When the two cousins, our granddaughters, five year old Rachel and six year old Shira, were selected to be flower girls for our niece's wedding, it was never in my Darling's Wife's head, or anywhere else for that matter, that fabric and batting and thread and quilting would be involved. But they all were. Human nature is involved, and it begins to show itself early in life.
The cousins, a year apart in age, lived three hundred miles apart. So it was several months before the two got together at Rachel's house before the wedding and the discovery was made that Rachel had a "Cuddle quilt" and Shira didn't. Darling wife had made the cuddle quilt because, as Rachel had put it, "I want a quilt to cuddle up in."
"I think Shira wants a quilt like Rachel has," Darling Wife said as we watched the two girls cuddling together, each girl burrowing into the quilt, each pulling it away from the other until the other took it back.
"You made Shira a quilt already," I said. We had left home the day before, eager to visit with the whole family before the wedding, but DW had left behind her sewing room and a quilt-in-progress. Leaving home was a trauma in itself, so I knew that when she got home again, there was nothing that would stop her from getting back to that quilt to finish it.
"I made Shira a bed quilt," she said, "not a cuddle quilt."
"Can't Shira just take it off the bed and cuddle up in it?" I asked. It was not a smart thing to ask of a woman who knew the names of dozens of types of quilts and planned some day to make them all. I once assumed that there was a king-sized, queen-sized, twin, and crib-sized quilts and that was it. It was only later that I learned of miniature quilts and little quilts and wall hangings and table runners and cozies and an endless list of other types.
"Can you use your desk computer for a lap-top?" she asked. She always used computer analogies to get back at me.
"You don't have time to make a cuddle quilt," I said, expecting her to appreciate my concern for her well-being. I did expect her to have time to eat and sleep and, well, everything else a human being had to do when not quilting.
"I'll make time," she said, her tone of voice implying something like, "I'm a grandmother, and grandmothers are easily influenced by the needs and wants of their grandchildren."
"I know that," I said. "Just checking." I smiled.
She smiled. That smile said that I had better have enough money to buy the fabric needed to make a cuddle quilt for Shira, and that the fabric had better be in the house before I had any hope of eating, sleeping, or otherwise knowing human comfort.
Frenzy. There are several definitions for frenzy. Whatever the definition, the next week was madness, wild activity, mania. Oh, the wedding went off as scheduled, the two girls darling as they walked down the aisle with their flower baskets in hand, their spirits soaring as they enjoyed each other's company. But somehow my Darling Wife could not look at the two girls and not be reminded that Rachel had a cuddle quilt and Shira did not. Once home, DW was determined to resolve that difference between them.
Frantic. There are several definitions for frantic. Whatever the definition, Darling Wife was highly excited, insane, and frenzied. But finally, my Sweetheart said, "Done."
"You're finished with the quilt already?" I knew she was. In her vocabulary, "Done" is done.
"I had some of the blocks already finished."
"You had some of the quilt already made before you knew you were going to make it?" I asked. I am never ever surprised by anything a quilter does, but I still had to ask, just to be sure.
"I had some WIP's, and I found just the right blocks for a cuddle quilt.
"You had a work in progress that you thought you might have a use for some day?" She has a lot of hidden boxes and hidden drawers full of something she won't let me see. I think the way she orders fabric some of those containers are bottomless.
"I still had to make more blocks and put them together and come out with just the right quilt for Shira." My wild wife was now calm and seemed fresh as a daisy, as if the week had never happened. (Why fresh as a daisy? Why not fresh as a newly hatched alligator or fresh as triplets born at the first moment of a new year?)
"So you're feeling all right now?"
"Fresh as a daisy," she said.
"Now you can go back to your regular projects?" I asked.
"Absolutely," she said, and she went back to the quilt she had been working on oh-so-long before.
Absolutely not. In minutes she came out of her sewing room. "Woe is I," she said. Actually, she didn't say that. What she really said was, "Uh-oh."
"Is that a regular uh-oh or a bad uh-oh?" I asked. Regular was for something like forgetting where she put the new blade for the rotary cutter or forgetting to put the bobbin back in the machine. Bad was for, well, something that meant I might not see her for a long while again, for example, if she sewed together all the blocks in a queen-sized quilt backwards.
"Even-steven," she said, answering me once again with words that probably came out of her quilter's codebook.
"Works for me," I said, agreeing with whatever it was she was saying. She would explain in time.
"Rachel and Shira will now both have cuddle quilts," she said.
Ah-hah! I understood. So they were even-steven. "That makes sense. Problem solved," I said.
"No," she said.
"Shea won't have one." He was Shira's brother. He was eight. The translation of DW's "No" was simple: Whatever Shira had, Shea wanted. If Shira had a new cuddle quilt, Shea would want a new cuddle quilt. If Grandma made a cuddle quilt for Shira, she had to make one for him as well.
"So you're off to make a cuddle quilt for Shea?" Need I have asked?
"They have to be even," she said.
"So, you're going to make them even?"
"Even-steven," she said, and she was off back to her sewing room. I began to call after her, to remind her that there was still another grandson who might want a cuddle quilt, but as he was only going on three, he was still too young to want to be like his cousins. Maybe if we just didn't let him visit his cousins until he was forty or so. Maybe.....
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Copyright 1999 by A.B. Silver
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