"Four years," she said early one morning. I hadn't even had my orange juice, and here she was expecting me to be awake and aware enough to enter into a conversation.
"Mmmmbuhhuh," I said. I poured my juice.
"I'm ready," she said.
"You want juice?" I asked. I should have asked her, "Ready for what?" but my mind was still a blur.
"I have a lot of scraps," she said.
"I know," I said. I assumed she was talking about quilting. She usually talked about quilting, and as she had finished her last quilt three days before and had spent those last days (and nights) going through her magazines and books for a new project, I could easily expect she would be talking about quilting continually until she found a new project. I hoped it was soon. I took a sip of juice and swallowed.
"I'm going to use the scraps. Some of them are prehistoric," she said.
"That's old," I said, knowing I was being drawn into a quilting conversation whether I was awake or not.
"And I'm going to make an old quilt," she said.
"Sound great," I said. I took a mouthful of juice and drank it down. I was beginning to awake to the new day. "How old?" I asked. I had the energy now for a few words.
"Prehistoric," she said. "Dinosaurs."
"Dinosaurs were big," I said.
"Not all of them. Only the big ones were big," she said.
"That sounds about right," I agreed.
"And I'm going to make some small ones," she said.
"How about some toast?" I asked.
"Ask me how big the dinosaurs will be," she said.
"How big will they be?" I asked.
"Small," she said.
"Rickrack," she said a few days later.
"Who's he?" I asked.
"Who's he who?" she asked.
"Rick," I said.
She laughed. "Trim. Rickrack for the dinosaur's back."
"Oh, I said.
"It's tough to work with the rickrack," she said.
"The dinosaurs won't sit still?" I asked.
"I have to curve the rickrack and it doesn't want to curve," she said.
"If anyone can curve rickrack to fit a dinosaur's back, you can," I said encouragingly. I believed that.
"It's still difficult," she said.
"Hard, strenuous, toilsome, demanding, wearisome?" I asked.
"So how are the dinosaurs?" I asked.
"I'm using up scraps."
"Is that what you intended?" I asked.
"That's what quilters do, use up scraps," she said.
"Are you enjoying this quilt?" I asked. She usually enjoyed working on the quilts she made. Usually, Not always.
"So far," she said.
"So far is good," I said.
"It'll probably be for a boy," she said.
"Another boy quilt?"
"It could just as well be for a girl. Girls like dinosaurs, And it has a lot of scrap colors in it."
"Scrap colors? What are scrap colors? Are there leftover colors? I never saw a rainbow with leftovers," I said.
"I think I should make a big dinosaur, maybe seven stories high. That way its foot could stomp down on you when you need it," she said.
"I need stomping?" I asked.
"Anyway, it's a colorful little quilt, smaller than a crib quilt."
"Miniature dinosaurs?" I asked. I was getting the gist of what she had been talking about for several days. I could have gone upstairs to her sewing room and looked at the quilt as she worked on it, but I had long before decided to wait until it was done or she asked me to look at it as she sometimes does when she is uncertain about continuing on. There were absolutely times when in the beginning or the middle or at the end of making a quilt that she wanted to quit. But she rarely quit.
"They are very small dinosaurs, but they're all finished. Now, I'm using up more scraps to make prehistoric volcanoes, and then I'll make the borders. But the scrap pile seems to be getting larger not smaller."
"Does that happen with scrap piles?" I asked. I doubted it, but in the beginning of her quilting days, I had doubted that there was such a thing as a fat quarter, and look where that took me. Now, I would believe anything she said about quilting, including scrap colors and rickrack for a dinosaur's back.
"Scrap piles never get smaller," she said, smiling. "There's magic in quilting, and the most magical thing is that you never have enough fabric. The second most magical thing is that scraps piles never get smaller even if you use up all your scraps."
"All right," I said. My head was spinning at what she had said, but I believed her. When I had ever doubted what she said, I had been proven wrong, time and time again. "So, to sum up," I said, "your small dinosaur quilt has small dinosaurs on it, and the quilt is also small, and you are almost done, but you have to do the volcanoes and the borders yet, and then the dinosaurs with their curved rickrack backs will be colorful and happy and some baby boy--though it could be a girl--will be happy to have it."
"And I used up some of my scraps," she added.
"But not enough, so you'll eventually have to make another scrap quilt of some kind."
She nodded. "And I'll be done tomorrow, I think."
She finished that evening. "Do you want to see it?" she asked. She always asked me if I wanted to see every quilt when she finished it. No sane man, woman, or child would say no to that question.
"I do," I said.
"The quilt might be too bright," she said.
"It might not be," I said.
"Why do people like dinosaurs so much," she asked then.
"They're big and powerful and full of fun, I guess," I said.
"My dinosaurs are full of fun," she said.
"No doubt they are," I said. "So show me already."
She showed me. "Full of fun. No doubt," I said. "And dazzling."
"Do you think a baby will like it?"
"Do you think I'm young at heart?" I asked.
"Of course, you are," she answered.
"Well, I love it."
"Even if it's just a scrap quilt?" she asked.
"Scrap quilts are quite all right in my life," I said. "Do you have a name for it yet?" I asked.
"Scraposaurus," she said.
"Just right," I said. It was. "Just right."
Copyright 2005 by A.B. Silver
Click here to see finished "Scraposaurus Quilt"
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