She began with one block. She read about a "different" way of quilting each block as it was finished and then sewing all the quilted blocks together and then adding the backing. She cut out the appliqué pieces, sewed them onto a black background, added batting, and quilted the block without a back. She had intended to make a big quilt out of thirty-five blocks, but somewhere along the way she changed her mind.
"I'm only going to make this block to learn something new," she had said two months before. Then she put the block away in a drawer and she put the idea for somehow using the block in a quilt in the drawer as well.
A few days later she began work on a second block. "Why am I doing this?" she asked me that day.
"You once said you wanted to wanted to make thirty-five blocks and put them together into a quilt."
"I don't want to make another big quilt. I don't know why I started."
"Because you're between projects and you have an idea in the drawer and you took the idea out and looked at it. It serves you right for opening the drawer," I said. "Idea drawers are like Pandora's box. You never know what trouble you might unleash on the world if you open it."
"Well, I liked the idea of doing a Sunbonnet Sue block using all solid colors."
"It's like an Amish Sunbonnet Sue," I said. That's what the block looked like.
"I'm going to put this second block away, too," she said.
"You haven't finished it," I said. She hadn't even started it yet.
"I'll do a Suspender Sam so Sue can have company in the drawer," she said.
"That's a nice idea," I said.
"Sue may be in there a long time, and she could get lonely."
"It'll be good for her to have company,' I said.
She finished the second block. Sam looked good. "Keep the drawer closed," I said.
"Don't worry, I'm not making a quilt. I just wanted to try the idea out." She put the block into the drawer and closed the drawer.
Time went by. She finished another quilt and wasn't ready to start anything new as we were getting ready to go on a trip to visit our son and daughter-in-law. After two hours without quilting, she began another block. Then another. She had four done before we went visiting.
"When we get back I have to work on something else," she said.
"You have two more Sues and two more Sams done?" I asked.
"That's all I'm doing," she said. I wasn't fooled. She would open that drawer again. It was only a matter of time.
"How big are you going to make the quilt?" I asked.
"I'm not making a quilt. I'm just trying out some blocks.
"How big?" I asked.
"I'm not making any quilt. I have other things to do."
"It's only a matter of time," I said.
When we returned from our visit, she made six more blocks. She then had six Sues and six Sams. "That's all the blocks I'm making," she said.
"You could make a wall hanging," I said.
"No. I'm closing the drawer. I put the idea way in the back under the twelve blocks."
"The idea might escape," I said.
"No, it's tied down."
"What if it's a Houdini idea?" I asked. "Even a straitjacket might not work."
"Go make dinner," she said. "I have to work on my other quilts."
That was mid-April. We were planning our trip to London in May. Even though we had two weeks to go, she was packing her bags, opening drawers to make sure she had everything she needed to bring to England. But she made a serious mistake. She opened the drawer with her blocks. "No, no," she yelped. The idea for a Sunbonnet Sue and Suspender Sam solid-colored-Amish-style-quilt had untied itself, and as she opened the drawer, it attacked.
"I forgot about these," she said as she tried to recover and slam the drawer shut.
"Are you all right?" I asked as I saw a look of concern on her face.
"The idea got out," she said.
"You can put it back," I said, but it was too late.
"I'll just make make another block," she said. " We still have a few days before we go and I don't want to start anything new."
"All right," I said.
"How many more have you made?" I asked later that week. We were both packed and we were closing up the house.
"Too many for a wall hanging," she said.
"I'm not going to think about it," she said.
"Did you tie up the idea?"
"I used duct tape and put it under all the blocks. It shouldn't get out."
A week after we returned from our trip to London, during which she had not mentioned the blocks at all, she went to work on her wedding rings wall hanging. It was when that quilt was done that she began hearing voices.
"I'm heard voices last night," she said.
"What kind of voices?" I asked.
"Sue and Sam," she said.
"I opened the drawer."
"I have to sew the blocks together," she said.
"The voices said that?"
"The blocks are ready." she said.
"All the blocks?"
"All thirty-five blocks."
"You have thirty-five blocks?"
"Enough to make a quilt."
"You're going to make a quilt?"
"I never really planned to make a quilt out of these blocks," she said.
"But you're going to make the quilt anyway?"
"It sounds like a good idea," I said.
"Sometimes an idea just takes over," she said.
"Sometimes," I agreed.
Copyright 2000 by A.B. Silver
Click here to see finished Sue and Sam Quilt
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