"A quilter's prerogative is to change her mind," my sweet wife said.
"Isn't that a woman's prerogative?" I said.
"As if you never change your mind," she said.
"Only when it's absolutely necessary," I said. "Sometimes my mind gets rusty and malfunctions, so I have to change it."
"I don't like the green," she said.
"Well, I can understand that," I said. "What green?" Now, this may sound as if it were the beginning of a bizarre conversation which in a century or two of talk would still not make sense to anyone overhearing us, but it made absolute sense. She was talking about her new quilt project. I was trying to provide support and empathy and caring, just a few of the needs every quilter has, especially the one I have long been married to for better or worse and quilting.
"The green in the new quilt. It just won't go. I don't like it, I won't use it, and I need to change it."
"Why don't you change it?" I asked.
"I may change all the colors," she said.
"Go for it," I said enthusiastically, providing encouragement and understanding in just a few words.
"I don't have some of the colors I need for the quilt," Darling Wife said a few hours later.
"And?" I asked quickly. She was standing at the refrigerator. The door was wide open and she had her hands on her hips, and she was looking inside, her head moving up and down as she seemed to search the shelves for some food or drink and she had forgotten which. "There's no fabric in the refrigerator," I added when she kept on standing there, as she kept on peering inside.
"I'm looking for the tuna,' she said.
"I ate it,' I said.
"No wonder," she said.
'About that fabric?" I asked.
"The fabric's not in the refrigerator," she said. "I'll have to change my mind about lunch."
"There's some fresh turkey in the drawer," I said helpfully.
"I was going to make it easy on myself and just follow the design and the pattern and the fabric and the color choices, but I don't have the right fabrics in my stash so I've changed most of the colors to what I do have," she said to the inside of the refrigerator. She reached into the drawer and brought out the turkey and closed the refrigerator door.
"The same quilt, just different. Do you want some turkey?" she asked.
"I had the tuna," I said.
"Well, let me know if you change your mind."
"Have you noticed how many new fabrics have come out lately?" she asked as she turned the pages of her latest fabric catalog. I was turning the pages of the newspaper.
"There's no mention of that in the paper," I said.
"I would need about a billion yards of fabric to have all the fabric designs in this catalog."
"We don't have room for one yard of fabric more in this house." I said. (A billion?")
"I don't need them now. Maybe some day. In the meantime I can keep on quilting with what I have."
"That's good," I said.
"I'm out of another fabric I need for the quilt," she said.
"Is that a problem?" I asked. There were a billion yards of fabric out there, and she had the key to that kingdom in her hand. She turned page after page.
"I can change the red to rose or some other color that's near. I just have to go through my stash again."
"I thought you did all that before you started?" It was an oft repeated question, and her answer was an oft repeated stare.
"I have to adjust as I go along. I may have the right colors in mind when I begin, and I might have the right fabric with those colors, but when the pieces are side by side, when they're arranged up and down, sometimes they clash when I want them to be complementary, and so I change something. It's an adjustment. Sometimes changes are only adjustments."
"I can understand that," I said. It was my duty, my obligation, my role as her quilting partner to either understand what she was saying and agree with her or, if I didn't understand her, agree anyway. That way, some quilting gets done. Then she is happy and I am happy. "Did you know that the price of gasoline is going up some more?" I asked in order to change the subject. "It's the headline again today. We have to adjust to not driving as much."
"The price of fabric is already up," she said, changing the subject back. "Some of the new fabric I need is getting expensive."
"You need new fabric?" Since when?
"Just in case I change my mind about the borders on the quilt and I don't have what I change my mind to in my stash. Then, I might need new fabric."
"But not right away?" I asked quickly. "Not if you don't change your mind again?" I took a deep breath.
"No, not right away." She said. "I've just decided not to change anything else."
"You're not? What about the borders? You just said."
"I changed my mind back. I like what I already picked out. How much is gasoline going to go up?"
"Whatever it is, it'll change again in a day or two," I said.
"I wish they'd keep things the same. Why don't they make up their minds and keep things simple."
"I don't know," I said. Maybe it's just time for a change.
Copyright 2005 by A.B. Silver
Click here to see finished "Spicy Hearts Quilt"
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