In the Pink




"There's not enough yellow," she said.

"Not enough yellow for what?" Whenever she said, "Not enough," she meant she couldn't quilt another moment unless she had more of what she didn't have enough of. It was my job to steer her away from her dismay.

"Use pink," I said.

"Pink? Do you think pink would work?"

"I'm sure of it," I said, though I had no inkling of what she wanted yellow for or whether pink would be a good substitute. In times like these, when quilting is the be-all of her existence, I cannot keep up with her projects. I can only hope for an occasional nod from her that tells me that she recognizes me as being somewhat different from a paper-piecing pattern.

"You may be right," she said.

"Well, thank you," I said. I was still not sure what our conversation was about, but I was ready to accept any compliment.

"I'll try pink," she said.

"You should have plenty of pink," I said. It was no idle comment. She should have plenty of every color ever used to dye 100 percent cotton fabric, most of it, it seemed to me, for her personal use. I did wonder, however, how she could not have enough yellow. She had a large drawer marked "Yellow" which stored enough yellow fabric for seven years of lean, a fabric famine never in sight in our house.

"I'll let you know."

"Is this a new quilt?" I asked. I shouldn't have asked. It was always a new quilt. Quilts bred in our house, their offspring more quilts, and though she had several in gestation, weeks or months along, as long as new ideas popped into her head, as long as she went to quilt shows, as long as new quilting magazines arrived in our mailbox, the conception of a new quilt was just a matter of time for her--a very short time.

"I started it two days ago," she said.

"That means it's new," I said.

"If you say so," she said. Maybe it was already an old quilt to her, and if that were the case, as she worked on this quilt, she was already planning her next quilt.

"Well, let me know about the pink," I said, wanting to leave the discussion at that, on a friendly note, my interest established, our marriage intact.

"The pink will work fine," she said, holding on to the conversation.

"You want to tell me about the new quilt?"

"It's another stash quilt," she said.

"I remember the last one," I said. "You cheated."

"I ran out of one color and had to buy a fat eighth. That's barely cheating," she said.

"You're supposed to use stash you already have to make a stash quilt," I said, repeating what she had told me when she had begun the first stash quilt. I am a quick learner and try to remember what she tells me so that I can live a happier more fulfilled life. She told me that, too. If a husband shares in his wife's quilting life, she had said, he is more likely to find a heaven here on earth. At least some kind of quilting heaven.

"I am using stash I have. That's why I'm switching from yellow to pink."

"So, you are switching?"

"Of course. Pink will complement the blues and purples."

"I always thought pink could do that," I said. I wanted my bread buttered on both sides. If she were happy, I was happy. I really wanted to stay happy.

"Well, you were right."

"I'm going to go read my book," I said."

"I've got to work on the quilt," she said. "Why don't you go read your book."


"No, no, no," she said. She stomped her foot, though the carpet under her foot was too thick for her foot to make any real stomping sound. But I got the idea.

"I was just passing by your sewing room and heard a stomp," I said as I peeked into her sewing room.

"You'll never guess," she said.

"Something about your quilting," I guessed.

"It's the pink," she said.

"No, not the pink," I said in mock horror.

"Don't make fun of me. The quilt needs nine different pinks," she said. "You should feel miserable for me," she said.

"I feel miserable for you," I said with great empathy in my voice. I even moaned a little. "I didn't know you needed nine pinks," I added truthfully. How was I to know about different colors?

"Well, I knew, and I really thought I had enough, but I only had five pinks."

"That seems like more pinks than most people have," I said. I didn't say, "Most quilters," for I had no idea what most quilters had. I only knew about this quilter, this wife of mine, and if she were the norm for all the quilters in the world, husbands all around the world had wives with at least five pinks.

"I need four more," she said.

I looked at her. "You're absolutely sure you need four more pinks?" I asked.

"I looked in all my fabric drawers. I have other pinks, but they won't work with pinks I already have in the quilt."

"They're uncooperative pinks?"

"They shout and clash and don't mingle very well."

"They're nasty pinks?" I asked.

"No, they're good pinks, but not for this quilt."

"So you need to find friendlier pinks?"

"That's what I just said," she said,

"And that means?" I knew what that meant.

"That means we'll have to go out to the quilt shop and get four more pinks."

"You're going to cheat--I mean, you're--I mean--"

"They'll be part of my stash after I buy them," she said. "Then that won't be cheating. It'll still be a stash quilt."

"That's all you'll need then, four pinks?"

"Maybe some extra purple for the border, but just a small piece."

"You ran out of purple?"

"I haven't looked yet, but just in case...."

"And it will still be a stash quilt?"

"Abolutely. Of course." Of course!


Copyright 2000 by A.B. Silver

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