her mind. I couldn't read my Darling Wife's thoughts, but I had an idea of what was churning around inside that log-cabin, churn-dash, nine-patch, hexagon, square, and triangular-shaped skull of hers.

'I'm not sure about the greens or the frogs or the design or anything."

"You said you want to make the frog pattern because you weren't in the mood to finish the townhouse quilt or the scrap quilt or the southwestern quilt." She had those and about ninety-eight-point-six other quilts started and piled in the dozen or so closets she had taken possession of when we moved into our new house four months before.

"I'm bored with all of them."

"Even the blue-on-blue quilt you promised to begin as soon as you finished the last quilt and before you started on the green frogs quilt?"

"I have the blues, so I can't work on the blues or reds or any color quilt."

"You have the quilt blues?" I asked

"Yes," she answered.

"Is that anything like the quilt block you had?"

"Which quilt blocks. Most quilts have blocks."

"The block you had when you couldn't quilt because you said you had a quilt block."

"I'm not blocked. This is different. I can quilt. I just don't feel I'm in any mood to quilt."

"Then you have the moody blues?" I asked. I was just trying to understand her.

"I'm not moody," she said moodily.

"You're not exactly a happy quilter," I said.

"I can be happy and bored," she said.

"You want my advice?" I asked.


"Do what you always do," I said, offering her my good advice.

"What do I always do?" she asked, no doubt eager for continued advice from this non-quilter.

"You go through your fabric or rearrange your sewing room or get out all your unfinished projects or re-read all your quilting magazines."

"I did all that," she said.


"Just now and this morning and last night and yesterday. But I'm still not sure I like this quilt I'm working on, and I'm even more sure that I won't like it when I finish--if I finish. I don't know if I can ever finish it."

"Quitlers aren't quitters," I said.

"What? Are you offering me unwanted advice again?"

"You always tell me that. You always tell me that if you quit quilting when you're quilting then you're not a quilter but a quitter-quilter." I wasn't sure that what I said made any sense, but it sounded right. I think.

"I quit a lot," she said.

"No, you never quit. You just put things aside for awhile. You never throw anything out. You have dozens of unfinished objects...."

"UFO's" she said, capitalizing the letters as she spoke.

"And works in progress...."

"WIP's," she said.

"And hundreds of orphan blocks...."

"I plan to adopt them into a quilt some day," she said.

"And all that binding you made in every color for a hundred quilts years into the future."

"I plan to use it. I'm not quitting quilting--not now or ever. I'm just not going to like what I'm working on now and I don't want to start something new but I have to, and I don't know what I want to do because I'm bored." With that she grabbed her rotary cutter and cut a mean strip of green batik across her cutting mat.

"All that's called the moody blues," I said, getting out of the way of her cutting table in case the 45 mm cutter blade kept on rolling off the table in my direction.

"I can be moody if I want," she said.

"So you accept the idea that quilters can get moody?"

"Maybe." She picked up the pieces of the green frog she was paper-piecing and put them on her design wall and stared at them and then yanked the pieces down.

"A bad frog?" I asked.

"It's a good frog. A nice friendly compassionate and loving frog," she said, but I didn't think she meant it.


"Maybe I should make a blue frog."

"Frogs get the blues sometimes," I said. I wanted to add something about them getting the blues when they croak, but I bit my tongue and held back.

"What about a white and yellow frog?" she asked.

"A white and yellow colored frog is good," I said. National Geographic would send out a photographer, I was sure.

"I can make the grass pink," she said.

"Pink grass would make the frog happy," I said.

"You don't believe me, do you?"

"I always believe you when it comes to quilting."

"Well, I'm not going to make any silly white and yellow frog with pink grass. If I finish this quilt, the frogs will be green and my grass will be green . If--" she said.

"Sounds good," I said.

"But I'm still not going to like it. Not yet."

"As long as the blues are gone," I said.

"Who said they were gone?"

"I thought----"

"Don't think," she said."

I stopped thinking. But I watched her closely. Three days later she said she thought she might like the quilt.

"You know what?" she asked.


"I might like the quilt."

Yes, even quilters get the blues, but they get over them.


Copyright 2001 by A.B. Silver

Click here to see finished "Moody Quilt Blues Quilt

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